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Recurrent colics after colic surgery-she went to clinic

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  • Recurrent colics after colic surgery-she went to clinic

    Has anyone here experienced recurrent colics after colic surgery? Details are, mare had colic surgery about 4 months ago due to too fine coastal hay. She actually had 2 surgeries while she was there, neither of which involved cutting or resection of bowel, only manipulation. She had done VERY WELL the past 4 months, however over the past 7 days, she has had 2 colic episodes, the first responded well to Banamine and now the 2nd, which she is in right now, is responding a little slower (I am upstairs on my computer watching her down in the barn yard. The house is above the barn. She is quiet for now, but not totally comfortable). Each time, circumstances are similar. Both times she had been out all day grazing, looking perfectly normal, came in, ate very well, ate her hay well, etc. There have been NO CHANGES in her hay and grain for months. It has gotten colder here in GA., however, her water intake in stall seems normal. Both times, about 12 AM (1:30AM this time), I notice her coming into her stall (she has a walk out paddock at night and there is a video cam on her stall) and she comes in and begins to paw, get down. Up I go. Each time, her poop volume so far for the night has always looked normal before this sudden onset.

    Anyway, 1st time I call good local vet at 12 AM and he comes out and she is much better by the time he gets her and on rectal her poop look very moist and when he tubes her, no reflux. He give her a little warm water and oil just to be sure and everything is okay. Thinks gas, adhesions. About 7 days later, same thing, same symptoms, etc, however, she does not seem to be responding to the Banamine as quickly. I still may have to call vet and still may have to get her on truck and trailer to clinic. I, of course, have been communicating with clinic that did surgery about this, and they, of course, mention adhesions, etc.

    So, my question to you guys is, have you seen this pattern in your colic post op horses and esp. after they were doing so well, did your vets attribute it to adhesions and of course, that big question, what was your eventual outcome. I can't watch this mare constantly. I need some sleep and have a job.

    Anyway, just hoping for some experiences, feedback.

    Thank You!
    Last edited by PSD; Oct. 28, 2008, 02:24 PM.

  • #2
    This happened to a client's horse after she foaled, about two/three months. She had surgery then and seemed to be doing fine, but a month later (foal was getting close to being weaned, around four months) she colicked again and I'm sad to say that it didn't end well... decision was made to put her down, too much damage to fix. My client was a 2nd year vet student and she had the surgery at her university. I don't know the extent of the surgery, however. She was a young H/J mare and a super mom.

    Sorry to start off your thread w/ a negative reply, but will send you and your mare many jingles and hope she feels better soon.
    A Merrick N Dream Farm
    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


    • Original Poster

      Thanks, amdfarm. Very, very sorry about the outcome. And, for a young mare. This one is 13 y.o., H/J and has successfully had 2 babies. Mare seems to be better at the moment, but you how it is--moment to moment. And, the recurrence thing is a worry. I don't think it is standard practice to send a horse to bed every night with a dose of Banamine. Just another $19,000 visit to the clinic would hurt.


      • #4
        I bought an OTTB a couple of years ago and within 4 days of getting him, he coliced. He inpacked so went to the clinic. They flushed him and he came home a week later. For a month and a half after that, he coliced like clock work every two weeks to the day. After changing several things in his diet back to the way the track fed him, we figured out that it was uclers. I put him on Quiessence for nervousness and ucler guard for the uclers. After about 4 months, I weaned him off the ucler guard and he was fine. No more colic and no colic while he was on ulcer guard. The other thing I don't let him have is any peppermint and for grain straight sweet feet. No pellet grain.
        The best views are not always the invisable views.


        • #5
          cooler weather causing changes in grass = gas?

          Is she on grass during the day?

          Is there a chance that with the weather getting colder that whatever she is grazing on is causing her mild gassy colic?

          Sorry to hear and pats to your mare!


          • #6
            Sometimes, they will develop adhesions after colic surgery and will have more colics. I don't know a lot about it, but I have a neighbor whose mare had a colic a year ago a few months after foaling. She had a surgeon come out to her farm immediately. He said it was surgical, and the horse was in surgery very quickly. Her bill from the hospital was $5,900 because they were able to discharge the mare 4 days after surgery, as there were no complications. This mare has had a few painful incidents since her surgical colic, including one a few months after this year's foal was born.

            Most of the people we know whose horses have had colic surgery have never again had a colic, but sometimes it seems to be a recurrent problem. How did you end up with such a huge bill after the colic surgery? Are you in a high cost area or were there complications?


            • #7
              I would stop feeding any grain as it could exacerbate the problem by changing the gut PH and start adding about 1 teaspoon of salt to her supplements, while adding pre and probiotics as much as possible.

              Feeding grain increases colic risk by 4 times!
              Last edited by BornToRide; Oct. 28, 2008, 12:47 PM.


              • #8
                I had a horse that was a chronic colicer (is that a word?), he displaced more than once. And yes, he kept doing it, even after two surgeries. We ended up putting him down, he was only four.
                We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                • Original Poster

                  She went to clinic

                  Thanks everyone for posting! Everything is so helpful in trying to figure this out and try and prevent in the future. She continued to act colicky, not real bad, but up and down, pawing some, then eating some grass, then pawing some, walking some, then some trotting, no rolling, etc, etc, so at 5:30AM I called my barn help (I am recovering from a total hip joint replacement and still need some help with some things) and she came to help load and my local vet came and administered some sedatives for the trip and I drove her the 60 miles to the Univ. of Ga. where her surgeries were done. 2nd colic episode in 6 days, it was time for some more diagnostics. She completed the trip well, even pooping in the trailer (but, her poop volume in her paddock was normal up until her first colic sign last night). After all the vitals, they immediately did a rectal and abdominal U/S. Both rectal and abdominal U/S were normal with the exception of some small intestine thickening in some of the areas that had been impacted before. Not above normal range, but high normal. Basically, nothing that looked too abnormal. Motility looked good.

