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Can we have a serious discussion about Colic? And Colic Prevention?

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  • Can we have a serious discussion about Colic? And Colic Prevention?

    A friend's horse is colicking, and yet again, I find myself worried and upset...not only for her, but also for my horses. Colic is the one thing that would make me sell/give away ALL my horses and just do without. Perhaps its because one of my horses had colic surgery (came through just fine) and I will never forget THAT episode, even though I wasn't present.

    An older horse person I knew claimed she'd not had a case of colic in 23 years as she ALWAYS fed her horses soup. I'm so paranoid I now do exactly that ... put about 1/2 gallon of water in all my guys' food at each feeding. Ghazzu...or any other vets out there ... is this water idea just a lot of hooey ... ? Or is there something to it?

    I've added a poll to this thread ... what're your secrets? ideas? opinions? ESPECIALLY if you haven't had a colic in a long time.
    180
    Have had a minor episode(s) in the last 12 months
    22.22%
    40
    Have had a major episode(s) in the last 12 months
    18.33%
    33
    Have NOT had a *minor* episode(s) in 3 years
    5.00%
    9
    Have NOT had a *major* episode(s) in 3 years
    5.56%
    10
    Have NOT had a *minor* episode(s) in 5 years
    6.67%
    12
    Have NOT had a *major* episode(s) in 5 years
    12.78%
    23
    Colic is a constant battle for me, but it's with one or two horses only.
    3.33%
    6
    I can't remember the last time I had to call the vet for colic.
    26.11%
    47
    I'm involved with a rescue and it is a constant problem for us
    0.00%
    0
    Last edited by Oldenburg Mom; Jul. 29, 2008, 01:44 PM.
    "For God hates utterly
    The bray of bragging tongues."
    Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

  • #2
    One of mine had surgery for lipoma strangulation, the other for 30 feet of intestine that dropped down a hole in the matrix. The first one lived, the second one did not.

    Soup wouldn't have done a damn thing for either of them.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh My God! I hate to say this but I have never had a colic problem and I started riding in the late 50's and have cared for my own for at least half that. This is almost like saying "I have fallen while riding in 5 years". The very next day you'll get dumped.

      I just spent all Sunday with a friend at the clinic with her mare. The mare went into surgery yesterday and I have not heard anything else. I'm on pins and needles over here waiting for the results.

      My mare is on grass 24/7 with an outside shelter and gets one meal of beet pulp and alfalfa cubes in a soup with electrolytes. I monitor her water intake to make sure she drinks a fair amount.

      By the way, the only thing I don't like about having a horse out 24/7 in a big pasture is that I can't monitor her poop. Size, shape, amount, texture, moist or dry. This does worry me.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have never had a horse colic in my 35+ years of riding. I believe in the basics of adequate (if not constant) turnout, good quality hay (and lots of it to keep the gut moving), routine care (meaning try to keep it the same each day) and a low-stress environment (meaning: people, be 'chill' around the barn).

        edited to say, obviously clean water 24/7 is a must.

        Comment


        • #5
          There are few answers to the colic question. Colic is such a general condition that there can be thousands of causes and no one real solution. what works for one horse may kill another.

          I have had horses die form a variety of colics and not one was the same as the other (mesenteric tear and salmonella). One was surgically treated and one wasn't. Each had a different diet and each had different types of stabling, and riding schedules. I had other horses with colics treated at the barn using a vareity of methods (tubing, theraputic trailer ride, banamine,...).

          Even after working at a large animal hospital I find I learned that each case is different and there is no way to prevent colic.

          Thus, my belief is that you do the best you can, work with your vet and hope.

          Reed


          Originally posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post

          I've added a poll to this thread ... what're your secrets? ideas? opinions? ESPECIALLY if you haven't had a colic in a long time.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Chief2 View Post
            One of mine had surgery for lipoma strangulation, the other for 30 feet of intestine that dropped down a hole in the matrix. The first one lived, the second one did not.

