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What could this be? Colic?/horse that lays down while in the midst of eating....

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  • What could this be? Colic?/horse that lays down while in the midst of eating....

    I have a 21yo TB geld. He has colicked before due to gas- such as hay not being cured properly. I recently got him back in May from a friend who leased him in GA. He has not colicked in a long time and recently he has been doing this strange thing.... It happened last week when it was ridiculously hot. It is not every day and it is only at evening feed time. Last week he took 8 bites of dinner, walks away, lays down, gets back up, gets a stiffy (seriously), and then finishes dinner and is fine. He did this twice in a row. He lives outside all the time and they have been replacing the roof on the barn and I thought it was the noise and banging that bothered him. So, I decided to feed him a little later so that he wouldnt be bothered by the noise. He has been normal...So today (5 days later) I feed him, he eats, finishes his grain and then goes to lay down. He gets up and lays down again, and then again. I go and get the banamine and he is fine after about 30 mins. His pulse was close to 50, and his resp was elevated.

    He eats mostly beetpulp soaked with plenty of water like soup, gets electrolytes, MSM, and good timothy hay. I previously (approx 3-4 yrs ago) thought he had ulcers because he had gotten really skinny. I gave him some ulcer guard to see if it made a difference for a couple days. There was no change, so I stopped. He eventually gained the weight back. He also has melanomas which have slightly changed in the past year and gotten bigger- there is no telling what his insides look like. Someone had suggested that maybe he has some fatty lipomas? Any ideas? I'm calling the vet tomorrow.

  • #2
    Sounds like he may have eaten too fast and choked a bit.


    • #3
      I agree with FHC...sounds like choke to me. His teeth might need attention, especially if you are feeding him grain. Some horses just bolt their feed. What you describe; the stiffening and laying down is typical of horses that choke.


      • #4
        This story is a zebra, not common, but we had a school horse that one day started doing that, after eating laying down a little bit and not rolling, just not seeming to feel good.
        We could not find anything wrong, eventually, after a couple of months he went to the university hospital, where they could not find anything, he seemed to colic badly, they euthanized him and he had stomach cancer.

        Since then, every time a horse does that, I worry seriously, but have never encounter another horse that didn't eventually quit doing that, no worse for the wear.

        I don't know that with choke alone a horse would be laying down, they just stand stiff and uncomfortable, neck extended and backing a few steps.

        Maybe your horse will be ok on it's own, or show you more, so you can do something to help him.


        • #5
          Random thought, but ulcers? Maybe he is having stomach pain while eating so he goes and lays down. Dropping their penis is also a sign of stomach pain to relieve pressure.

          I know random...
          I love cats, I love every single cat....
          So anyway I am a cat lover
          And I love to run.


          • #6
            Actually ulcers was my first thought also. I have actually seen that several times. They may or may not lie down but they take a few bites and walk away then look quiet for a while. Unless you did the treatment dose of ulcerguard as opposed to the way its labeled for prevention it won't tell you if ulcers are your problem or not.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • #7
              That's how Gringo displayed his colic a few months back. Ate some grain (like he normally does) and when I turned him out to eat his hay, he ate a couple bites then laid down. Stood up, and then laid down again. Definitely was not normal behavior for him.

              Vet said it was like eating bad Chinese. I know that feeling (as much as I love Chinese food, it tends to aggravate my stomach).

              Anyways, I'd keep a close eye on him at feeding and if it happens again, call the vet. Perhaps video tape it, if you have that available to you, so the vet can see exactly what's going on.

              Good luck!
              Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
              See G2's blog


              • #8
                You said he is eating "mostly" beet pulp. Is there anything else in there that could be upsetting his stomach? My horse did that several times before I figured out that the hay stretcher which he dearly loves was upsetting his stomach.
                Took away the hay stretcher, no more laying down.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                  I don't know that with choke alone a horse would be laying down, they just stand stiff and uncomfortable, neck extended and backing a few steps.

                  Actually it is quite common for a horse to lay down and look like they are colicy, while in choke. Many cough, stretch out their necks, etc., but some do not, and don't cough at all. I always suspect choke if in the middle of a meal.

