I got a call this morning... Horse is acting weird.
So I got a call this morning from my BO: "Don isn't eating, he's just standing there, and acting like he needs to pee, but can't. S is in New Mexico but he thinks we should call a vet."
My horse not touching grain is weird weird weird. He goes nuts at feeding time and runs around, prancing and whinnying and acts like he has been SOOO HUNGRY and can't remember ever eating before.
I was already sitting in my first class, I walked back in, grabbed my backpack and left. Horse is more important than "soils and the environment". Trying not to panic... I get here, she has put him in the arena, he's peed and pooped, we take his temp, 101 twice. Nothing real abnormal there, except he looks maybe a little sleepy, not real dull or lethargic.
We take him back out to his paddock, he promptly takes a mouthful of grain, then attacks his hay without looking at his grain.
He's obviously not colicing (good but a little bit quiet gut sounds, normal for him), looks fine and healthy, just a little quieter than usual and not eating his grain at all. He even went and drank while we were standing there watching him, so we havent called the vet because he's not in any obvious distress, and he IS eating and drinking and peeing and pooping.
Is there any reason a horse would go off their feed other than bad grain? I've known this horse for four years and never once seen him not eat grain put in front of him.
Oh, and his BFF has rhino, and she's had it for at least a month and a half without being diagnosed... He's vaccinated though and been exposed to her for the entire time, the BO called the vet directly because the owner wasn't making any sense after the diagnosis, and he said if the other horses at the barn were going to be sick they would be sick already.
ETA: I'm trying hard not to worry too much about him, since he's clearly got some appetite, and obviously he isn't dying or in any state where this is anything close to an emergency, but for him not to be acting like himself is too weird for words and is freaking me out. Without a temp or any real symptoms I think a vet would just laugh me out of the office at this point. He's my first horse and I will probably be a useless blubbering lump for the rest of the semester if anything bad happens to him.
Last edited by AnEnglishRider; Mar. 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM.
Stretching and straining to pee with no actual peeing, is IME a classic sign of colic. Maybe he had a bit of gas or some sort of tummy ache that resolved enough to start eating again? If he were mine, I'd be watching closely and probably give a call to my vet just to check in, in case they want us to do anything else. Calling the vet doesn't mean they have to come out -- mine is willing to talk over the phone and it helps to give them a heads up in case this does turn into anything.
Id keep colic on the table and keep a very close eye on him.
My pony will eat grass and peppermints while colicing. I know first hand because I had no idea she was colicing. She was stomping her feet in the aisle, pawing. I thought she was just ready to go out. I fed her a peppermint that she was slow to take in hindsight, offered her a bit of grass on the way out to the pasture, which she was didnt turn down. As soon as she got out there, she started rolling. Got up, ate a bit of grass, down again, repeat, repeat until I was like "something isnt right"
Just got a text from the BO, looks like mild colic... I asked if she had any banamine (cause I don't) and she said she does but she doesn't want to give it to him because it will "mask the symptoms" ... I've never heard of not giving banamine to a colicing horse if you have some on hand for the reason of not wanting to mask the symptoms. I'm currently sitting at the front of a lecture in the middle of a row... Ugh, about to make a ruckus by leaving.
Personally, I do not administer banamine as a rule for mild colic...I might watch to see how they do, depending on the time of day, symptoms, etc. So much depends on the horse, whether I will be around, history, etc.
But I do call the vet, if only to give them the rundown, and sometimes they will suggest banamine...or not. If it is late in the day, I will call too just to see if they are going to be around that evening if needed, as that might change the plan. They also might suggest other things, such as withholding grain, cutting back on hay, letting the horse have a bit if fresh grass (or not, depending on the circumstances), walk, don't walk, and so on.
Don't panic as it might truly be a minor, self-resolving upset, but if it were me, I'd check in with the vet and see what they suggest. The one thing about colic, it really helps to catch it early before it goes bad, and the vet is your best resource (IMO) to assess the situation if you aren't comfortable making that assessment yourself.
He's laying down... Hasn't rolled at all, just resting... It's freaking me out though, looks like I'm going to find a vet (yep, find... I haven't had any issues with him since I came up to school so I've never had any reason to take him to a vet in this area). No vets in this area will come out, but luckily I have friends with trailers (one of whom I have already asked if she will trailer me).
Surprisingly, not colic... The vet who used to do barn calls then switched practices still does barn calls luckily.
