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recurrent 'colic'/tying up - strongyles?? any ideas?

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  • recurrent 'colic'/tying up - strongyles?? any ideas?

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole encysted strongyle issue. Wondering if it could contribute to recurrent colics. Mare had a bout of mini-'colics' in December/January and we've just dealt with another one this past weekend.

    Horse is on a regular quarterly deworming program (boarded out with a knowledgable BO) and does not look wormy. Easy keeper, glossy and looks to be the picture of good health. We have had her for two years and she just started doing this in the past 6 months. Same barn, same schedule, same turnout buddies. The last dewormer was barn wide in January (after the 'colics') and it was Eqvalan Gold (1.55% w/w ivermectin and 7.75% w/w praziquantel).

    I say 'colic' because each time the vet has come out she has done a rectal (fine), checked gut sounds (fine), tubed her (just in case), gave some Banamine and the horse is fine within a couple of hours. Poops are fine during all of these 'colic' episodes.

    Most of these 'colics' were after a stressful period of exercise (i.e. day 2 of clinic/after a harder lesson). We pulled blood to check for tying up (fine), did a lyme screen (fine), did the EPSM genetic test (fine). We trialed ulcer meds at least three time (no difference - fine). Two of the 'colics' were at about 5 pm - horse out all day, came in to eat lunch at 4, looked green and didn't want carrots shortly after.

    The 'colic' symptoms are the same - depressed and lethargic looking, pawing the ground, lying down in the stall (but not thrashing/rolling), nipping at flanks. Last weekend she would cramp across her lumbar/hind legs sporadically as we walked her, after the vet came and did her protocol (including Banamine) she was fine and went back to her food.

    To say I am frustrated is an understatement.

    Just thinking through the timing (December and April), I'm wondering if encysted strongyles would cause some of these issues? We're in Ontario so it has just now warmed up.

    Vet is stumped. I'm stumped. BO is stumped. Any suggestions/ideas would be lovely... I am really concerned that if we don't get to the bottom of this we can get ourselves into more serious trouble.

  • #2
    Have you done a power pak yet? And yes, tapes or small S can cause those symptoms. I'm sure your vet covered all that with you?


    • #3
      What's this horse's breeding? Has she been tested HYPP/NN?
      And... put her on a 2 week course of Gastrogard. Your symptoms are telling me ulcers moreso than colic.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sansena View Post
        What's this horse's breeding? Has she been tested HYPP/NN?
        And... put her on a 2 week course of Gastrogard. Your symptoms are telling me ulcers moreso than colic.
        I would think the vet would of palpated for ulcers or ran a fecal blood test, but maybe not?


        • #5
          How does one palpate for ulcers?
          Also.. if the ulcer is not bleeding, there will be no occult blood in the stool? Or am I wrong. I thought scoping was the only way to determine gastric ulcers, definitively.. but not hindgut.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sansena View Post
            How does one palpate for ulcers?
            Also.. if the ulcer is not bleeding, there will be no occult blood in the stool? Or am I wrong. I thought scoping was the only way to determine gastric ulcers, definitively.. but not hindgut.
            There are specific points that vets can palpate for ulcers. If the vet is good it can be almost extremely accurate.

            The fecal blood tests are very sensitive and will pick up any fore or hind gut blood.


            • #7
              Never heard of palpating for ulcers...

              OP: have you considered PSSM?
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


              • #8
                My older horse did this for a while. He would eat dinner and then go into the mini colic thing. His would only last about 30-45 minutes and then he would be fine. The vet suggested we start with a Power Pack and it cleared it up. Hasn't happened again since.


                • #9
                  Enteroliths? Strangulating lipoma?


                  • #10
                    Yes, enteroliths can look like this as they roll around, as can tumours that move such that they partially obstruct the gut.
                    I had a horse that has many low-grade colics, and then had one major colic (that ended up being fatal). He had a leiomyoma, which was growing on a stalk on his small intestine, and eventually flipped around and completely "tied-off" his gut. We think that the minor colics were the tumour partially blocking things, then getting moved away.
                    Enteroliths can often be seen on radiographs.
                    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


                    • #11
                      What ulcer med did you use? This also sounds an awful lot like ulcers to me, especially since each episode occurred after something stressful. Scoping the horse might be warranted at this point. If the ulcers are severe, you're not going to see much improvement with short treatments, even with omeprazole.

                      With regard to the concern of encysted strongyles: has the horse been wormed with Quest? Moxidectin will get encysted strongyles, although not as many stages of them as a power pak. Although if you're concerned about this, a power pak is certainly an easy enough thing to try and unlikely to hurt anything. I power pak every new horse I purchase and generally repeat every other year, despite having Quest in my dewormer lineup.

