My gelding isnt drinking and he coliced on Wednesday. I guess I will start with a little more info. He is 7 years old and I have had him since he was 4 years old. He has never been a big drinker but it never seemed like an issue that was causing him problems until a year ago when I noticed that his sweating was strange. Sometimes he would sweat way more than you would expect for the temp and other times it would be 100* and very humid and he wasnt even sweating at all even though other horses were. We have been down several roads with him and all have lead to dead ends. His bloodwork has all come back normal aside from him being dehydrated. He has been cleared from ulcers. I floated his poop today and there wasnt even enough sand to speak of (less than half a teaspoon). He does break out into hives from fly sprays and he was stung by a spider or a bee and he does have some swelling from it and he broke into hives on Wednesday and shortly after me noticing the hives that morning he coliced. I called the vet and we got him up and gave him some banamine and he recovered alright. We started measuring his water intake and paying close attention to him. The day after he coliced my vet advised me to put him on some electrolytes...which we did and so he was started on the Finnish Line electrolytes on Thursday. On Friday he drank 12 gallons...on Saturday he drank 18 gallons which was shocking and he looked and acted fantastic!! On Saturday I started him back on his SmartBug-Off supplement and on Sunday and Monday he barely drank a thing. From about 6:30 on Monday night till about 10:00 Teusday morning he didnt drink a single drop and from then till about 7:30 Tuesday night he drank only 5 gallons. I have stopped the supplement. For the passed two days he has been weird and jumpy and very moody. He is normally a very sweet and in your pocket...or face, lol, kinda guy. Its very strange to see him act differently. Here are some pictures of him this passed week of what he has been looking like when he does and doesnt drink.....
Where do you live? I know someone down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast whose horse had severe colic and had to go to LSU for surgery. She said the vet said the colic was caused by "Hurricane Induced Dehydration". I haven't had a chance to ask for clarification, but my guess is that the severe weather in Gulfport over multiple days made the horse too nervous or upset to drink -- and if it was stalled with hay instead of being out in the pasture as it was used to; those factors caused major problems.
I would think your vet would have ideas on how to get your horse to drink.
Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing
If this were my horse, I'd give the vet a call. She/he may pass an NG tube, give electrolytes that way, and either re-hydrate via NG tube, or (my preference) IV fluids. My guy has occasional issues with sweating / drinking and running some IV fluids kind of resets or kick-starts his system & he'll drink again.
ETA: The above is a temporary measure until we figure out what's going on, but you can't have your horse drinking an inadequate amount of water, especially for multiple days in a row. Please call the vet & explain the water intake (or lack of) and see what steps to take next. Not drinking isn't something to be taken lightly.
I wouldn't be so fast to rule out sand colic. Your horse might be passing a tiny amount of sand...but only because the rest of it might just stay in its intestine.
Especially if he is not drinking properly.
I would keep giving him electrolytes until the vet figures out what the problem is.
Ask your vet first, but if you're not already doing so, you could add some loose salt to his feed.
I'm kind of paranoid about electrolytes, after my gelding developed explosive diarrhea the one time I tried electrolytes... My gelding tends to not drink enough any time there is a change in the weather or it cools down (and has coliced as a result), so I add two tablespoons of loose salt to his feed daily from fall through spring, or anytime we get a sudden change in weather. The salt encourages them to drink more.
Try mixing some apple juice into his water --- or try offering straight apple juice first. Did that with a colicking horse years ago and it did help. He snarfed the straight juice, then we started adding it to his water --- a stronger solution at first, then weakening it --- but it got him started on the idea of drinking again.
"Also, if you feed any kind of grain or pellets, you can soak those to get some extra water into him."
And.......if they aren`t drinking sometimes they lose the desire to drink and that just makes it worse. Is he getting enough salt? Not that brown salt, just plain white salt?
If I don`t think my guys are drinking enough and it is hot, I add a teaspoon or so to their feed. A teaspoon to the volume of the pelleted/soaked feed I give is not that much so you have to judge how much to add to their feed so you don`t turn up their nose by adding too much salt.
Good luck. It has been a weird year weatherwise in most parts of the country and weather can effect their eating/drinking/gut habits and end up giving you problems.