                  So, the plan is to leave her there for a couple of days, they will do an endoscopy to search for ulcers and will watch and observe. I SO HOPE they don't have to go to surgery.
                  A 2nd surgery was tough enough on her, a 3rd would be very hard. She was very comfortable when I left, just upset to be back there.

                  So, jingles, please.....

                  And as far as the cost of the surgery, it was done at the Univ. of Ga., she stayed 2-1/2 weeks!!!, had lots and lots of hydration, had to be on total parenteral nutrition (VERY expensive) for about 4-5 days till her small intestine began to contract and that took quite a bit of medical manipulation to get that going, had the 2 surgeries, just lots and lots of post op care. I think they did a great job, just was very expensive. Maxed out on the $7500.00 Major Medical very quickly!!!

                  Thanks for ALL the very helpful posts!!


                  • #10

                    Sending jingles that she is okay and this is a temporary blip...


                    • #11
                      Thanks, PSD. It was a real shock to hear she'd been put down. She was only 7/8yo and the first outside mare bred to my stallion. This was her second foal. She was planning to re-breed since she was so pleased w/ her filly. But, alas, $hit happens. She was a really nice mare.

                      There's a gelding that I know of that also had recurring colicks after two surgeries. He was a big time cribber. The last time he colicked, they couldn't even get him to load on the trailer, so the decision was made to put him down. He was a young H/J also, early teens. Very sweet horse.

                      Big jingles for your mare. I, too, hope this is just a little blip. Keep us posted.
                      A Merrick N Dream Farm
                      Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


                      • Original Poster

                        The mare does get about 3 lbs. Triple Crown Lite twice a day (she had a bout with laminitis in her 2nd pregnancy post 7 month pneumabort vaccine, but, has been very sound since. e I don't like for her to get too heavy, like most of mine seem to do), Strongid 2C, Missing Link Plus once a day, her last fecal done about a month ago was clean.

                        She has access to a very nice pasture which is probably a bermude-type grass, usually 10-12 hours a day. We have only been here since June of this year and they used to harvest coastal bermuda or a variant off these fields. She has been grazing w/o problems on these fields since June. Her first colic seemed to be associated with fine, harvested coastal bermuda hay I tried to change my horses to after moving here. Put her back on the alfalfa/orchard hay she had been used to getting in Va. before she came here and she gets a bag of that free choice when she comes in for the night. No recent changes in feed or hay, just the cooler weather on the grass. Have been watching all of the horses water intake, at least at night, when they have buckets. Seemed to be doing fine the past 4 months.

                        So strange. When I left the clinic this AM, they were talking about stopping all hay with her and just do grass and if inside, to do the chopped forages and soaked alfalfa cubes and a change to a senior type feed. That is, if she is doing well. Haven't heard yet from them this afternoon about how she is doing, however.


                        • #13
                          I don't know if its the droughts followed by floods or what, but there is something wrong with the late Bermuda this year.

                          There have been several threads in which grazing on Bermuda has caused colics. Its not the sugar--warm season grasses do not have that problem. Its the ligin content gone awry.

                          Same horses, same fields, different results this year. Happened to me and several other posters since late August with horses grazing Bermuda pastures.

                          I know it sounds harsh, but when she comes home I'd just keep her off the grass until its dead and mowed down


                          • Original Poster

                            Wow, equinelaw, I missed those posts. However, I will look for them. You are in the same general area as me, I believe, you Aiken, me, northwest of Augusta, Ga?

                            Mare did very well today. Comfortable. No ulcers on scope. She will continue to be watched and evaluated overnight and tomorrow. I will definitely find those posts and talk to the vets at UGA tomorrow.



                            • #15
                              I'm glad you took her in and that she is doing well. Keep us posted. Most of us know how stressful it is to have a sick horse.


                              • #16
                                Yeah, people in this area are getting colics that are just more unexplained then average. My horse got gas colics all the time, but never had an impaction until he started eating the mature Bermuda grass. Its got an indigestible fiber in it that he had never had before.
                                He had always been out on Bahia or well mowed or well grazed pasture. We had that bad drought and then all that rain and the grass grew like crazy and the Bermuda spread. Suddenly he stopped eating any Bahia and ate only Bermuda for a few days.

                                He was well hydrated, on the same beet pulp based feed and everything was the same but the grass he chose to eat. It just wouldn't move through him and he was too old for surgery. My horse lived alone so I could see what he had eaten in the days before. He bypassed all the Bahia which he usually preferred and ate the small patches of Bermuda grass. Illial impaction, just like the research papers said.

                                After it was too late I googled some info Bermuda grass and it can have the same problems as the hay. Wrong stage of growth and it just clogs up and wont move without help.

                                Another woman in SC had the same thing happen just a few weeks ago. They pulled chunks of Bermuda grass out of her horse and he now has to wear a muzzle. I am embarrassed that I can't remember her username, but its got "paint" in it.

                                I never knew you couldn't trust Bermuda when it was growing in the pasture I am pretty sure my thread asking if mature Bermuda seeds were toxic references the papers I read.

                                I just don't want to look for it myself. Still bums me out.


                                • #17
                                  Well first I hate to hear about all of the colics & hope everyone's horses are doing better but I've never heard the information about bermuda pastures causing any problems. I don't feed any bermuda hay, only timothy just to avoid the colic problems but I do have alicia pastures. I'll have to research the pasture thing more closely.
                                  I am a nut about feeding a probiotic & digestive enzyme, Manna Pro's Opti-Zyme. Maybe it helps with some of this, I don't know.
                                  Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!