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Preparing a horse for major surgery?

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  • Preparing a horse for major surgery?

    My horse is going to have what will basically be planned colic surgery, hopefully in early January (waiting for a call back from the hospital on scheduling).

    Her issue is GI tract not functioning correctly per extremely severe persistent ulcers.

    As I probably have a couple of weeks before the surgery I'd like to do everything I can to make her as strong as possible for the surgery.

    Per my regular vet I'm starting her on smartdigest ultra and something with vitamin C, the horse is already on a maintenance dose of MSM but I'm thinking of upping it. I'm looking at smartprotect as it seems like a good product.

    I'd really appreciate any suggestions folks might have.

    Member of the *OMG I loff my mare!* clique.

  • #2
    Basic things- make sure all her teeth, worming, vaccinations are up to date. Have her in good condition as she may lose weight after the surgery (but check with the vet first- maybe being too fat will be detrimental?)

    Good luck!


    • #3
      No knowledge of surgery prep ~ thank goodness -but GOOD LUCK !
      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


      • #4
        Too fat would definitely be bad-makes the surgery harder.

        I'd contact the surgeon and ask if there is anything specific he would like you to do, otherwise make sure she is in good physical shape-just like with other things, being in good shape makes recovery easier. Maybe try and get her used to different toys or boredom busters beforehand so that when she is on her rest phase post surgery she has something to do.
        Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
        Sam: A job? Does it pay?
        Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
        Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


        • Original Poster

          The horse is UTD on all shots, worming, and teeth, as she has been her whole life. She's in good weight and in decent shape (don't want to stress her on days she isn't feeling good).

          I am in communication with the regional university vet hospital and two regular vet practices. I'm looking here more for ideas of supportive measures as I am concerned she is not getting all of the nourishment from her food due to her GI tract being compromised. I'm also looking for any other tips.

          Thanks you for the suggestion about stall toys, I'll try to buy some in advance so she can learn how to use them before she is in recovery.
          Member of the *OMG I loff my mare!* clique.


          • #6
            Check her current stall out and see that it will meet her longer term needs. If it doesn't is there a stall in the barn she can temporarily use that's better?
            -Views: entertaining enough, or does she get too excited with the view, does she need to see others?
            -Entertainment: Does she do better near activity or far from activity
            -Temps -is it too cold/drafty, or too closed in/hot
            -Light: Is there enough light for you to easily inspect or medicate her in her stall.
            Does she need a stall guard or a full closed stall (one barn completely covered the stall grid with a blanket because the horse was a bit crazy the first few days).
            Functionality: Is her current stall close enough to water source, medicine source for you to walk to.
            -Size: does she need a bigger stall, does she need to walk, turn around or is her current size perfect.
            -Bucket hooks: will she need additional buckets for water or special feed?
            -Bedding: does her current stall lend itself to easy cleaning while she is in it?
            If she is going to be stalled for a while and her current stall is not the best fit, then move her now to an available better stall now (if that's an option) now so she can get used to it.

            Do you have a stall buddy who can "do the time" with her while she is on stall rest. If not, is there one you can borrow?
            If you have to be routinely swabing a scar, might as well get her used to having you rub and fuss around that site, get used to her temp being taken.
            Those are the things that came to mind for me.
            Too bad you can't rent a hospital TV..