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7 month old colt colic

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  • 7 month old colt colic

    This morning I turned on the barn lights to feed my horses and everything was fine. My colt greeted me and was waiting for his grain He appeared to have been sleeping as usual and was awakened by the lights. When I came back from putting out some hay, I could see that he was cast in his stall. It was very odd, he generally will not lay down at feed time or roll or anything. I was able to get him up by rolling him over and within a minute of getting up he went down again. I got him up before he got to the ground but about 30 seconds later, he tried to go down again in the corner of the stall. Other symptoms: not eating, swishing tail, pawing, a little pissed off at times. I immediately haltered and walked him and for at least fifteen minutes he wanted to keep going down. He did have a bowel movement that was a little soft, just after our first lap or two which was good and had audible digestive noises. I wasn't able to get a temp. because I was waiting for a friend to help walk him while I hitched up the trailer. After another 30 minutes or so, he didn't want to go down any longer but I decided to take him to the hospital anyways. Loaded, trailered and unloaded like a pro!

    When we arrived all his vitals were normal (a little stressed from the trailering). When given the opportunity, he still wanted to get down and roll-but not as adamantly. He was given a sedative/pain reliever and we had an ultrasound done. The vets couldn't find compaction or intestinal irregularities, etc. He peed while I was there and I was later notified that he has had two other bowel movements. After about 8 hours he is doing fine. I am guessing he was just gassy, but haven't been given a firm reason for the colic yet. Generally after his grain he will drink water, and the night prior to the colic I don't recall him drinking anything. He was also fed about 2.5 hours later than usual, and didn't have any hay left. He didn't seem overly anxious though.

    I will update his status and diagnosis when I hear more, but I am concerned about this happening again. I feel like his diet is very regular and simple, he has access to nice clean water, and is a good eater. He gets enough grass hay to keep him from running out while in his stall (ends up being 2-3 lbs over what is recommended for his size). He gets the daily recommendation of Purina Strategy and horse guard supplement (grain split up into two feedings, but used to be three about a month back). He is fed for moderate growth and has a little turnout each day in addition to his stall/paddock which is 16'x45'. I feel like I set him up for success, but what else can I do to keep this from happening?

    Last edited by tallthickblonde; Nov. 27, 2009, 07:17 PM. Reason: stall size wasn't right

  • #2
    "A little turnout" is not setting a 7 month old up for success, IMO. A youngster this age needs room to run and play for at least 12 hours a day.

    I'm surprised the clinic didn't scope him for ulcers. Many babies have them, especially those that are confined.


    • #3
      I had a weanling "colic" twice in a week several years ago and the vet had me treat him for ulcers. That seemed to fix him up.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks, I will ask about ulcers. Also, blood was drawn and I am awaiting the results.


        • #5
          My ulcery yearling had colic once, too. Can somebody explain why ulcers/colic go hand in hand sometimes, even with the best and most careful care I can figure out. Vet said it was change in weather - from fall like conditions to solid rain - that aften triggers it - HOW?
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


          • #6
            Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
            My ulcery yearling had colic once, too. Can somebody explain why ulcers/colic go hand in hand sometimes, even with the best and most careful care I can figure out. Vet said it was change in weather - from fall like conditions to solid rain - that aften triggers it - HOW?
            I have heard two theories on this "explaination', one is the horse doesn't drink enough and develops an impaction after getting a little dehydrated.
            When they get gassey because of weather I think it is because of barometric pressure. When a storm comes in the barometer drops. I always think of it as being on an airplane and having to pop your ears, a pressure change. So the theory that a lot of people, including my vet is that when the pressure drops the horse develops gas.
            I don't know, it is as good a theory as any, although it is not scientifically proved.
            "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."



            • Original Poster

              Vet says the blood work came back normal. I asked about ulcers and the vet said that it is possible, but not likely because the protein levels were not indicative of ulcers and he would have been more painful than he was. They will give him some feed tonight and keep an eye on him to make sure there aren't any more issues. So apparently it was gas colic. I'll bring him home tomorrow unless something comes up.
              Last edited by tallthickblonde; Nov. 28, 2009, 10:41 AM.


              • #8
                I agree with the poster who said MORE TURNOUT. At that age, their bones are still developing, they need to be out moving, they need the mental stimulus.

                I do say kudos to you for getting the baby proper care. Last barn I was at, the barn management drug their feet on getting veterinarian care to a colicky baby (went on for HOURS before baby saw a veterinarian) and that baby had to be euthanized.

                When my mare went in for colic surgery at age 3.5...the resident vet told me that if someone could figure out WHY they colic, they'd be a rich man/woman.

                I can tell you from experience that gas colic can be just as serious as an impaction. My mare's intestine flipped due to gas and she had to have surgery...no impaction, just a bloated intestine that flipped over.


