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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    California, USA
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    51

    Default Frequent colicking?

    I know there's no straight shot answer, but what could make a horse [or pony] colic on a fairly frequent basis?
    As background: my family has a half-welsh pony and we've had him for about 4 months now. He's in his midteens, and was imported from across the pond and shown extensively back east before being moved to the west coast. He's no stranger to moving or being in a new place.

    However, he colicked twice last month, and just colicked again yesterday. As far as I know, he never colicked at his previous barn. He came from a barn down the road, so it couldn't be weather-change related. I'm pretty sure he's eating the same food as before, but with the addition of beet pulp and bran [started feeding him bran after the last two colics]. Per vet suggestion, his hay is now soaked before being given to him.

    He doesn't get turned out as much as he should, but he didn't get turned out at all at his previous barn. He got ridden by small children at the previous barn, but he doesn't get ridden at all here. His stall now is larger than his stall he did have, and he definitely has room to move around. Before he was kept in a stall with another horse and always got his food stolen from him. Now, he's in a stall by himself, but with a horse sharing one fenceline and another close by.

    The only thing I can think of is that he is used to having to eat his food quickly [like I said, the other horse or pony he shared a stall with would eat his hay if he didn't] and he still eats fairly quickly. Would a hay-net help at all do you think?

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    [and before you all ask, the vet has been out every single time he colicked and we've followed all of her recommendations. That's why his colicking yesterday has us all stumped.]
    Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
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    12,193

    Default

    Ulcers, dehydration, worm load, sand load, barometric pressure changes...to name a few.

    I'd try to get him more exercise, and maybe make him sloppy water-logged meals to get more water into him. Also, get fecal done, and test for sand too.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    California, USA
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    51

    Default

    He's been dewormed [once when we got him, I have no idea about previously] and is on psyllium powder. The vet couldn't find traces of sand at any point, could it still be sand-related [as you can tell, none of my horses have ever colicked - knock on wood - so I'm not as knowledgeable about it as I should be]? But I will for sure recommend both of these tests (the pony is not mine, it belongs to my mom and sister).
    His hay is as sloppy as we can get it, and he gets a soup of beet pulp and bran every night. Any other suggestions for how we can get more water into him? The original, first, colic was due to dehydration according to the vet.
    Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Default

    My mare has classic colic symptoms when her ulcers flare up. Just food for thought, since you said he was hardly ever turned out at the last barn, and longterm stalling can cause some horses to get ulcers.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  5. #5
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    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Default

    And my mare also gets dehydrated, because when her ulcers flare up, she doesn't drink as much.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
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    672

    Default

    My horse's frequent colics were caused by delayed gastric emptying.
    It was diagnosed by 'scoping. He also had ulcers but vets seemed to think they were a result of the stomach impactions.
    Soupy feed, short grass pasture, no hay, 24-7 turn out, and daily exercise if only 15 minutes a day of marching and trotting.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    16,662

    Default

    Salt in his feed or electrolytes to get him drinking. Well soaked feed. What's his worming protocol? Not just when, but when and with what?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2009
    Posts
    31

    Default

    I had a horse in south GA that would colic often, mild but often. It seemed related to very windy days. On very windy days the acorns would be all over the ground and he ate them like candy. Obviously the acorns didn't agree with him. Probably not the answer in CAL but your answer may be something as odd, look at all possibilities.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    California, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    My mare has classic colic symptoms when her ulcers flare up. Just food for thought, since you said he was hardly ever turned out at the last barn, and longterm stalling can cause some horses to get ulcers.
    I will definitely try to get him turned out daily. I think it's ridiculous that he doesn't get turned out, but I'm a full time student and have a full-time job, so turning out my own horse is usually top priority. Thank you =]

    Quote Originally Posted by leaf View Post
    My horse's frequent colics were caused by delayed gastric emptying.
    It was diagnosed by 'scoping. He also had ulcers but vets seemed to think they were a result of the stomach impactions.
    Soupy feed, short grass pasture, no hay, 24-7 turn out, and daily exercise if only 15 minutes a day of marching and trotting.
    I wish that was possible! I live in SoCal, so 24/7 hour turnout is just about impossible to find around here. He'll definitely be getting his turnout/exercise upped though.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Salt in his feed or electrolytes to get him drinking. Well soaked feed. What's his worming protocol? Not just when, but when and with what?
    I apologize and forgot to mention that he is getting electrolytes in his dinner bucket. Worming-wise, I believe he just gets the generic ivermectin dewormer. Obviously that only kills a small percentage of potential worms in a horse, so we'll get that looked into as well. Thank you!
    Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...



  10. #10
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    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Why is more turnout hard to find?
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 5, 2010
    Posts
    199

    Default Hay

    What type of hay is this guy eating? We have had a pony in our barn since he was 3 and is now 20. Right around his mid-teens he would colic mildly several times every winter. We have since switched him from coastal to a timothy/alfalfa mix. This has done wonders for him and ( knock on wood) has been colic free for YEARS!

