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Update Colic Prevention - What else can I do?

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  • Update Colic Prevention - What else can I do?

    Lexy had, and is still going through, a so far mild impaction colic today. The vet's been out, and tubed her with oil and water. Now, we're just waiting for that oiled manure to show up. Lexy is alert and doesn't seem to be in any pain, in spite of the fact that we have not given her any type of pain killers. So, I'm very hopeful that things will resolve.

    This mare is 28 years old. She has a history of impaction colics, mainly because as the weather becomes colder, she doesn't drink enough. I've only had her through two Winters. The first Winter, she had several bouts of colic. We tweaked and fussed, and she got through the entire season last year without anything.

    She has a heated water bucket, gets alfalfa/timothy cubes soaked in plenty of water and gets Tractgard, which has an electrolyte in it. I just went out and bought some Stress Dex, another electrolyte, to use during this episode. I'm somewhat concerned about having her on two different electrolytes at the same time, long term, however, and would appreciate opinions about that, also. The vet approves of the program and as matters stand right now, isn't too worried about the fact that she did colic today.

    I, however, am concerned, probably because I'm a worrywort. But, I would appreciate a little COTH advice and wisdom about anything else preventative that I might do with the old girl.
    Last edited by Louise; Sep. 24, 2013, 06:34 PM.
    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
    Desmond Tutu

  • #2
    I'm not above bribery on an older horse. Figure out what her favorite flavor of powdered drink mix is, and add some to one of her buckets when you know the weather is changing. I had one who preferred strawberry Kool-Aide, but would tolerate blue Gatorade occasionally as well.


    • #3
      Jingles for Lexy.

      Joiedevie99, how did you figure out what the preferred flavors were? Hang two buckets and add various things to one of the buckets until one was a hit?


      • #4
        In the winter I fret over water consumption with my horses because I rough board and have no electricity. Keeping water ice free is QUITE a feat and not always possible.

        In the mornings, when I see my horses, I like to be sure they're well hydrated, so I make a warm 5gal bucket of Quencher every morning. It looks like dry oatmeal with flavorings, it flavors the water and leaves a bit of a treat at the bottom of the bucket.

        I drop a handful of the mix into a 5gal bucket and fill with warmish water. I do it first thing in the am while they're anxiously anticipating breakfast, so they greedily slurp the bucket down to get to the goodies that have settled.

        My 33yr old is a little too clever and greedy for his own good and has learned to tip the bucket to spill the water so he can get to the tasty bits on the bottom as fast as possible ... so I do his bucket in two half fill stages so he doesn't feel like its taking an eternity to get to the prize and actually drinks

        Anyone I know who has had problems getting their horses to drink I have turned onto this product and its been 100% success for everyone.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • Original Poster

          Very good ideas! I'll look into both of them. Any more out there?
          If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
          Desmond Tutu


          • #6
            As cooler fall weather sets in, right about now, I start adding some loose salt to my guys' daily feed. I keep that up until the lush green grass returns in the spring, which can easily be late May here.


            • #7
              As much turnout as possible, if she's not already out 24/7.
              Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


              • Original Poster

                Salt is a good idea. And, I agree with the turnout. She's out 24/7 in the Spring, Summer and Fall, except when the weather gets excessive. Out all day, from around 6 AM to around 8 PM in the Winter. Stalled at night.
                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                Desmond Tutu


                • #9
                  In the winter I flavor warm water with molasses by 'rinsing' it off of senior feed. (I tried just dumping a quart of senior into the bucket of warm water, but the pony splashes and slings all the water out to get to the slurry at the bottom.)

                  Doing this, I can get him to drink LOTS and LOTS of water, which makes me happy.

                  This time of year, colic prevention involves fencing off the oak trees and raking up as many leaves and acorns as I can to prevent him from eating them.
                  ... and Patrick


                  • #10
                    We always soak the hay (in warm/hot water on particularly cold days) for the "at risk" horses since all of the horses are being fed more hay to make up for lack of grass.


