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Gas Colic (kinda long- sorry)

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  • Gas Colic (kinda long- sorry)

    Any thoughts on what will cause this? I can't get any real answers from the local vet's I've talked to about it.

    I've got a horse that will get gas pre-colic episodes. I say pre-colic because it's only gone to actual colic a couple of times. Most of the time I catch it when he gets uncomfortable. Symptoms are:

    Curling upper lip
    Pawing
    increased respiration
    increased heart rate
    sweating
    rolling and/or literally throwing himself on the ground and rolling.

    Now, he doesn't usually get all of the above. I've learned to be aware and keep a lookout for the lip curl. If I see that and the beginning of increased respiration I start him on some trotting on the lunge line at one of the vet's suggestion (trotting to expell the gas). It's never stopped him and I then go to ~10 cc Banamine PO and lunge for 20-40 minutes with a fair amount of trotting. No grain for the next meal but ad lib hay.

    Sometimes I can say that it might be a significant weather change like today when the morning temps were 54 degrees F (at 7 AM) and a front is moving thru with really strong winds (gusts to the mid to upper 40's) and a constant temperature drop. It's now 5:45 PM and the temperature is down to 40 and it's still really strong wind. I also know lush green grass will do it so I have to be really careful about turnout, esp in the spring.

    But most of the time there doesn't seem to be any correlation. He's had 8 episodes since mid-May of 2008 and I could probably attribute that one to the new grass and possibly the episodes in June and July. But we had a really wet summer and fall last yr and after the July episode, he was fine until Dec. He came off grass in mid Nov. He had 2 episodes in Dec. One in Jan, Feb and just today.

    His diet is ~6 cups beet pulp (soaked), 2 cups Nutrena Kwik pellets (complete feed - roughage), ad lib soaked grass hay (his buddy has RAO so all hay is soaked), 1 tbs ginger powder, 1 oz Fastrack Probiotic, 1 oz salt, 1 oz Vit E and Selenium, and daily wormer. All except the wormer are twice/day and some carrots and Kwik pellets for a late night snack.

    He's 17 yrs old ottb, is on 24/7 turnout unless the weather is really severe ( pouring rain and blizzard-like snow conditions) but is not ridden. He has access to shelter (a stall with paddock) all the time. During the day he can 'play' with his buddy but at night each horse has his own stall and paddock so each has complete rest.

    I'm able to catch it as often as I do because I'm not only in the barn about 8 times a day but I also have an intercom unit and he's very good at waking me up at 3 AM to tell me he's got problems.

    Sorry this was so long but I've tried to give you as complete information as possible.
    Sue

    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

  • #2
    Just trying to get a little more info, are you positive it's gas? Not trying to be a smartypants, just wondering if it could be something else, like an enterolith. Is he passing a lot of gas after these episodes and then relaxing? Have you heard him pass the gas at the end of the episodes?

    Comment


    • #3
      Hay

      I had a retired horse who would colic about twice a week. I thought it was a mild gas colic. I had the vet out several times for a few of the episodes as some were throwing himself down on the ground colic while others were much milder. The milder ones I cured by simply grooming him?!?!

      One thing I noticed was if I was slightly/moderately late at meal time, temp changes and I can't remember anything else. Well, someone suggested ulcers. I said how could that be, this horse is just turned out but yes that was it.

      We did a test. I put him on Pro CMC for a month and no colics. We never did the ulcerguard thing as the Pro CMC works for him. Our vet is aware of the situation.

      Just throwing this out there that this might be the problem. Tons of threads about ulcers on this forum.
      Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
      One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
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      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by msj View Post
        Any thoughts on what will cause this? I can't get any real answers from the local vet's I've talked to about it.

        I've got a horse that will get gas pre-colic episodes. I say pre-colic because it's only gone to actual colic a couple of times. Most of the time I catch it when he gets uncomfortable. Symptoms are:

        Curling upper lip
        Pawing
        increased respiration
        increased heart rate
        sweating
        rolling and/or literally throwing himself on the ground and rolling.