                • #9
                  I am assuming the OP lives in Washington the state.
                  For those not familiar with Western Washington, it has rained non-stop for over a month. Not drizzle, not just plain rain but continuous, non stop torrential downpours. The ground is saturated to the point that there is standing water on top of mud.She says the foal is in a stall/paddock which measures 16' by 45' and gets more turn out, when possible. Under the circumstances that is not too bad. Whenever the weather changes around here, my vet tells me there are a lot of colics. She says that frequently when the weather changes, horses drink less and recommends feeding mashes, like soaked beet pulp, monitoring the water intake and adding salt to the food if the horse isn't drinking enough. Wetting the hay down is also helpful.
                  To the OP: good luck and good for you for hauling him to the clinic right away. I hope it wasn't to hard on the wallet !
                  Edited to add: has he been on an appropriate deworming schedule ?


                  • Original Poster

                    Yes, we are experiencing some very muddy conditions, but we went from 6" of snow/slush which then froze for tree days, to heavy rains for two days. Our soil is quite clay based, so it gets very slick. Up until October the colt was out with another filly and my mare for 12 hours (When weather was good-24 hours) every day until the footing became horrible. I completely agree about the turnout issue, but at this time there isn't much I can do over what he already gets. I live 4 miles from the WSU vet teaching hospital so it would be rediculous not to take advantage of their service. It was a great experience and I have no regrets about taking him. He has been on a routine worming/vaccination schedule since I got him in September.


                    • #11
                      I'd like to add a shout out for Dr Claude Ragle and Dr Katz who took care of my mare (13 years ago when she was a suckling!) at WSU. She had gutteral pouch surgery and they were ever ready to accept my phone calls and give updates on her. I feel very blessed to have had their expertise which was ot available a that time here.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                      • #12
                        Turn him OUT! That is so very little movement for a baby! Ditto the treating for ulcers too....


                        • #13
                          It is a huge change in routine to go from being on turnout for 12 hours/day, before October, to a small amount of turnout/day now. Also, when he was turned out, he was used to having a couple of buddies. Since horses are herd animals, it may be stressing to him to be away from his companions. Is there any place that he could have some out time with the other yearling?

                          As far as the colic goes, I own a mare who will colic with extreme changes in weather, too. She stops drinking, gets dehydrated and gets an impaction.

                          This Fall, I changed my mare over to wet beet pulp, oats, a ration balancer (I am using the Triple Crown 30%), a teaspoon of salt 2xday and free choice hay. So far, so good. (Loudly knocking on wood.)

                          For a youngster, I would gradually switch over to wet beet pulp, plus Grow n Win or equivalent for your balancer.

                          Remember to check with the Vet Hospital to see if they agree with that plan. Also, the beet pulp needs to soak for 8 hours, if you use cold water, and 2 hours, if you use warm/hot water.

                          Good luck! I hope that you find a solution that works for him. Having to deal with a horse that colics freqently, has given me ulcers!!
                          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                          • Original Poster

                            He still lives side by side with his buddies and at night he and the filly share their two stalls/runs-there is a panel gate in between the stalls that is left open. I used a measuring wheel to measure the run and it is actually 92' long.

                            Auburn- are you suggesting the beet pulp + grow n win would replace the strategy and horse guard completely? The vets thought his diet was fine, do you have more insight on this?

                            Thanks for the help, I will be working on the turnout issue.


                            • #15
                              The only insight that I have is from personal experience. After my mare coliced last winter, then got pneumonia and almost died, I became paranoid about her diet.

                              The Vets at Rood and Riddle in KY could only get her to eat soaked alfalfa cubes with some TC Senior pellets. When she coliced again in April (fortunately it was resolved without a trip to R&R), my trainer sent her nutritionist from Progressive Feed to see if he could devise a program. He said, "I can get her on a program that will help her gut motitility and you should not have any more colic episodes". The Progressive feeding program was very expensive. It did not work. Tess coliced again in August. She ended up back down at R&R for two days. When I called the nutritionist, he said, "No feeding program will work if the horse isn't drinking enough water". Duh! Of course, this was not what he had lead me to believe when he was giving me the hard sell on his program.

                              Now, by giving Tess the soaked beet pulp, I am making certain that she is getting a high fiber diet, plus more water into her gut. The TC 30% ration balancer is to provide the Vit. and Min. that she is not getting with beet pulp and oats. Since I moved her from the barn where she coliced this summer, she is getting free choice hay and at least 8 hours/day of turnout.

                              The reason that I suggested Grow n Win is because it is formulated for youngsters. There are many people in Ohio who give it as the ration balancer for their older horses, too.

                              Who knows if this feeding program is the solution? I just know that we have made it through several extreme weather changes, without a colic. Having spent over $14,000 this year on colic and pneumonia, I am willing to try anything! (My insurance did pay $5,000, but now colic and pneumonia are excluded.)

                              My suggestion for your colt was just that, a suggestion. You need to do some research to try to prevent it from happening again. After the year that my mare has had, I have been working on finding the best feeding program for her. I am praying that it continues to do the job.

                              Did this answer your questions?
                              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                              • #16
                                Because I'm so freaked out about colic, every animal on our farm that gets grain (never pellets, always a texturized sweet feed) gets beet pulp that has been well soaked.

                                I have a 6 month old that has gotten beet pulp in his Progressive feed since day one.

                                He's also out 9-10 hours every day.
                                Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist