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Colic Surgery Bump

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  • Colic Surgery Bump

    My colt had to have colic surgery one week before his first birthday.

    It has been 3 months and health wise he is doing great.

    My question is...

    His belly seems to hang down a tad more then before I think. It may be I am just being paranoid.

    They did dissolveable stitches and it healed fantastic. Is this something that time and excercise with help "tighten up"

    I will post a couple recent pictures...

    I also have a picture of the incision right when he got home. Not sure if that would help.

    I just wonder because I wanted to take him to a few HB shows and not sure if you can really notice it.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    It will get better with time and a good conditioning program that tightens up those abdominal muscles.

    My 3 year old had colic surgery, and when the stitches were out and she was cleared by the vet, I ran her through a rehab program that involved a lot of walking over poles, backing up, and turns-on-the-haunches to really engage those muscles. She still had a small edema pocket type lump way back there near her udder for about a year and a half after, though.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      It is not as pronounced as Matador's--and he went to the Olympics!
      \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo


      • #4
        I think it will get better in time...once he's old enough to work, filling out his topline will help disguise it a bit.

        My mare had colic surgery in 2004....and she is a FIT mare, she still has a belly...I think alot of horses keep a belly after colic surgery. Just as my cat's belly has swung now for 10 years, ever since her kitten spay.

        Did they remove any intestine or was it a placement surgery?


        • Original Poster

          He had a nephrosplenic entrapment. They didn't take any intestine out. Only moved it back where it needed to be.

          Its weird because some days it looks fine and others I can see it!

          He is only 15 months so he doesn't really work that much. I walk him everyday and I am just teaching him to walk and trot a little on the lunge.

          He is out all day in pasture and in his stall and the arena at night, so he has plenty of opportunity to excercise!

          He has a hunter breeding show later in the summer so I just want to do everything I can to help him "tone" up before his big debut!

          What kind of excercises could I do with him?


          • #6
            My gelding had colic surgery in Nov 2008. He still has edema around the whole incision area (it's a little bigger then what I can see in your picture). My vet told me that it can take months for it to go away and that exercise/movement will help. It doesn't bother him and I competed him (2'6" hunter classes) for the first time since his surgery.
            Happy Hour-TB
            Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg


            • #7
              Samotis, here's the exercises that I used, adjusted to be done in hand.

              1. Hand walk over poles. At first, space them evenly, and after several successful passes, make the spacing all different. Then they really must pay attention to what they are doing, which proved to be more interesting to my girl than just laps around the arena.
              2. Hand-walk backwards. When I was doing hand-walk laps, every quarter of the arena, I'd ask for a halt and then ask for 4 steps backwards.
              3. If you can teach him to turn on his haunches or side-pass in hand, those engage the abdominals, too. For a youngster, I did just one turn in each direction and a few steps of sidepass per day.
              4. Back lifts. Stand facing your horse's side, about in the middle of their barrel. Use the pads of your fingers on one hand to push up into the middle/midline of your horse's belly. He should react by lifting his back up and contracting his abdominals. Definitely "test the waters" on this one first to make sure that he tolerates having his belly touched, just for safety's sake.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Samotis View Post
                He had a nephrosplenic entrapment. They didn't take any intestine out. Only moved it back where it needed to be.

                Its weird because some days it looks fine and others I can see it!

                He is only 15 months so he doesn't really work that much. I walk him everyday and I am just teaching him to walk and trot a little on the lunge.

                He is out all day in pasture and in his stall and the arena at night, so he has plenty of opportunity to excercise!

                He has a hunter breeding show later in the summer so I just want to do everything I can to help him "tone" up before his big debut!

                What kind of excercises could I do with him?

                My TB gelding had the same surgery (for nephrosplenic entrapment) as an 8 yr old. His tummy looked swollen down there for quite awhile, initially from the edema (the vet had me apply a warm washcloth to it at first) but it did eventually go away. I would think as young as yours is it would take even less time.


                • #9
                  Are you sure the stitches have dissolved?

                  I don't know how long they are supposed to take but I do know our pooch still had bumps 6 months after her surgery and that gave her belly a swollen look until they were completely gone.

                  To get his belly nice and fit you'll have to work on his ring muscles. I'd talk to the vet (or wait of a knowledgeable COTH member) to see how much he should be doing this soon after surgery.
                  "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                  Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                  Need You Now Equine


                  • Original Poster

                    He was locked in a stall for 1 month with hand walking. Then he got a stall with a pen and handwalking. He has now been allowed to do everything he was doing before the surgery.

                    It was a 2 month period where he wasn't allowed to do much, but he has been back to his normal schedule since May.

                    I never asked how long the stitches take to go away. Not sure if that would cause the bump though.


                    • #11
                      FYI, most likely all of the sutures have not yet dissolved - the linea alba (the part of the internal abdominal body wall that is the strong "holding" layer) takes a long time to fully heal, so most of the time a long-lasting absorbable suture is used in that layer (think 6 months or more). However, I doubt that's what's causing his "bump"...I think it will probably improve with exercise and muscle development/strengthening.

                      He looks great, by the way!

                      Adams Equine Wellness


                      • #12
                        My dear, you think that is bad...you should see my 18 year old who had colic surgery mid Feb. I will email you a couple of pics. I actually contacted the place that did the surgery and sent some photos....they also said with exercise, it should improve....but chances are he will have the look the rest of his life. He too healed great, no hernia, etc.....he just looks like he is going to give birth. I have noticed an improvement since the photos were taken (they were taken at 60 days, we are now almost at 120 days) but a far cry away to where he was prior to surgery.

                        I also read that on occasion the linea alba will stretch or thin, resulting in a different bottom line after surgery.


                        • Original Poster

                          well I have a few months then before I worry!

                          As I said, he doesn't excercise much. I am going to start walking him over poles and hopefully that will help.

                          His incision was pretty small and it healed very well, but there were a few walks where all 4 feet were over my head, so not sure if he stretched it out during one of those outings!


                          • #14
                            I am so glad you posted this question. My guy seems to have my vets stumped with his bump, which looks like your colt (only worse). He also has a "ridge" that feels like soft muscle....hard to explain, about the width of my hand. Vet has been over him with a fine tooth comb, no rim (hernia) no pain, just weird looking.

                            I take it this is more common than I thought?


                            • Original Poster

                              he doesn't have any swelling and you can barely even see where the incision was. That is why it is so weird to me. It seemed to heal great, but when you look at him from afar, you can see that his belly is just not quite right!