        Now, he doesn't usually get all of the above. I've learned to be aware and keep a lookout for the lip curl. If I see that and the beginning of increased respiration I start him on some trotting on the lunge line at one of the vet's suggestion (trotting to expell the gas). It's never stopped him and I then go to ~10 cc Banamine PO and lunge for 20-40 minutes with a fair amount of trotting. No grain for the next meal but ad lib hay.

        Sometimes I can say that it might be a significant weather change like today when the morning temps were 54 degrees F (at 7 AM) and a front is moving thru with really strong winds (gusts to the mid to upper 40's) and a constant temperature drop. It's now 5:45 PM and the temperature is down to 40 and it's still really strong wind. I also know lush green grass will do it so I have to be really careful about turnout, esp in the spring.

        But most of the time there doesn't seem to be any correlation. He's had 8 episodes since mid-May of 2008 and I could probably attribute that one to the new grass and possibly the episodes in June and July. But we had a really wet summer and fall last yr and after the July episode, he was fine until Dec. He came off grass in mid Nov. He had 2 episodes in Dec. One in Jan, Feb and just today.

        His diet is ~6 cups beet pulp (soaked), 2 cups Nutrena Kwik pellets (complete feed - roughage), ad lib soaked grass hay (his buddy has RAO so all hay is soaked), 1 tbs ginger powder, 1 oz Fastrack Probiotic, 1 oz salt, 1 oz Vit E and Selenium, and daily wormer. All except the wormer are twice/day and some carrots and Kwik pellets for a late night snack.

        He's 17 yrs old ottb, is on 24/7 turnout unless the weather is really severe ( pouring rain and blizzard-like snow conditions) but is not ridden. He has access to shelter (a stall with paddock) all the time. During the day he can 'play' with his buddy but at night each horse has his own stall and paddock so each has complete rest.

        I'm able to catch it as often as I do because I'm not only in the barn about 8 times a day but I also have an intercom unit and he's very good at waking me up at 3 AM to tell me he's got problems.

        Sorry this was so long but I've tried to give you as complete information as possible.
        Wow, that is a LOT of episodes. What does your vet say?

        How is he without the daily dewormer?
        Jigga:
        Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

        Comment


        • #5
          I would also suspect ulcers.
          My easy-keeper, outside 24/7 guy has had similar symptoms. Usually weather-related.
          Five years ago we treated him for gas colics... 3 times in 3 months.
          Then we tested his manure and found ocult blood. That, along with being slightly anemic pointed to ulcers. Treating with Omeprazole worked for him.
          He was symptom-free for nearly 2 years, but had a mild 'attack' over Christmas when the temps skyrocketed. We put him back on the Omeprazole and he's been great..

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by dwblover View Post
            Just trying to get a little more info, are you positive it's gas? Not trying to be a smartypants, just wondering if it could be something else, like an enterolith. Is he passing a lot of gas after these episodes and then relaxing? Have you heard him pass the gas at the end of the episodes?
            Pretty sure it's gas. This morning as I was picking up a pile of manure in his turnout stall and he was right there, he passed a lot of gas. It actually sounded like someone letting air out a tire!
            Sue

            I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by pines4equines View Post
              I had a retired horse who would colic about twice a week. I thought it was a mild gas colic. I had the vet out several times for a few of the episodes as some were throwing himself down on the ground colic while others were much milder. The milder ones I cured by simply grooming him?!?!

              One thing I noticed was if I was slightly/moderately late at meal time, temp changes and I can't remember anything else. Well, someone suggested ulcers. I said how could that be, this horse is just turned out but yes that was it.

              We did a test. I put him on Pro CMC for a month and no colics. We never did the ulcerguard thing as the Pro CMC works for him. Our vet is aware of the situation.

