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Vet Bills for colic caused by hay at a boarding stable

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  • #21
    I always pay the vet without hesitation.Secondly I would not hesitate to buy my own hay on top of the board if I was concerned about the board my horse was getting.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      Everyone, Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and perspectives. There never was any question in my mind about compensating the vet, it was a question of whether it would be appropriate for me to ask or expect the Farm Owner or the hay supplier to pay for some or all of my vet bill. I've boarded horses at four or five other barns, and never had an experience like this before.

      The vet told me that foxtail was present in the hay and no other cause of colic was evident. The vet told me that he/she collected samples of hay, blood, & feces, but these samples were not analyzed because of the cost. (I assume that the Farm Owner declined to pay for lab tests.) Horses belonging to the Farm Owner and Staff were among those that developed colic.

      I read an article about foxtail and other weeds in the USEF magazine. I feel confident that I saw foxtail and other weed(s) or atypical hay (coastal Bermuda?) in my horse's hay in the days leading up to the colic incident. I trusted the Farm Owner and Staff that they were not a risk. Now I am much more proactive; I take photos and contact the Farm Owner with any questions I have about my horse's care.

      I posted my note because I wanted to gather opinions and advice before making decisions about how to handle the vet bill, boarding, and care of my horse. I'm grateful to all of you for sharing your input. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by MM_Carrots View Post
        Everyone, Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and perspectives. There never was any question in my mind about compensating the vet, it was a question of whether it would be appropriate for me to ask or expect the Farm Owner or the hay supplier to pay for some or all of my vet bill. I've boarded horses at four or five other barns, and never had an experience like this before.

        The vet told me that foxtail was present in the hay and no other cause of colic was evident. The vet told me that he/she collected samples of hay, blood, & feces, but these samples were not analyzed because of the cost. (I assume that the Farm Owner declined to pay for lab tests.) Horses belonging to the Farm Owner and Staff were among those that developed colic.

        I read an article about foxtail and other weeds in the USEF magazine. I feel confident that I saw foxtail and other weed(s) or atypical hay (coastal Bermuda?) in my horse's hay in the days leading up to the colic incident. I trusted the Farm Owner and Staff that they were not a risk. Now I am much more proactive; I take photos and contact the Farm Owner with any questions I have about my horse's care.

        I posted my note because I wanted to gather opinions and advice before making decisions about how to handle the vet bill, boarding, and care of my horse. I'm grateful to all of you for sharing your input. Thank you.
        You could have paid to have your own horses manure analyzed I suppose.

        I have never ever ever heard of a hay supplier offering to pay vet bills. You are doing real well if they will throw in a freebie bail to make up for one you had to discard.

        As far as what your horse is being fed, do you even now know what hay your barn is buying and where it comes from?

        Comment


        • #24
          I know of a farm that got a bad batch of hay with a toxic weed, almost all the horses on the farm got sick, some very sick. The farm owner’s care/custody/control policy covered the vet bills for the clients’ horses.

          The situation was a bit different, the hay was assessed by the ag agent, a botanist, and eventually a university program.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by MM_Carrots View Post

            The vet told me that foxtail was present in the hay and no other cause of colic was evident. The vet told me that he/she collected samples of hay, blood, & feces, but these samples were not analyzed because of the cost. (I assume that the Farm Owner declined to pay for lab tests.) Horses belonging to the Farm Owner and Staff were among those that developed colic.

            I read an article about foxtail and other weeds in the USEF magazine. I feel confident that I saw foxtail and other weed(s) or atypical hay (coastal Bermuda?) in my horse's hay in the days leading up to the colic incident. I trusted the Farm Owner and Staff that they were not a risk. Now I am much more proactive; I take photos and contact the Farm Owner with any questions I have about my horse's care.
            Yes, but foxtail is commonly found in hay, and as far as I know, it doesn't cause colic. So I am still curious what makes you and the vet think these colics were because of the foxtail. I mean, I suppose a bale of nothing but foxtail might cause gastric irritation but I would think it would be pretty obvious before colic occurs. When you had the vet out, did anyone inspect the hay that was being fed? There must still have been (or may still be) hay from that load available to inspect?

