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Looks like colic, but not colic? Temperature changes?

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  • Looks like colic, but not colic? Temperature changes?

    You’ve probably heard the saying that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it must be a duck. But, I have a 9 year old TB mare who has “episodes” that show all the symptoms of colic, but apparently are not colic? Supposedly it is a bad reaction to temperature changes?

    Now, let me just interject here that I have not had a vet look at her during any of these episodes, because so far they have been controlled with Banamine (which is what I was told to do by the vet when I did call him). But, I am just wondering if anybody has heard of anything like this before….

    A little more info:

    My mare sometimes has worse episodes than others, but they present just like colic – droopy look about her, or in the rare instance that it’s really bad she may have nostrils flared and be kind of frantic; pawing; kicking and biting at the stomach; laying and/or trying to roll. But it seems to *always* happen when the weather changes. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot to cold or cold to hot, the mare always seems to get a belly ache. My BO says she used to have a Tennessee Walker who did the same thing, and he was so bad that she did have the vet out to look at him. She says the vet told her there are some horses that are just super sensitive to barometric pressure changes, and this is what they do. She said he told her it was not colic, but she couldn’t remember the term he used for it.

    Any ideas? I’d like to maybe be able to look up some information or something – just to be in the know as much as possible here. Or if anyone has experienced the same thing, can you give me any stories or words of wisdom? The BO where I keep my horses is super-attentive to their care, so I don’t have any worries that my mare won’t be taken care of. But I’d just like to know anything and everything I can about what in the world is going on with my poor, sweet girl.
    ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

    The equine love of my life: Gabriel
    4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

  • #2
    I vote colic. Very common with big temp swings which is why some refer to it as "colic weather."
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      i think it is related to the change in barometric pressure.

      however, i am dealing with sorta the same thing - just posted under " need armchair vet opinions."


      • #4
        It's not an impaction, but it's still a colic. Colic is a collection of symptoms that indicate stomach or intestinal discomfort. Doesn't matter what the cause is, it's still colic. And, yes, there are horses who are sensitive to weather change and indicate their sensitivity with stomach discomfort--otherwise known as colic.

        Once you get to know a particular individual's response fairly well, you are okay (with your vet's approval) with treating it initially yourself w/ Banamine or whatever your vet tells you to use. But when you're having your first experiences with it, best to consult the vet before medicating. An experienced barn staff with a good working relationship with the vet will probably be able to handle it.

        I have one who has issues in the spring and fall--April and October are the high-sugar grass months here, and also times when the barometric pressure seems to play hopscotch. I keep a pretty close eye on him during those conditions.

        Good luck with yours--
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.


        • #5
          It may not be full blown, get the vet out to tube and do a rectal exam kind of colic, but it is still colic.

          I had a horse in my care for awhile who would "colic" (go off his feed, roll, get a little frantic and uncomfortable, etc) if I changed the order of how I did things...say, I had to leave him in for the farrier or something. He basically would get so upset, he'd upset his tummy. Scared the crap out of me the first time or two, but then I figured him out, and a little shot of banamine and putting him out would set him right. It never went beyond that. Probably could have treated with omeprazole, because I bet he was ulcery.

          Try giving her a couple of days worth of UlcerGard when I a big change is predicted. Give her the first dose at least 24 hours before it is supposed to blow in. She what she does with that.


          • #6
            Gas colics can do that. Usually resolve on their own, or with a little trotting. Banamine relaxes them enough so they aren't as painful, so when it passes, they are fine.
            There's always the fart button... (search this forum for it...it really will make them fart, and often feel better.)


            • #7
              Sounds like gas colic to me as well. Very often the result of serious temperature swings. Although there might not be an impaction, the pain is very serious and needs to be addressed. My first Clydesdale was prone to gas colics and I eventually was able to come up with a plan to get him through without the vet, but in the beginning I always had the vet out. And, yes, my plan DID involve the "fart button"!


              • #8
                One of my guys sometimes has what the vet and I suspect is an ulcer flare up when the weather changes. (Never scoped, but ulcer treatment puts an end to the "colic" symptoms, and he continues to poop and fart throughout an episode/trotting doesn't seem to do anything for him but make him more uncomfortable)

                We decided that he is probably just "temperature sensitive " so I started blanketing him at slightly higher temps, and *try* to be very accurate with keeping him as warm as possible, but never getting too hot. THAT is a challenge lol!

                As long as I keep the suspected ulcers at bay and keep mr.sensitive toasty warm, he remains colic free, knock on wood....... although he sometimes almost causes ME to colic, worrying about what the weather will do and if he's dressed properly


                • #9
                  It could be gas colic, in which case you can try Xtra-strength Gas-X, one tablet per 100 lbs. If you get the right flavor they may just eat it right out of your hand. It does the same thing in the horse as it does in people and will not do harm if it's not gas colic. This is one of our vets first go-to treatments along with banamine after you have taken vital signs.


                  • Original Poster

                    Wow - thanks SO MUCH for all the info, everyone!

                    Jump4Me - Yeah, my mare makes me colicky worrying over her when she does this. I know so far even the worst of the episodes has been controlled with Banamine, but I still worry myself silly about her. I swear one day she'll give me an ulcer.

                    So, I looked at the Fart Button thread - how amazing is that?? Weird, but amazing. And if this is gas colic, this will be an invaluable bit of info. Thanks again, everyone!

                    I will try that first. We'll see how she reacts. If that doesn't help, I'll try keeping her extra toasty, as well as checking to see if it may be ulcer-related.

                    Wonderful - I love this forum. You guys rock!
                    ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

                    The equine love of my life: Gabriel
                    4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3


                    • #11
                      My guy coliced yesterday it was likely gas colic as the vet could feel it during the rectal. My horse still wanted to eat. There were about 3 horses that have showed signs of colic this past week, we went from cooler temps to upper 80's within a week.

                      It is still colic and should be treated. My guy was tubed and given banamine and food withheld until morning. The "gas colic" can twist the gut, it is not something that I ride out for long, and wanting to roll, is when I need a vet now. A twist in the intestines or bowel is life threatening.

                      Hope all is well for your horse.