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So, you go to the barn, and your horse is colicking...what do YOU do?

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  • So, you go to the barn, and your horse is colicking...what do YOU do?

    Is there some gold standard for colick treatment...and if so, what is it?


    The reason why I am asking is this....

    Horse at boarding barn behind my house starts colicking tonight. I jump the fence, to see a very tired Maverick (I've known the horse for 15 years) being lead up and down the road. Now, I know I'm not a vet, but I just do not see the point in walking a very dehydrated horse - that is NOT thrashing about - around and around. So, I talk the PM feeder in putting him back in his stall - of which I bedded deeply, and took out all hay and feed.
    Since I didn't hear any gut sounds on the left side, I didn't feel comfortable in giving the horse Banamine, but when the Cavalry - The owner's daughter and friend - came, the vet was called, and the horse was given 10cc's of Banamine and of course walked - without the sheet that I suggested putting on him, to prevent a chill. The horse's gums are white as a sheet, he is very dehydrated, lethargic, and by looking at his wet sides, it looks like he has been sick for a while now.

    Now, I have always heard that if a horse has impaction colic that giving Banimine could be a bad thing, and that walking a horse - unless it is thrashing about, being in danger of hurting itself/getting cast - really didn't do anything but tire the horse out.

    So, what to the vets here on COTH think? Is there really a Gold standard in self treating colic?

    Anyway, I'm going to go back in a half hour or so to check on him.
    The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!
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  • #2
    Me:

    I get stats:
    -heart rate
    -resp
    -temp
    -horse down and thrashing? horse calm?

    If horse is thrashing, I get 'em up while I get vet on phone.

    If horse is lying down not thrashing, I leave them. Call vet.

    If vet approves, I give banamine and watch/wait.

    Remove food from stall, water avail.

    Else (like if horse is thrashing) I have vet out.

    I've been really blessed--only one colic of MY horses in 25+ years...and was due to dehydration. No vet visit needed. just some banamine.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment


    • #3
      My horse had bad gas colic a few months ago with a partial twist of the cecum that he actually came out of fine.

      I walked him when he would try to role or paw like he was going to lay down. Water was avail. I kept an eye on his heart rate and such. I did let him stand if he wasn't thrashing or anything. I did call the vet who came out and did some procedures and mineral oil. and some type of IV. He did give me Banamine (sp?) as well and I kept an eye on him all night he seemed fine. And a few hours later still fine and then fully recovered but I still had the vet come back the next day to double check.

      Comment


      • #4
        I usually give banamine and turn them out in the ring or get them walking. If they seem mildly uncomfortable I give them awhile before calling the vet but if they're in alot of discomfort and there's no improvement in a relatively short period of time they're on the trailer to the vets. I lost one to colic despite going to surgery and think its worth going to the clinic if there's any doubt.

        Comment


        • #5
          OK this particular colic case you have described needs vet attention two hours ago! The white gums are a bad sign, but also check the caplillary refill rate, more than 3 seconds is a bad sign (shock), if gums turn DARK red or purple, even worse sign, as this indicates toxin build up in gut (usually from an impaction). Many times at this point is irreversable.

          Now, what I do is at the FIRST SIGN of ANY colic they get 10 cc banamine. THis is NOT going to cover up signs if the horse has a torsion etc. 9 times out of 10 the banamine clears up a mild colic, i.e. gas type of colic. I wait for 45 minutes to 1 hour and if horse is showing NO signs of relief will call the vet and discuss with her. I check gums, check for gut sounds on BOTH sides of belly (don't need a stethoscope, just put ear up against the hroses side and listen for a minute or two should hear LOTS of noises, if only a few then gut motily is low, possible impaction), look for signs of any recent manure, if you can find some, break apart and see if it seems very dry (dehydration). Do the "pinch" test for dehydration on skin, pinch up a pice of skin, should sping back into place, if not horse is dehydrated. Temp can tell you a few things, if temp is high, then possibly an infection or virus going on, if low then bad sign of shock. All of this gets relayed to the vet who then makes a decision about further treatment. Walking is not a good idea unless horse is FRANTICALLY thrashing, If they lay quietly, or just roll a little leave alone, but best to put in small turnout instead of stall. DEFINITELY take away all hay and feed, even if the colic seems to resolve itself. If a horse colics here they are off all feed/hay for a day, only thing they get is a small amount of very wet beet pulp.
          www.shawneeacres.net

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          • #6
            We first check for gut sounds, check gums, take temp. Then call vet. We then give banamine before vet gets out to help take some of the pain and relax the intestines. Then we walk. Even if the horse is not thrashing, sometimes we will lunge at the trot. As told by our vet this helps get everything moving hopefully. This is usually why most people walk them even if they are not thrashing about. I've also heard of some people loading them in a trailer to try to get them to poop Then we wait for vet to come and pump their stomach.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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            • #7
              I agree with the call the vet a bit sooner than later. Get the vitals and stats. Often they will advise walking and monitoring if needed. I don't have banamine on hand-keep thinking I should get some.