              Just throwing this out there that this might be the problem. Tons of threads about ulcers on this forum.
              I've not ruled out ulcers as he did race and somehow actually won 4 races before the TRAINER sent him home saying he didn't like it there. Good trainer! Then he got a crash course of eventing from Beginner Novice to Training Level in 6 events one summer. Fortunately his trainer was NOT a backyard trainer but had qualified for the '96 Olympics on his 1/2 brother. I then bought him and he's had a VERY easy life for last 9 yrs. The first 5 he babysat a little old lady (me) and the last 4 he's probably been ridden about 5 times for a total of 2 hrs. None last yr at all. Just turnout and daily grooming-sometimes twice/day. Actually, if the footing is bad, like winter, he gets turned out in the indoor arena so he can have a nice roll and some good footing for a nice gallop or so.

              PS. I tend to be rather anal-retentive in caring for my horses.

              PSS. I've never had another horse that was colicy in the 48 yrs I've had horses.

              Uh, what is Pro CMC???? Where do you get it????
              Sue

              I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

              Comment


              • #8
                My mare had gas colic a couple years ago, which caused a torsion that required surgery. Thankfully, no resectioning needed as we caught it early. Anyhow, when I talked to the surgeon about what caused it, she said that any number of things and most likely, it was just something that my mare ate that upset her stomach (as she isn't prone to colic). The surgeon also explained that the large intestine of the horse makes two sort of horse-shoe shaped loops. These two loops are connected to each other, however they are not connected to the body cavity. They are literally just floating around the body. The surgeon went on to say that its actually surprising to her that more horses DON'T colic because there is nothing really there to keep the intestine from filling with gas and flipping over on it self all the time. She did say that some horses are prone to it while others are not. She also said that gas colic resulting in a torsion almost always requires surgery to correct.

                I don't know if the above helps clarify anything, but I found it to be interesting information. When my mare was first displaying signs, she would just lay down on her side and not move. She didn't thrash about. She just laid still. Respirations were normal. Heart rate was normal. And she pooped about 5 times. The surgeon clarified that pooping does not mean that the horse is in the clear -- that's an old wives tale. It simply means that the horse is passing manure from behind where-ever the blockage or twist is (as was the case with my own horse).

                Jingles for your horse!
                www.LatkaPhoto.com

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by saultgirl View Post
                  Wow, that is a LOT of episodes. What does your vet say?

                  How is he without the daily dewormer?
                  Vet has no suggestions-actually several vets have no suggestions.

                  He pulled the same crap when he was wormed every other month with either Ivermectin and Strongid P. Also Equimax generally twice/yr. The only reason I switched to daily wormer was hand surgery that I had made it very difficult to dose orally.

                  To be honest, I really think he's a drug addict - for Banamine...
                  Sue

                  I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Mallard View Post
                    I would also suspect ulcers.
                    My easy-keeper, outside 24/7 guy has had similar symptoms. Usually weather-related.
                    Five years ago we treated him for gas colics... 3 times in 3 months.
                    Then we tested his manure and found ocult blood. That, along with being slightly anemic pointed to ulcers. Treating with Omeprazole worked for him.
                    He was symptom-free for nearly 2 years, but had a mild 'attack' over Christmas when the temps skyrocketed. We put him back on the Omeprazole and he's been great..
                    He's due in a month for his spring 'kick the tire physical' and dental and blood work so that will see if there's any anemia. Vaccinations get started about then as well.

                    I did forget to add that he is on a papaya puree - Stomach Soother in hopes that helps. So far I can't see any improvement.
                    Sue

                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by horsepix76 View Post
                      My mare had gas colic a couple years ago, which caused a torsion that required surgery. Thankfully, no resectioning needed as we caught it early. Anyhow, when I talked to the surgeon about what caused it, she said that any number of things and most likely, it was just something that my mare ate that upset her stomach (as she isn't prone to colic). The surgeon also explained that the large intestine of the horse makes two sort of horse-shoe shaped loops. These two loops are connected to each other, however they are not connected to the body cavity. They are literally just floating around the body. The surgeon went on to say that its actually surprising to her that more horses DON'T colic because there is nothing really there to keep the intestine from filling with gas and flipping over on it self all the time. She did say that some horses are prone to it while others are not. She also said that gas colic resulting in a torsion almost always requires surgery to correct.