    The rougher texture of the timothy causes the hay to stay in their system longer and it also isnt as easy to compact so it reduces impactions.

    The calcium in the alfalfa reduces stomach acid as well as the rougher texture causing the hay to stay in their system longer and prevent impactions.

    He is also on daily electrolytes, which you said your boy is getting at dinner. I would suggest equine senior,and a soaked rough hay mix if that isnt what he is getting already.

    Oh and FYI several vets in our area dont recommend bran unless given on a regular basis in small quantities. If bran mashes are given every once in a while and in larger quantities it can actually cause colic. Just like switching a horses grain type all of the sudden is bad for their system, sudden bran mashes aren't good for their system either.
    Footnote
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    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrn View Post
    I
    I apologize and forgot to mention that he is getting electrolytes in his dinner bucket. Worming-wise, I believe he just gets the generic ivermectin dewormer. Obviously that only kills a small percentage of potential worms in a horse, so we'll get that looked into as well. Thank you!
    That just might be your problem. We had the same problem with a relatively new boarder. Might be time for a PowerPak and a tapeworm deworming (or just Quest Plus, depending on what your vet thinks might be the best way to go).
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    California, USA
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    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    Why is more turnout hard to find?
    Because there simply isnt enough open spaces here for 24/7 turnout. to be honest, I've never heard of any barns that do that kind of turnout down here.

    Quote Originally Posted by TPF Hunter View Post
    What type of hay is this guy eating? We have had a pony in our barn since he was 3 and is now 20. Right around his mid-teens he would colic mildly several times every winter. We have since switched him from coastal to a timothy/alfalfa mix. This has done wonders for him and ( knock on wood) has been colic free for YEARS!

    The rougher texture of the timothy causes the hay to stay in their system longer and it also isnt as easy to compact so it reduces impactions.

    The calcium in the alfalfa reduces stomach acid as well as the rougher texture causing the hay to stay in their system longer and prevent impactions.

    He is also on daily electrolytes, which you said your boy is getting at dinner. I would suggest equine senior,and a soaked rough hay mix if that isnt what he is getting already.

    Oh and FYI several vets in our area dont recommend bran unless given on a regular basis in small quantities. If bran mashes are given every once in a while and in larger quantities it can actually cause colic. Just like switching a horses grain type all of the sudden is bad for their system, sudden bran mashes aren't good for their system either.
    Just alfalfa. I'll check and see if we can add on a mix to our order! And ditto on the senior.
    The bran was recommended to try and get him to drink more water after first colic last month, and he's been on it every since. It's not a whole ton; maybe half a cup in with the beet pulp.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    That just might be your problem. We had the same problem with a relatively new boarder. Might be time for a PowerPak and a tapeworm deworming (or just Quest Plus, depending on what your vet thinks might be the best way to go).
    Thank you! I'll ask her as soon as possible and see what she thinks =].


    THANKS to everyone, you guys have been super helpful!
    Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
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    16,187

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    Why is more turnout hard to find?
    LOL. Spoken like a true easterner

    Most horses in California live in stalls or pens with little to no turnout. There is simply not the SPACE in most locals to have those lovely, wide open, grassy turnouts you all are used to.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    It sounds like quite a lot may have actually changed for him. His exercise level being the biggy. Even with more space in the stall, he may be stressing for lack of something to DO. Any chance he can be half leased or something and get worked? Have a change of scenery each day?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2006
    Location
    The Isle of Wight
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    718

    Default

    My first thought was "Ulcer" - My TB just did this to me in the last 3-4 weeks. He is just now coming off the omeprazole and we'll see how he does.

    On a side note: Be careful with the bran if it is an ulcer. I remember my vet saying once that regular bran can upset a sensitive tummy even though it is good for the gut to keep things moving along.

    Good Luck! You may have to break down and have him scoped for ulcers and then treat for them - I feel for you and your wallet



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
    Location
    Clarksville, TN
    Posts
    522

    Default

    What about possible enteroliths? Right age, right location, and right diet for one to develop and start causing problems...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Jan. 30, 2010
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    Alberta
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    Have you tried giving him probiotics? Could be his system was just knocked out by the move and he his gut is out of wack.



  19. #19
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    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Default

    Ulcers can cause frequent colicking.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    The limited turnout was what tipped the scale for me towards ulcers, especially in your OP you said that in his previous barn he had almost no turnout at all.

    No turnout.
    Recent switch to a new barn = stress
    Now horse seems colicy and often.

    My mare ONLY appears colicky when her ulcers flare up. I'm not saying that can be ONLY cause of a colicky horse, but in addition to the things I listed above, it would be high on my list of suspects.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



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