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by MM_Carrots View Post
              The vet told me that foxtail was present in the hay
              Foxtail gets into a lot of hay. Some years it's worse than others, some farms have it worse than others. I've never heard of it as the direct cause of colic. Could it be the indirect cause if the horse has enough imbedded in his mouth such that he doesn't drink enough? Sure - but that would be really, really obvious to anyone checking gum color, as any vet should be doing for a colic situation

              and no other cause of colic was evident.
              The cause of most colic is never known

              The vet told me that he/she collected samples of hay, blood, & feces, but these samples were not analyzed because of the cost. (I assume that the Farm Owner declined to pay for lab tests.) Horses belonging to the Farm Owner and Staff were among those that developed colic.
              You can pay for yours. And it would be free to have samples of hay evaluated by an county extension agent to try to identify grasses vs weeds and if any weed was toxic.

              A toxic weed is far more likely to be the cause of these colics, than foxtail, and certainly more than a little bit of Coastal.

              I read an article about foxtail and other weeds in the USEF magazine. I feel confident that I saw foxtail and other weed(s) or atypical hay (coastal Bermuda?) in my horse's hay in the days leading up to the colic incident. I trusted the Farm Owner and Staff that they were not a risk. Now I am much more proactive; I take photos and contact the Farm Owner with any questions I have about my horse's care.
              Some Coastal Bermuda, if that's even what it was, is not going to make 8 horses colic in a few days, and likely never.

              I hope all 8 horses are fine now To me, this all sounds more like some toxic weed was in the hay. It happens, unfortunately, especially if you're feeding 50+ horses, nobody has time to look at every bit of hay that goes out into stalls or fields. General appearance? Sure. But some weeds don't take large amounts to cause distress, and that would be easy to miss.

              What, if anything, is the same for all 8 horses? Same field? Adjacent fields? Fed hay from the same side of the hay store? Same grain? Same supplements?
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment


              • #27
                Can you purchase your own hay for your horse to be given? I am not sure what kind of set up your horse has (does he come into a stall, or is he pasture boarded and hay is given to all the horses in the pasture?). If your horse is stalled for any length of time I would most likely be purchasing my own hay to feed to my horse, so that I can inspect what he is getting.

                As far as the vet bill, I would not expect the barn owner to pay. Just chalk it up as a lesson learned. Is this coastal hay? I have had several colics from coastal bermuda hay (all impactions), and am heisitant to feed it except in the case right now I have a rescue that I am slowly moving over to alfalfa, and what he was used to getting was coastal. The main thing is making sure it is stemmy, and not really small and fine. That's where you run into a lot of trouble.

                Also water buckets need to be scrubbed, dumped, and refilled daily to encourage that horses are drinking, especially this time of year with the colder temperatures. Good luck OP I am glad your horse recovered.

                Comment


                • #28
                  I'd be curious about the water situation in the days leading up to the colic "epidemic" more than the hay. Was the water in the turnout area turned off/tubs dumped because of imminent cold weather?
                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                    I'd be curious about the water situation in the days leading up to the colic "epidemic" more than the hay. Was the water in the turnout area turned off/tubs dumped because of imminent cold weather?
                    ...or were heaters added to the troughs, and energizing the water just a little bit?

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Did all the horses have impaction colic?

                      I would think typically impaction colic in the hindgut is caused by not drinking water, eating something very fine and fibrous, or sand. I suppose impaction colic could be secondary also to something that caused a horse to not want to drink or slowed gut movement, so a horse feeling NQR might not drink enough and then get an impaction.

                      An impaction in the hindgut is basically really bad constipation.

                      I would not expect a toxic weed to cause impaction colic with no other symptoms. I would expect a toxic weed by definition to have other symptoms of distress or neurological problems. A plant that causes impaction colic in vulnerable horses but leaves the rest just fine can be a standard feed that just isn't a good choice for some individuals, like stemmy alfalfa or Bermuda grass.

                      I suppose a horse made mildly ill by a toxic plant might not drink enough water but in that case the horse would show lethargy and loss of appetite.