                      I don't know if the above helps clarify anything, but I found it to be interesting information. When my mare was first displaying signs, she would just lay down on her side and not move. She didn't thrash about. She just laid still. Respirations were normal. Heart rate was normal. And she pooped about 5 times. The surgeon clarified that pooping does not mean that the horse is in the clear -- that's an old wives tale. It simply means that the horse is passing manure from behind where-ever the blockage or twist is (as was the case with my own horse).

                      Jingles for your horse!
                      Thanks for the info and the jingles.

                      I figure I'm having the vet do more of a workup - I generally tend to give them free range if there's a problem. After all, it's only money and I'd just as soon see the vet get it as Uncle Sam. Besides the way my IRA's been going downhill, there might not be much left for the horse so he'd better get it now!
                      Sue

                      I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Banamie Junky

                        I had a horse I swore was a banamine addict. He had similar symptoms as your guy, 10 ccs of banamine and he was fine. I was running low of banamine one night when he pulled the same act again, I called the vet and was told to give him what I had until she could get there. 3 CCs and he was fine in 30 mins........ummmmm that shouldn't have touched a colic (did I forget to mention he was a 17.3 guy). Put him on neigh lox (sp) and never had another problem on it, we went the gastro guard route for a while and have never had another pre/mild colic episode. He was never scoped but pretty sure ulcers were the problem.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          you've had the horse 9 years, but its only been in the last year he's had these recurring episodes?
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by buck22 View Post
                            you've had the horse 9 years, but its only been in the last year he's had these recurring episodes?

                            buck, he's had problems like this pretty much since I bought him but they have been on the increase the last couple of yrs. It probably started out as a couple to 4 times/yr and seemed to be able to be traced to lush grass or after a heavy rainful that got the grass lush again. One vet thought he needed more exercise since I was no longer riding him. I tried lunging him a couple of times a day for 15 minute intervals as well as his 24/7 turnout and indoor runs, but didn't see a difference.

                            The MOST frustrating episode was one where I had been in the barn for their ~7:30 PM water and hay check, pick stalls and give them a couple of cut up carrots. I got back in the house by 7:50 and in 5 minutes I heard a lot of pawing over the intercom. I went back out at 8 PM had started walking/trotting on the lunge line had given him his Banamine.

                            I'm just glad my vet will give me a 'script for Banamine so I can get it thru the vet catalogs so it's not that expensive.
                            Sue

                            I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by jsf View Post
                              I had a horse I swore was a banamine addict. He had similar symptoms as your guy, 10 ccs of banamine and he was fine. I was running low of banamine one night when he pulled the same act again, I called the vet and was told to give him what I had until she could get there. 3 CCs and he was fine in 30 mins........ummmmm that shouldn't have touched a colic (did I forget to mention he was a 17.3 guy). Put him on neigh lox (sp) and never had another problem on it, we went the gastro guard route for a while and have never had another pre/mild colic episode. He was never scoped but pretty sure ulcers were the problem.
                              Well, I'm glad to hear about another Banamine junky! I was hoping the papaya puree (Stomach Soother) would help but I don't think it's doing much good. Only one vet around here, except for Cornell, can scope them and that clinic is over an hr away and he's rediculously expensive. It would be cheaper to just do the GastroGard for a month. I'm sure willing to give Neigh-Lox a try as well. Thanks for the insight.

                              PS. I started a new bottle of Banamine in Dec and and am 1/2 way through it. 50 cc left.
                              Sue

                              I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I just spoke with a University vet today about my mare and preventing gas colics, how funny.

                                Basically her general points were:

                                - Do any and all diet changes gradually (duh )
                                - Make sure the horse stays well hydrated, if it's an issue, flavor a bucket of water or add electrolytes.
                                - Be religious about your deworming program.
                                - If the horse is a nervous-nelly type, an antacid may help keep things happy in the gut.