Yep, I too would not rule out sand. Sometimes they do not pass much, because it IS collecting in their system and not passing. I noticed the ground where he is standing looks very sandy. Your vet can listen for gut sounds, as sometimes the sand can be heard in the gut. If it is ok with your vet, I might try a round of psyllium to see he starts passing sand ( would follow psyllium with a very wet mash – it absorbs a lot of water and I would not want it dehydrating him further).
And I would feed ALL of his food wet, soak any pellets, soak his hay, anything to get extra water in him.
Thanks everyone for the replies! I have talked with my vet again and we decided to try a few things but before I talk about that I wanted to hint on a few more key things with him that I forgot to mention before. Roscoe used to sweat so much that I thought he had a problem. He would sweat when it was in the 70s and beautiful and he wasnt even being worked. Fast forward a year and he is no longer sweating very well at all. Its been in the 90s and 100s and he has been completely dry. It also seems like its taking him a while to get sweaty when he is being worked. I noticed that when he drank well for those 2 days he was sweating just like any other horse would on a hot day....not a splotchy sweat either...just a normal its a hot day kind of sweat. Also another thing is that when he sweats he is coated in that saltiness that you usually see on horses that sweat during a heavy work out even when he is just standing in the pasture all day. So after a hot day that he does sweat on I have to hose the salt off of him otherwise it is visually caked on him....I hope that makes sense?
He is currently right now getting Triple Crown Senior which he was put on because of the colic (but he loves it and licks the bowl clean so Im going to keep him on it). I am soaking it....covering it with water and then letting it soak it up before he gets it. I was also soaking his hay that he was getting. He is currently getting 1 1/2 ounces of electrolytes (Finish Line - apple) and 1 Teaspoon of table salt in his feed. This worked for those 2 days and he drank well and then he quit again. Before someone comments on this part though I am adding a gallon for the water he would get from the soaked hay and feed to what he is actually drinking of his water....the 6 gallons means he actually only drank 5 gallons and had a gallon that he consumed through his feed.
Today my vet had me try giving him a beer as well as bathing him in Palmolive as UGA has done a study and has found that it leads to stimulating the sweat glands. She wants me to treat him like a "non-sweater" and see if we get anywhere with that.
Something that I felt was weird was today when I bathed him he was a perfect gentleman (as usual) and really seemed to be enjoying the pampering. I went to get his face wet...as I have done with every bath these past 3 years...and he was fine on the left side but when I got the right side he reared and threw a massive fit over me getting anywhere near his ear. This is very strange for him as I have ALWAYS been able to touch his ears. I DO NOT put soap or water in his ears!! But he has never had a fit if a sprinkle got near there. He wouldnt even let me touch them after and threw his head up, swished his tail and stomped about me getting anywhere near that ear. And that is the very same ear where the swelling from what we assume is a bite is (pictured in first post).
He just had his teeth done on the first of August so I dont think that. And I asked my vet about it when I called her this afternoon for a "water intake update" and she thinks that its from the bite and he rubbed it to hard trying to itch and it he bruised it. Or that its not a bite at all and he hit his neck there on something when he was rolling during his colic and its just bruised and sore. Im not sure which but I am keeping any eye on him.
We also suspect that he has anihidrosis. After I spoke with her today that is our thoughts. We are going to watch him and she is going to be consulting some specialists this weekend at a conferance/seminar thing she is going to on this very topic to try and confirm it.
On a good note...Roscoe was perscribed a beer with his meals today and he drank 10 gallons!! Im super happy about that!
I think its more that it induces sweating than drinking but it seems that some horses get thirsty off it too. There might be someone that has more knowledge about it than I as Im just learning about it myself.
Anihydrosis can come on suddenly and be a one time episode or a chronic issue. It usually begins when the temps are high or humidity is high. The horse does not sweat normally and usually breaths harder and pulse is higher. There are a couple supplements out there that work well. One-AC is a good one or Platinum Performance Refresh. You can also get B12 injections.
Last edited by Warmblood369; Sep. 7, 2012 at 10:55 PM.
Reason: forgot something