But colics don't spike fevers waiting for the vet to get here. Colicky horses also try to roll when they lay down, when I let Don lay down he actually rested his muzzle in the dirt and went to sleep. He gave him something to brig the fever down and boost his immune system, and left me more of the immune system booster (to be given IV... Luckily one of the barn owners is a vet! Cattle vet but a shot is a shot) and some previcoxx for the next four days. Took blood and will call me with the results later...
All I can say is, good thing I worked over spring break... The amount was almos exactly what my paycheck will be for that week.
He's still sleepy and lethargic but some rest and he should perk up by tomorrow. Seeing my super fit, crazy energetic OTTB stand here like an old horse is a scary sight, I'll take him being mischievious and getting in to everything any day over this.
Don't assume colicy horses won't lay quietly. I leased a mare who had a SEVERE impaction. She was seen by a vet multiple times over 2-3 days... she was not a surgical candidate but her owners wanted to see if they could resolve it before euthanizing her (I did not agree with this but I didn't own her). She did lay quietly in the stall. She had someone in the barn keeping an eye on her 24/7 as she was so touch and go and she only rolled once. Otherwise, she was quiet. She was euthanized when it was obvious there was nothing short of surgery that would resolve it.
Not trying to scare you, but I wouldn't rule out colic just because he isn't rolling.
"People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"
I have to disagree with the statement that colicing horses don't just lie down. I've actually seen many that do just that. They have a general feeling of being unwell so they act lethargic.
I also never never never give banamine for a mild colic. It will mask the pain & prolong needed treatment because people think the horse is better when in reality he is just less painful for a while.
I always always always call a vet out. I've see way to many horses lost because the owners waited it out. Never wait on colic.
Also, after the horse is treated, if he starts feeling bad again he goes to the vet clinic. He probably needs fluids at the very least & if he requires surgery he's there, not 3 hours away.
In my book it is always an emergency regardless of how mild it presents.
Did you vet do any blood work?
Sorry but I'd get another opinion. I re-read your post & I also see horses with increased temps with colic, possibly due to dehydration.
Also the use of prevacox, while it's easier on the gut than bute or banamine (supposedly), I don't think it's one of the things I'd want to put into a horse that's colicing.
Just my 2 cents worth!
I forgot to add, he finally pooped no problem... As soon as the vet left *sigh* way to make me worry. Every case of colic I've seen has been the usual rolling/biting at stomach/pawing/stretching like a dog stuff... It's been a few years since I've seen a colic firsthand though. Last time was at a lesson barn I rode at years ago. And he did poop this morning when I was watching, which was what made us think not colic in the first place... But then with him not feeling any better...
Vet did pull blood, and is going to call me tomorrow with the results. He said his gut sounds were fine when he checked him.
He chowed down as soon as I put him out with a flake of hay again. Felt good enough to dance around me while I tried to put his blanket on too (I was in the way of the foooooood... He's such a hog). He's not getting any grain tonight just in case, but he already is perking up (as soon as he saw the hay).
The barn owner who calls the vet for you because your first and most likely only horse for a long time is colicing (or so you think) and youre crying is the definition of awesome. This little horse will never be one that can be replaced, ever. I already told him he's worth every penny I put into him, but please try not to do this too often because eventually my pennies will run out...
He gave him something to brig the fever down and boost his immune system, and left me more of the immune system booster (to be given IV... Luckily one of the barn owners is a vet! Cattle vet but a shot is a shot) and some previcoxx for the next four days. Took blood and will call me with the results later...
Originally Posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians
Did you vet do any blood work?
Sounds like bloodwork has been done.
OP I have seen it a couple of times over the years where a horse will spike a fever for no apparent reason. The fever cycled up and down so sometimes it was normal or almost normal and sometimes high. In both cases the bloodwork was normal. Banamine was given for the fever as needed (in one case only one dose was needed, in the other case it was needed sporadically for 3 days). No cause was ever found, the horses were totally back to normal within a few days, and the symptoms never presented again. I hope that is what is going on with your horse.
I will also agree that laying down and resting quietly doesn't mean they are not colicing. For some horses that is their expression of discomfort. Or maybe he is feeling generally lethargic from having a fever. Stretching out to pee and then not doing so is also a sign of colic. However one of the 2 horses I mentioned above did that and he wasn't colicing but he did have a fever.
Jingling this resolves quickly and easily for you and your horse.