                  Ulcers too would be a possibility. I would begin by adding a packet of bakers yeast to the grain once a day for 5 days. That often helps. My older horse began to be a bit colicy each day, and I did the yeast for 5 days, and not more problem for years. Others needed a packed twice a week for life, and that kept them processing their food better.

                  If ulcers are suspected, make sure you are not dealing with a wormy horse. They can cause stomach irritation. Have a fecal done.


                  • Original Poster

                    Yeah- he gets soupy beep pulp (1.5 cups dried pellets soaked with plenty of water) with about half a scoop of horsemans edge 10% fat textured feed. The only difference is at night he gets electrolytes and MSM. Again- he only does this at evening feed. Last night when he coliced again he had gut sounds both sides, pooped, peed and good capillary refill, etc.

                    Called vet today. She said hard to say and to try switching the electro and MSM to the AM feed. And to call her tonight after I feed him.
                    GO TARHEELS!


                    • #11
                      Let us know what the vet says. Good luck.
                      “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                      ? Rumi


                      • #12
                        I have had horses choke on beet pulp, even if soaked. Some eat it differently, often grabbing mouthfuls instead of nibbling with their lips.


                        • #13
                          That's the way one of my colics. Gets up, gets down, but, thankfully he won't eat (this is a horse that will eat dirt if it's in his feed bowl). Beet pulp can ferment really quickly in hot weather. Is it your beet pulp?


                          • #14
                            We had an ulcer horse do that. He'd be eating at the round bale in the field and lie down every few minutes. Once-a-day dose of omeprazole powder has done wonders for him. But if his stomach has hurt for a while, Ulcerguard is going to take more than a few days to kick in.
                            "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


                            • #15
                              Sounds like a classic ulcer case.....


                              • #16
                                My horse did the same thing twice in one month. I called the vet thinking it was colic, but it was choke. Vet said a low choke - there was nothing coming out of nose or mouth. Gave Banamine both times, but it seemed to have past before it was given. Both were at dinner, and they couldn't get the BP shreds - were using BP Pellets (soaked correctly).


                                • #17
                                  That is exactly what my TB mare does when she chokes while eating. She drops right down, on her side with her head and neck stretched out. Apparently that works for mild/small chokes because she then gets up and goes back to eating. She choked a lot when I first got her, just about every time she ate. She had been starving and was just eating too fast. Sloppy wet doesn't work cause she HATES her food wet. She is much better now; seldom chokes, but when she does now I usually have to get the vet to clear it.
                                  "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


                                  • #18
                                    It takes more than a couple days to know whether Ulcergard is having an effect. Due to the way omprazole works on the acid pump in the stomach, it takes 2-3 days for maximum acid suppression and then another week or two for the ulcerated mucosa to heal.

                                    In this case, I first thought ulcer, but choke can become recurrent also because the initial blockage irritates the mucosa, sometimes making it raw, swelling occurs, causing pain and possibly recurrent obstruction with each meal. Later, this area can be come scarred and permanently narrowed (a stricture) leading to high risk of repeated choke.

                                    Another very rare situation - we had a horse here with these same vague symptoms that would wax and wane, started losing weight, treated for ulcers with no change, after 3-4 months got more acutely colicy, went to surgery and ended up having malignant colon carcinoma that had spread throughout the abdomen. This is different from the benign lipoma that can obstruct or wrap around the intestine and is fairly common in older horses.


                                    • #19
                                      Omeprazole can work pretty quickly actually. My friend has a horse that seemed like he had ulcers. He does not, but the vets are saying possibly a "pre-ulcer" acid condition. If he gets Omeprazole the day before, he is a different horse at shows, etc.

                                      It works pretty fast in humans too. It may take longer for maximum effect, but you probably will see a positive effect rapidly.

                                      With a foal that was given Banamine, and was having lots tummy pain from the irritation, Omeprazole began to work within a day or so.


                                      • #20
                                        Let us know what happens after the feeding change. Sounds like ulcers to me too, but it also could be stones?
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