                                Hope that helps at least a little bit! Colic really sucks sometimes, because occasionally, it just happens with seemingly no trigger or cause at all.
                                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  We have struggled with gas colic for a number of years. My horse improved dramatically after we had him scoped (small ulcers) and we treated him with a course of Gastrogard and doxy last year. I still watch him closely when new grass comes in and sometimes muzzle him (oh that's a treat), he's on a LS feed and he gets Tractgard and Equishure (which has worked very well on him and another "gassy" horse in the barn) in his supplements, plus Timothy hay and some chopped forage.

                                  A couple of times prior to the treatment for ulcers, when he got that "look", with his nostrils elongated and his ears somewhat back (his only signs), we put him on the trailer and took him for a ride when lunging didn't produce enough tooting.. that worked and we didn't use banamine either time. It is great that where I board we have at least one stock trailer hitched up at any given time.

                                  I hope that you can find the answer for your horse, it's frustrating and sometimes it takes some trial and error on your part. But when you find what's right for your pony,

                                  Best of luck..

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    my horse is quite gassy too, and was gassier sometimes rather than others. Luckily, since I tested my hay, I was able to quickly figure out that one of the hays in my barn makes him gassier than the rest (because i was analyzing the data and looking for this kinda thing ). Its the one with the highest WSC, significantly higher than the rest. Infact, the WSC in this particular hay is actually double the ESC, apparently not common but happens... Meaning my hay 'technically' could be considered low NSC (starch + ESC) but the WSC is off the chart.

                                    Long story short, the more of this he is fed, the gassier he becomes.

                                    He had his first colic with me in august last year. I had just gotten in my hay for the year, including this high WSC tim mix, and, after 6 weeks of daily acclimating my horses to a second pasture with white clover growing, I turned them loose.

                                    Now, the acclimation to the new paddock had been going well, increasing by 15 min per day over the course of 6wks. But I had also just started feeding the tim mix too... and I did start slowly with that too. I originally had thought it was the clover that caused the mild but scary gas colic, but realized I had put out a full serving of tim mix that day, and in hindsight, thats what probably did it.

                                    My suggestion, test your hay. Its not expensive or hard, and only mildly inconvenient.

                                    A wise woman once told me that WSC can be nearly half fructan, so, high WSC could mean high in Fructan. Fructan ferments and gives off gas, among other things.

                                    Though I don't know the fructan content of my WSC of my tim-mix, I DO know that he responds as being gassy to this particular hay. I've never had a horse so sensitive like this, but now I do, and I'm glad I know what little I do about fructan.

                                    Way I see it, its like me eating dried apricots, or my boyfriend eating broccoli, certain foods just cause that gassiness, and I do gas colic myself almost everytime I eat certain foods (reaches for the gasX ) My horse just gets gassy on possibly excess fructan, so I try to keep an eye on it. hope thats helpful
                                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Gas Colic

                                      I second the hay checking. I changed hay and my OTTB mare hasn't had an episode since.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Hay

                                        Pro CMC is like Rolaids for horses. Check with your vet first because you are feeding a lot of different things. I wouldn't want to mix things and cause a reaction.

                                        My guy had a strenuous life prior to coming to our place and I was hesitant to believe ulcers...I would say "Ulcers, why would this horse have ulcers? He lives the life of ease." But yes he does and again, Pro CMC works well for us. I'll take him off it occasionally and then put him back on if I see he looks like he needs it. He's been off it all winter because it does freeze in our barn. So far so good.

                                        I have stomach problems myself (pre-ulcer) and I'm afraid it does make me a bit gassy so I'm inclined to believe it with your guy.

                                        Also, I wonder if the wormer is upsetting his stomach a wee bit? CAn you also take him off that for one month as well? Just speaking from someone who personally has a stomach problem and has to watch what they're eating, reading all the below gives ME a stomach ache.

                                        Copied and pasted from OP: "6 cups beet pulp (soaked), 2 cups Nutrena Kwik pellets (complete feed - roughage), ad lib soaked grass hay (his buddy has RAO so all hay is soaked), 1 tbs ginger powder, 1 oz Fastrack Probiotic, 1 oz salt, 1 oz Vit E and Selenium, and daily wormer. All except the wormer are twice/day and some carrots and Kwik pellets for a late night snack."
                                        Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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