              I learned of the "trailer trick" a few years ago when I met some track folks. It is something many of them do and it does seem to help. I did it for a friend whose draft mare was colicing. She wasn't bad- vitals were stable. There was a woman there who is a very experienced vet tech-worked at the local large animal hospital. They had called the vet and she had given her a report. The tech suggested a ride as it was winter-cold/icey and at night and it was really hard to walk the mare.

              Rode around for about 30 minutes. She finally passed some poop-seemed more comfortable. I then dropped her off at a farm with a "rehab" barn. It allowed for monitoring and also a comfy stall for the night. She pulled through just fine.
              Live life to the fullest-ride a standardbred!!!

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              • #8
                1) Check stats, gums and hydration
                2) Listen for gut sounds
                3) Check out poop! How much/what type?

                If hyperactive/gassy sounding immediately administer Equi-spaz paste and take for walk. Occasionally I will lunge quietly a bit if they've a hyper gut but aren't terribly uncomfortable. Between the Equi-spaz and movement the episode is usually over very quickly. I've had 3 of these out of probably over 100 horses owned/cared for and they've all been after a period of rain and sudden grass growth that can be common in VA in the spring and fall.

                If limited/no gut sounds I panic much more and immediately call the vet, give Equi-spaz just in case and walk if they're thrashing or take out hay if they're not. I've only had one of these and he passed away due to stroke during surgery. He was a rescue whose intestines were loaded with adhesions from years of parasite damage - very sad situation. The vet had been out twice and given banamine, after which the horse was relieved. By the third call he'd twisted and went to surgery. I'd never witnessed colic at that time and thought banamine was *the* colic drug, now I think differently.

                The only time I'd give banamine now is if the horse was so obviously in trouble and pain relief's needed to get them to surgery or while waiting for euthanasia. My neighbor's old man was down in his field last year, covered in scrapes and sweat and had obviously been thrashing for a long time by the time I saw him from my driveway. I did give him Banamine while we waited for the vet as the poor guy was refluxing out his nostrils and was clearly at the end.
                Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery

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                • #9
                  I call vet immediately ,for a heads up to her,and follow instructions.usually that is give 10 cc banamine,walk the horse if it is trying to roll ,otherwise ,let it be.remove feed from stall. call owner,if that is not me,immediately after calling the vet,or perhaps call owner first depending on the situation. If owner is not immediately reachable ,I would call vet if harse was distressed. Also good to take vitals before calling vet so she can have that info as well.I would not give banamine without permisson of vet or horse owner,as technically I could be liable if not done on vets say so. Usually ,the banamine does the trick and within the hour horse is much improved. if banamine does not help tremendously ,usually the vet will want to come out. Also ,since banamine has an 8 hour effect,i be sure to watch the horse for signs of discomfort as the banamine wears off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Remove all hay/feed. I always listen for gut sounds, check for manure, check vitals. I call my vet to keep her appraised of the situation from the onset. Then banamine to ease discomfort.

                    Recently I had a horse with gas colic - he was pawing, stretching, buckling at the knees like he wanted to go down. I put a call into the vet - but gave him banamine while waiting for her return call and kept him walking. When the vet called back she suggested trotting him to help move the gas along.

                    If I have a horse that is quiet, but uncomfortable, he'll get banamine to ease the discomfort and I'll leave him be. I'll monitor him until he improves.

                    If I didn't see any improvement within 30 minutes or so, the vet would be on the way.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Well, while I was out tending to my own horses, the Owner left a message saying that maverick was much better, so they left him up in a stall for the night. I haven't rechecked him myself, but I will before I get ready for bed.

                      I'm not saying that they were wrong in giving the Banimine, I just think that too many horse owners are too quick to give it, even before they really know what is going on.
                      The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!
                      https://www.facebook.com/groups/equinewellness/

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                      • #12
                        BuddyRoo is right on with those instructions...and don't leave the horses' side. If the pain symptoms recurr, no matter how mild, after meds are in full effect (30-45 min.), it's likely a torsion which requires immediate surgical intervention.

                        The only thing I might add to BuddyRoo's list is that if the vet you've called is not personally familiar with the horse, is to have any info on adverse drug reactions or intestinal problems(i.e. ulcers) and any other history of colic/illness about the horse at one's fingertips to pass on right away.
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                        • #13
                          First thing I do is get the horse up, even if laying calmly. Then I take vitals, listen to the gut, and check the poop. I do skip the poop check if horse is already sweaty and/or frantic and thrashy...we just start walking then. I can do all the vitals that way, with the exception of temp, so no big deal. Can also listen for gut sounds...an ear to the gut or stethoscope while walking is no big deal. I call the vet immediately after taking vitals and gut check. Usually I'll turn the horse to the ring to let it move more freely and definitely have zero access to food or water, but not always. Sometimes I'll just take the food/water out of the stall.
                          I'm among the very few who isn't the biggest fan of banamine, so I try to avoid it. I will use it, when necessary (like the barn or the owner of horse dictates), but tend to skip that step for equi-spaz...if I can.
                          "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique

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                          • #14
                            All of you that are "against" the use of Banamine, There is an added benefit to Banamine, it helps prevent the uptake of toxins (a byproduct of colic, particularly impactions) into the bloodstream. Even if we suspect an impaction, my vet will adminster banamine for this reason. The onlyr eal contraindication to Banamine is a horse known to have ulcers, which it can cause them to worsen. I had a filly whom we had purchased (was by my stallion) and when I picked her up after weaning this poor thing was in AWFUL shape (boguth her at 10 days old) they had really not taken care of her. For a few months she was prone to colic as we basically worked on her immune system, worming etc. She went thru an AWFUL colic (her last thank goodness!) where we honestly thought we'd lose her, she was refluxing, deep red gums, etc. I have a policy, that unfortuantely, with the number of horses we have, if something cannot be resolved at the farm, they have to be euthanized, I jsut cannot afford the expense of major colic surgery. At any rate, vet felt we'd likely not pull her thru that last colic, but with LOTS of supposrtive care (IV fluids, banamine to prevent toxin uptake and other meds as well as tubing to help relieve pressure in the gut) she is now a healthy coming two year old. Honestly never thought she'd make it, but she did!
                            www.shawneeacres.net

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I always am amazed at owners who "listen for gut sounds" and if they hear something they think they are ok. The horses intestinal tract is miles long and requires a trained vet to discern what it normal from each area of it, and what is not.

                              Saving a buck by self diagnosing with a stethascope, without professional veterinary training and assistance is foolhardy..and a cheap and potentially dangerous way to go, IMO.
                              www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                              "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                              Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by sid View Post
                                I always am amazed at owners who "listen for gut sounds" and if they hear something they think they are ok. The horses intestinal tract is miles long and requires a trained vet to discern what it normal from each area of it, and what is not.

                                Saving a buck by self diagnosing with a stethascope, without professional veterinary training and assistance is foolhardy..and a cheap and potentially dangerous way to go, IMO.
                                Sorry but been "self diagnosing" for over 30 years and have a good track record! Your vet can explain the BASICS of gut sounds, what to listen for, what is too much or too little (too much also can cause colic, when something is irritating the gut). Not something that in and of itself will tell you everything, but if you understand how a diagnosis works, the combination of symptoms can give a vet a clear picture over the phone of what is going on and how urgent the situation may be. Which in our neck of the woods is important as we have few vets that service a LARGE LARGE area, so immediate veterinary attention is not always possible!
                                www.shawneeacres.net

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                                • #17
                                  I check TPR and CRT, then I call the vet. Unless told directly to give Banamine, I do not. I keep the horse up if they want to thrash otherwise I let them rest either standing or laying down. My vets consider all colics an emergency so I always have them out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I can't think of a case where a vet arrived for a case of colic and didn't give banamine ...

                                    I don't mind giving banamine, it's just 75% of the time it's with the vet's blessing beforehand.

                                    There are some horses I know well enough to know it's a "hmmm it could be colic ... but if it is, it's a very very mild case and we are going to nip it in the bud". These are generally mild distress, no dehydration, good capillary refill time. Just NQR in the Belly area (technical term). They get a shot of banamine and are closely monitored for the next 4-8 hours.

                                    Then there are colic cases that make me call the vet and give them the option: "Do you want me to give a shot and monitor or do you want to come out now?" These generally involve decent capillary refill and hydratio, but more serious pain level ( no doubt this is a colic). Apparently I inspire trust in my abilities because over the last 2 decades not one vet has wanted to come out "now" - they have all taken me up on my offer. And by and large that one shot has pretty much resolved it.

                                    And then there are the other colic cases. Sometimes you don't even have to take their vitals but you know what you will find when you do. You take one look at them and you just know that speed is of the essence. If the vet wants me to give a shot of banamine because they won't be there for over an hour, that's fine, but regardless, the vet is coming out asap.

                                    I stick an ear to their stomach but that's just to give me something to do. I don't kid myself that I can hear a damn thing and if I did, I doubt I'd know what it meant.
                                    ________________________________________________
                                    " Robert Novak apparently, they say, broke his hip. I think it's not the case. I believe his hip tried to escape." -- Jon Stewart

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                                    • #19
                                      OP--that horse is not OK. I can tell that from here just reading your post. The Vet should be there already and this is not a DIY colic.

                                      If my horse had white gums and a slow bad colic I would be on the phone with the VET ASAP or diging a large hole instead of walking it.

                                      Sorry to sound harsh, but if giving banimine and walking not walking are the questions being asked there is nobody there qualified to diagnose this horse and know its a BAD colic.

                                      By the time the gums go white the horse is in serious trouble. I have only seem white gums in horses that did not make it and I have seem a lot of colics in my time.

                                      gas colics do not present slowly and do not interfere with circulation.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by tds View Post
                                        I can't think of a case where a vet arrived for a case of colic and didn't give banamine ...

                                        Although one time my Appy was colicing quite badly. Before I even got to the barn the B.O. gave him some Banamine.

                                        After my Vet arrived, she was kind of ticked off that we didn't wait for her approval as she wanted to judge his condition before the Banamine kicked in.

                                        His gums were grey, vitals not good. We ended up taking him to Tuft's and it turned out to be an Impaction Colic.

                                        Now, if any signs of Colic, Vet gets called ASAP.
                                        MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
                                        http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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