            Soup wouldn't have done a damn thing for either of them.
            Chief, I don't quite understand the second ... and sorry for my ignorance, what is the lipoma strangulation?

            Old Jr. Hunter ... can you be more specific? Do you care for your horses at home? You too, Kahlua2. What's your take? Your secret?

            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
            Thus my belief is that you do the best you can, work with your vet and hope.
            Well, there is a huge kernel of truth in this—but is that where we just leave it? That seems an unsatisfactory answer...maybe I just don't like the randomness. But if that's also the case, how can people ride for almost 50 years and not have a single case? Luck? I don't buy that.
            "For God hates utterly
            The bray of bragging tongues."
            Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

            Comment


            • #7
              A lipoma is a fatty tumor which can cut off the blood flow to the intestines. It happens mostly in older horses. This is what happened to my 21 year old TB mare--I chose to put her down as surgery was not a realistic option. It is not preventable, and there is no way of seeing it coming. My mare had never colicked before, and suddenly was in agony.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chief2 View Post
                One of mine had surgery for lipoma strangulation,
                Damn, you too? I lost my TB gelding 10/31/04 to this very thing. He was on the table, they found the many feet of already-dead intestine, and because he was 20 and the guesstimate for a quality of life was about 20%, I decided it would be selfish to risk the 80%

                OM, a lipoma is a fatty, benign tumor that grows "inside". If/when it gets large enough, it can get flipped over a section of intestine, strangling it - strangulating lipoma. Catch it early, the lipoma gets cut out and there's no resection. Catch it late, and you have some length of dead intestine, just as with an impaction. From what I know it's more common in older geldings, but it can and does happen in younger horses and in mares. I've personally known one other older gelding who died of the same thing.

                Soup wouldn't have done a damn thing for either of them.
                Nope. You do what you can, and if making soup makes you feel better, then you do that. If a particular horse NEEDS soup to get enough water in, then you do that. You provide the best food you can, the best environment you can (ie as much turnout as possible), you manage parasites as best you can, but beyond that, horses digestive systems are royally messed up and it takes so very little to get that section of intestine flipped over the spleen, for example.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Highflyer and you too, JB. Thanks for helping educate! I guess I'm not talking about this type of colic. This is one of those situations, completely understandable, that cannot be prevented nor anticipated. At least I THINK that's what you're saying.

                  My colic, the major colic that happened to one of mine, I just wonder if it could have been prevented.
                  "For God hates utterly
                  The bray of bragging tongues."
                  Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've only had one colic since owning my own horses. It was only due to the neighbor's a) poor fencing; b) blatant disregard for proper stallion turnout and c) unwilligness to close/lock their feed room. My mare was very interested in their stallion, went thru their fence and then raided said feed room whereupon she ate 10 pounds of Equine Sr. She recovered and did fine.

                    Since then, not even a hint of gas colic. Mares are out almost 24/7, plenty of water (both are good drinkers no matter what the temperature), soaked/soggy beet pulp, good grass hay, low to no stress, etc.
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think a lot of people aren't gonna answer the poll for fear of jinxing themselves.. I need to go find some wood to knock on, myself.......

                      Haven't had an actual, real colic since I can remember, and I've been in horses a pretty long time. Once my mare seemed to have some colic symptoms (lethargic, laying down, not eating treats), but called vet and gave her 10cc banamine. Cleared right up. It sure seemed like colic, maybe just gas colic, but was never 100% sure because thankfully, it cleared up with ease. NOT TO JINX IT!