                      I think the suggestion of a tumor or enterolith are interesting. How would one look for one of those? Ultrasound? Is the horse grey? A melanoma might be a possibility if so.

                      Any chance these episodes are concurrent with her heat cycles? Dec would be a little early, but she could be transitional depending on your location, or even in full blown estrus if she's kept under lights.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by horsecatcher View Post
                        I would think the vet would of palpated for ulcers or ran a fecal blood test, but maybe not?
                        How, pray tell, does one palpate for gastric ulcers?
                        And not all manifest with a positive fecal blood test result.
                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone.

                          To add a couple more details:

                          Horsecatcher - vet did not suggest powerpac, I did. Response essentially was 'worth a shot'.

                          Sansena - we tested for EPSM but not HYPP. Breeding is warmblood (oldenburg, dutch and a dash of TB). Unfortunately type 2 requires biopsy and I haven't taken that step yet. We have done 3 trials of ulcer meds (omeprazole and ranitidne (sorry, can't spell it) with no change in behaviour).

                          TheJenners Yes, I have considered EPSM/PSSM as she is a really good keeper, lazy as all heck and in the back of my mind I wonder if this 'colic' is really tying up??

                          We did attempt to reformulate food after the winter colics. I ran a selenium panel (medium low), supplemented, added multivit minerals (she was only getting 1/4 pound of grain per day), added Vit E of 1,600 IU per day, added a B12/magnesium supplement. She will not tolerate required amounts of oil for the EPSM diet - we tried and she would not eat it.

                          Since this weekend I've pulled her off all grain, just getting soaked hay cubes (alfalfa) when the others eat the breakfast/lunch so she doesn't feel left out. The above supplements remain because I don't think they are doing any harm. I wanted to pull the grain on the off chance that an allergic reaction - something?? - from the grain was causing the timing.

                          Sarabeth / CrowneDragon Enteroliths might be a possibility but I don't believe that they are very common in Ontario? Our soils tend to be very deficient in minerals with lots of grass pasture. The amount of alfalfa she is fed is such a small percentage (maybe 2 pounds per day) compared to the amount of regular grass and grass hay we feed.

                          And if its a lipoma I think we're SOL. She is only 5 and not grey so hopefully that reduces some of the risk of that being the case...

                          horsecatcher Can you give me more insight on what you observed with the strongyles?

                          ... Maybe I'm just over thinking all of this and it is perfectly normal to have a couple of bouts of colic! AGH!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by horsecatcher View Post
                            There are specific points that vets can palpate for ulcers. If the vet is good it can be almost extremely accurate.

                            "Almost extremely accurate"?
                            Love it. I shall file for future use.
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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


                            • #15
                              I would seriously be looking towards EPSM/PSSM... so much of what you've said speaks to it. Get thee to www.ruralheritage.com - enter The Vet Clinic and read the goodies by Dr. Beth Valentine. You can also email her for personal help and she will respond/walk you through.
                              <>< 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.


                              • #16
                                It's the right time of year to use Quest Plus, so assuming the horse is in good weight, that's what I'd do.
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                  "Almost extremely accurate"?
                                  Love it. I shall file for future use.
                                  Typo from phone and yes, maybe you should use that.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                    "Almost extremely accurate"?
                                    Love it. I shall file for future use.
                                    G: You crack me up. I think what Horsecatcher is referring to acupressure points that can correspond to indicate ulcer-type issues. I certainly wouldnt' take it alone as a dx. Scoping for me, thanks .

                                    Nice thing about scoping is you can see ulcer 'conditions' forming. In my case mine had a 'partially denuded epithillium' (and I may be wrong on terminology and spelling, but those who know know to waht I'm referring). We treated with Ranitidine and getting him on pasture. Mine needs something in his belly ALWAYS or he gets hinky.

                                    OP: How did you administer the Ranitidine? IME nothing less than 3x a day spaced 8 hours apart for several days, given outside of graining times, is the only way to say one's used it 'correctly' to help the ulcer issues. Same goes for omeprazole in so far as it-must-be-given-correctly, but not 8 hrs apart just outside of grain meals. Apparently some horses won't respond right away, as in the usually Rx'd 30 days. Some need it for a longer duration, and Iv'e been told some have bacterial components ( like H Pylori) that will only respond when doxy is given -- BUT -- I've also heard that is not the case. I haven't pursued either thought further because I've gratefully not had the pressing need.

                                    Good lord, I've just re-read what I've written and bless you if you can understand me. I've a cold med head today so all bets are off...


                                    • #19
                                      Last edited by Sansena; Apr. 19, 2013, 02:08 PM. Reason: dbl post


                                      • #20
                                        Hindgut ulcers?