                    • #11
                      On the really cold days I warm up water in the house with peppermints in it so that they melt and flavor the water, I then soak beet pulp in it and feed them the beet pulp - good for water consumption and in the winter the extra fiber keeps them warm


                      • #12
                        I was told at New Bolton after an episode of colic to give my horse a section of alfalfa every night...it can act as a laxative....I see you use cubes so maybe you already have that covered. I can't remember if you mentioned warm water but most horses WILL DEFINITELY consume more water if it is warm (in cold weather). I give mine hot water and it stays unfrozen for a longer
                        period of time plus I use bucket cozies.


                        • #13
                          First, I think it is wonderful that you do have a 28 yr old horse. I only wish I could get one of mine to live that long. (I do have a cat I've owned for 20 yrs.)

                          I second what trafalgar said about alfalfa hay. When I had to stall my 2 this summer 24/7 due to one having snake bite and one having "mushy" hooves, I added some of the $24 seminole alfalfa hay to their diet. The manure is softer and lots of it. And they are drinking a lot of water. I've also gotten the T&A mixed hay, 23$, and fed them that since neither of mine need to gain weight.

                          my vet at Edisto Equine fed my friend's horse alfalfa "tea" after the horse had colic surgery. Then we continued that after the horse came home a few weeks later. Vet told her to continue to feed some alfalfa to the horse as it does have a laxative effect.

                          My vet did tell when when Cloudy colicked from impaction of coastal bermuda that I should feed him timothy hay if I want to decrease his chances of colicking again. $25 a bale here. No one grows timothy down here because it has to be replanted every 2 yrs. Can't grow alfalfa due to blister beetles. Coastal is cheap and easy to grow. But even though Cloudy has always dunked his hay, gets psyllium, etc, the coastal is too fine.

                          Good luck with the horse.


                          • Original Poster

                            I board at a wonderful place. The barn owner buys alfalfa hay especially for Lexy and one other senior horse that lives there. So, in addition to the cubes, she is also getting fed a flake of alfalfa at each meal. This always makes me laugh, and while it doesn't have to do directly with the colic thing, I think I'll tell the story.

                            When Lexy is stalled, she gets lots of hay because she pick through it and pulls out all of what is to her the "best" stuff. Then she leaves the rest. My barn owner doesn't complain about that at all. She just pulls out all of that unwanted hay and gives it to one of her horses, one of the "I'll eat anything" types of girls, the next morning. When she is fed hay in pasture, of course, the hay is there for the entire group to eat. I have never boarded in a place with someone who will take as good individual care of the horses in her charge as this. Lexy gets Prascend because she is in the very early stages of Cushings. The barn owner stands there and feeds her a little bit of grain with the pill, to make sure that she is getting her medication. Most places that I have boarded at would just throw it in the feed dish, to be eaten or not, as the horse sees fit.

                            I'm sure that there are other barn owners who do the same kinds of things, but I have never run into anyone as concerned as this one, and I'm always very grateful, because old horses can be much harder to manage than younger ones and it is such a weight off of my mind to know that Lexy is getting such a high level of care.
                            If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                            Desmond Tutu


                            • #15
                              Apple juice, if your horse is an apple lover. Dump some of the water and it flavors it and they'll drink more. I've also been know to dump a couple of bottles of apple juice into a bucket and offer it straight to get a horse drinking --- he had a lot pf impaction colics, too --- and he'd snarf the apple juice and it did help him to drink more.


                              • Original Poster

                                Great minds, Donkaloosa! I just finished emailing my barn owner that I was coming down with "stuff" and that I was going to include some apple juice, because Lexy does love her apples.
                                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                Desmond Tutu


                                • #17
                                  When I was desperate to keep my Percheron mare drinking after a possible grass-overload situation, I mushed up older bananas with Kosher Salt mixed in. Down it went and the drinking commenced.
                                  <>< 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.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Bananas! Who would have thought? I just got back from the barn. There were three very oily piles of manure in Lexy's little paddock, and the barn owner said that she had drunk a bucket and a half of water this morning. I was very glad to have to clean off "oily butt." So, it looks like the crisis is over. Phew! I'm going to print out this thread, and keep it handy.
                                    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                    Desmond Tutu


                                    • #19
                                      I am glad she passed the manure! It is always a good idea to offer just plain water in addition to the " flavored" water ideas that are on here. It might have been said already and I missed it.


                                      • #20
                                        I used to have a horse that was very prone to impactions. We started him on psyllium cleanses for one week each month (you can use Sand Clear - we got some generic version of that) and he stopped having problems.