                      :knocks on wood some more:
                      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post
                        Highflyer and you too, JB. Thanks for helping educate! I guess I'm not talking about this type of colic. This is one of those situations, completely understandable, that cannot be prevented nor anticipated. At least I THINK that's what you're saying.
                        Yes, you understand

                        My colic, the major colic that happened to one of mine, I just wonder if it could have been prevented.
                        Maybe, maybe not. There are some horses who are really just hothouse flowers. I have a friend in FL who didn't need a weatherman telling her a storm was coming - she knew when her mare colicked. Clockwork, very reliable. She did everything right - soup for food, regular deworming, great hay, 12 hours turnout. But the lowering barometric pressure gave her gas colic every single time. It eventually cost her her life.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                          Since then, not even a hint of gas colic. Mares are out almost 24/7, plenty of water (both are good drinkers no matter what the temperature), soaked/soggy beet pulp, good grass hay, low to no stress, etc.
                          Choco, you ride though, don't you? It's not as if these are all pasture puffs, right?

                          I will say that it seems as if those of you who haven't had a colic in YEARS keep their horses out as much as possible.
                          "For God hates utterly
                          The bray of bragging tongues."
                          Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post
                            Choco, you ride though, don't you? It's not as if these are all pasture puffs, right?
                            Yes, ride, but no showing. Also use one of them for lessons (twice a week). When I get a trailer, they'll be hauled out for day trips or overnight trail camping rides.
                            <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't have any secret---just plain old luck and keeping things very simple---no changes and I do pay close attenton. For instance:

                              If I'm walking away from the mare and she poops I make sure I check it out. I don't miss the opportunity to take a look. I also spend time with her everyday and would notice a change in her. I pay attention to her as she walks about, drinks water. When she pees I make note of the color, amount.

                              I am forever looking out the window at her as I pass by and just make note of what she is doing and if things look ok. Even walking to the car I will take a peek at her or as I'm driving out the driveway. Just a quick assessment of things before I leave the farm just to make sure she still has two eyes and is not dripping gallons of blood. Yes, she does live at home here with me.

                              I don't hover over her, I do have a life outside of the horses/riding but just a glance in her direction and making an assessment a few times per day I think helps alot in catching things before they get out of hand.

                              But even with all this---ya just can't beat plain old luck.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I'm beginning to think turnout has more to do with it than anything. What about the hunters that are kept in their stalls forever? Anyone do that?
                                "For God hates utterly
                                The bray of bragging tongues."
                                Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post
                                  Choco, you ride though, don't you? It's not as if these are all pasture puffs, right?

                                  I will say that it seems as if those of you who haven't had a colic in YEARS keep their horses out as much as possible.
                                  I think keeping them out with something in front of them to eat all the time is a HUGE help My gang is out 24/7 on decent pasture year-round. They also receive 'grain' as necessary and get hay added to the mix in the winter. Some of the beasties work, most do not.

                                  I have two in my care who had colic surgery before they came to me. On had a resection because of problems caused by bute & banamine as a youngster over 8 years ago. The other was a hard working show horse who had colic surgery 5-6 years ago. Both are doing well and haven't had any problems with me (oh God, if that isn't asking for trouble....) I've had the first one for 7 1/2 years and the second for a little over 2 years.

                                  I didn't count the old grey guy who had a colic episode caused by melanomas and had to be put down. We kind of knew that was coming and there was nothing we could do to prevent it.
                                  Y'all ain't right!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've had horses for going on 16 years- **Knock on wood*** the only colics I've had were with the same older mare who was in a very bad way with cushings. She had severly foundered and the two colics were in her last month.

                                    Other than that, none. I attribute it mostly to the fact that my guys are out 24/7 and have free choice hay as a general rule. They also get a little grain as possible to meet their needs.
                                    "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                    So you might as well have a good time"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post
                                      I'm beginning to think turnout has more to do with it than anything. What about the hunters that are kept in their stalls forever? Anyone do that?
                                      The #2 horse in my post above was showing in the hunters pretty steadily. He had turnout but it's nowhere near what it is now....
                                      Y'all ain't right!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by BeastieSlave View Post
                                        The #2 horse in my post above was showing in the hunters pretty steadily. He had turnout but it's nowhere near what it is now....
                                        So, do you think that is the variable that is making such a difference now?
                                        "For God hates utterly
                                        The bray of bragging tongues."
                                        Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

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