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Help: Horse 'colicing'

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  • Help: Horse 'colicing'

    Hi-- I got a phone call yesterday morning saying my horse was down and would not get up to eat. And she had diarhea all over her stall and had only drank a little water overnight. She had eaten her dinner the night before fine and finished all her hay. I spent all day with her yesterday and when the vet got there she did a rectal and said that she must have a bought of colic as the banamine brought her out of it a bit when we gave it to her before the vet got there and then seemed better after the second round of banamine from the vet.

    Now, this may sound strange, but my horse has coliced a few times before from various things (very sensitive stomach and allergic to a bunch of things) and this did not seem like colic. She was just very depressed and not interested in eating anything... even grain or treats. She would drink water whenever it was offered to her but she would not go get it herself. And, she was not trying to roll or anything... laid down calmly once but she usually lays down mid-morning for her 'nap'.

    I asked the vet about ulcers, and she said it was a possibility but not likely. But, we started her on ranitidine (aka Zantac) 3 times a day for 2 weeks. And, as soon as she gets the ranitidine, she wants to eat and perks right up. Just seems a little too weird to be colic and have an ulcer med work that quickly. So, I am out of ideas. I checked her every hour last night and sometimes she would be eating and others not looking so good but she was eating her hay (hadn't touched the grain) when I left this morning.

    Any ideas?? I am stumped and my vet is convinced it is colic but I just don't agree given all her symptoms.
    Who say's your best friend has to be human?

  • #2
    Most horses don't have manure all over the place when colicking....I'd be more concerned with something like salmonella or other gut infections...maybe ask your vet....stool culture? Any fever? Grain might make ulcers hurt worse so she could be avoiding it for that reason. Not sure that ranitidine would work that quickly so ? "colic" just means gut pain but doesn't explain the cause so your vet is right in that sense.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    Northern NV


    • #3
      I have to say, as soon as I saw the diarrhea comment I thought salmonella..


      • #4
        Colic can present differently in the same horse depending on what caused it in the first place. She could have eaten too much grass and just felt icky. She could have eaten a plant that wasn't good for her. Certainly could be something like salmonella. Or it could be something completely unrelated to the GI tract... her first heat cycle of the spring, an ovarian cyst, etc. The runny manure could be a symptom of being upset and uncomfortable, rather than actually being caused by a GI problem.

        If the diarhea has cleared, I'd just keep an eye on her. If she is still not making "normal" manure for her, then I'd have the vet take a culture and see if anything shows up. Likely though this will just be one of those weird things with no good answer
        Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


        • #5
          Sand colic also causes diarhea.......might want to check her manure for sand.



          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone-- The only thing is that she was on the same routine she has been on for months now-- Turned out in the hard dirt pen for a few hours (not fed out there), then fed her normal grain and hay at night. Salmonella is a possibility just not sure how she would have come in contact with it-- she was out with 2 other horses and they are fine, and inside all the horses eat the same hay (well, 2 bales split between the 7 of them) and same grain.

            I think I will call the vet again to take a manure sample and see what she can come up with but something just doesn't add up.
            Who say's your best friend has to be human?


            • #7
              Does she have a fever?


              • #8
                You can check for sand in the manure yourself....simply get a baggy and put one or two buns in the the bag up with water.......mix then hold the bag on an angle to one of the corners is pointing down and watch and see how much sand filters into the corner of the bag.

                My horse while sand colicing did have a very slight temperature rise .5 to 1 degree.......but inflammation can cause a slight rise in temp too.



                • #9
                  Keep an eye on her temperature. If she has a fever, it sounds like some type of infection. Did the vet do any bloodwork?

                  I don't want to scare you, but just had a friend here in Kentucky go through something similar. Started with what looked like impaction colic, progressed to diarrhea. Vet tubed her and pulled blood and she had an extremely low white blood cell count. They ended up hauling her to Hagyard, threw everything at her, kept her in isolation. They never did figure out what it was (not salmonella). She's still recovering at home. The vets told my friend when she was out of the woods that they didn't expect her to make it.

                  It's probably something simple, not anything like the above, but make sure you stay on top of it.
                  Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                  • Original Poster

                    Sorry I forgot to post the temperature last time.... no fever. She runs at exactly 100 almost every time it is ever taken and still at 100 now. And it, was taken before and after the banamine was given- no change
                    Who say's your best friend has to be human?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dalemma View Post
                      Sand colic also causes diarhea.......might want to check her manure for sand.


                      Yep, sounds like sand colic to me.
                      "Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of passions." David Hume


                      • #12
                        The couple of sand colics I've had here (where we live in a desert so sand is everywhere!) haven't been acute .....they went slightly off feed, gradually developed cowpatty manure, would lay down, look at belly, get up, wander around.....didn't recognize this the first time and it was almost a week before the horse was really off and having diarrhea....second case was caught much earlier and since then they get monthly treatment that has seemed to prevent issues since.
                        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                        Northern NV


                        • Original Poster

                          Sorry I haven't posted in a bit.... been at the barn and at work all day. My horse is up and eating, even though another dose of banamine was needed. She is eating her grain slowly but she is eating it and wanted all the hay she could get. Still not acting right... she is usually a very playful horse and attached to her buddy that lives next to her and she didn't think much of her going out to be ridden when she usually would be frantic. But, eating is a step in the right direction. The vet took a manure sample but she is pretty much ruling out sand colic.... we still have snow on the ground and no access to sand right now
                          Who say's your best friend has to be human?