                      That's why I was wondering about what kind of colic the other horses had.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        PAY THE VET BILL which is relatively small. BE GLAD YOUR HORSE IS RECOVERED. If you do not trust the barn or staff, look for a new place and give proper notice. I would not even think of asking BO to reimburse me for the bill in this instance for many reasons starting with...you probably won't get the money, but will get a bad reputation(warranted or not). IF I were the BO in this instance I would apologize profusely and offer to help make up your cost by reducing board by say $100 for 4 months, inspect all the rest of the bales and contact supplier saying ## of bales have foxtail and will not be fed replace or refund please. It was more likely an accident than negligence....or as Ghazzu so wisely mentioned could have had to do more with water intake(lack there of) than hay. I am sorry it happened to you and your horse(and the others) but relieved it had a good outcome.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          IIRC, Bermudagrass tends to cause illeal-cecal impaction colics (vs.large colon), so if that were the cause, it might be rather obvious (since it would be unlikely for multiple horses to have impactions at that particular point otherwise.)
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I wouldn't think twice about only paying part of the vet bill. Your horse = your responsibility.

                            As far as asking the barn owner to cover partial costs, I think thats ridiculous. Did the weather change? Someone give the horses something? Poisonous plant blow into the pasture? There will be endless questions on what really caused this. I understand multiple horses got this but ultimately how can you prove it was the BO's fault. I'm assuming the BO is aware and is working on fixing the issue. If not, easy solution....move.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              There are so many reasons that a horse can colic. Foxtail or weedy hay just doesn't seem likely because many horses don't eat the weeds. or undesirables in the hay.

                              For that many horses to colic all at once I am wondering if there is a care issue, or some other area where they are suddenly falling short.

                              Your horse your bill to pay.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                IIRC, Bermudagrass tends to cause illeal-cecal impaction colics (vs.large colon), so if that were the cause, it might be rather obvious (since it would be unlikely for multiple horses to have impactions at that particular point otherwise.)
                                Yes, ileal impactions is Coastal's claim to infamy

                                But since the OP said
                                I feel confident that I saw foxtail and other weed(s) or atypical hay (coastal Bermuda?) in my horse's hay
                                I'm not confident there was any Coastal, much less enough to cause an issue

                                Heck, I'm not even confident at this point there were 8 impactions
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by JB View Post

                                  Yes, ileal impactions is Coastal's claim to infamy

                                  I'm not confident there was any Coastal, much less enough to cause an issue

                                  Heck, I'm not even confident at this point there were 8 impactions
                                  Ah interesting. What the OP described sounds to me like typical uncomplicated hind gut impaction. Sedate tube wait and pay the vet for emergency call.

                                  Ileal and cecal impactions to my mind can be a lot more serious. That cecum is a wierd one way in/out organ.

                                  OP do you know where the impaction was?

                                  I understand Coastal Bermuda Grass is fine in appearance but high in indigestible fiber? I'm not sure this would be particularly visible in a flake of mixed grass hay. It wouldn't stand out looking like a weed or an anomaly.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post



                                    Ileal and cecal impactions to my mind can be a lot more serious. That cecum is a wierd one way in/out organ.
                                    Although they are in close proximity, the ileocecal and cecocolic orifices are separate entities.
                                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      I understand your frustration, but I don't think there is anything to be gained from asking anyone else to pay your horse's vet bill. Even with proof, the dollar amount makes it hard to justify pursuing a lawsuit (and no, I don't think your BO is going to pay willingly). Also, even with proof of the weed or contaminant, I think you'd have to make a case that it is standard of care for a BO to personally inspect every flake of hay. Hay is a natural product, grown in outdoor fields, and weed seeds are easily spread. IME, unless you are buying hay from extremely large commercial operations (that usually charge at least twice as much per bale or per ton) there will, on rare occasion be weeds or contaminants. While sometimes contaminants or weeds may be obvious--often identifying dried, crushed plants in a bale of hay is NOT easy, even for knowledgeable horsemen.

                                      If you are concerned that your barn is making a practice of feeding bad hay, you should move. If you think this was an isolated incident and you are concerned about the vet bill, consider purchasing medical insurance for your horse. I think that pursuing reimbursement has a high probability of creating hard feelings at your barn and a low probability of a positive financial outcome.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Bermuda is fine and soft, not big and stemmy. Foxtail is obvious.

                                        If the OP doesn't know what s/he's looking at, how can her eyeball of hay be reliable? Is she a reliable witness?

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          For the record, I never got the impression OP wasn't going to pay the vet bill. Just was asking if she should ask the BO to reimburse her for costs.

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