Colic!


Freedom recovered
Today Freedom is back to his normal self and looking bright eyed, happy, and hungry. I didn’t get any pictures of him yesterday — I was too busy worrying about him.

Well, the Roller Coaster Temperatures caught up with Freedom. Yesterday morning when one of my barn-mates went to feed she found Freedom lying down (highly unusual) and not interested in breakfast (even more highly unusual). When I got to the barn, he was flat out on his side and looking pretty miserable. Even though he stood up, his head hung low, his eye was dull and he exuded discomfort.

He had no temperature but didn’t want me to even touch his stomach. Colic. Even though I had been doing everything I could think of to keep him healthy, the weather had gotten to him.

A quick call to the vet practice revealed that they would have a vet near me later in the morning. In the meantime, I gave him some Banamine paste — one of the essentials for any barn to have on hand.

Half an hour later, he was looking more comfortable. By the time the vet arrived, he’d even passed some manure and had gut sounds and a normal heart rate. The vet performed a rectal exam and thought she could feel the beginnings of a blockage. Of course, a horse’s GI tract is so long that often a vet can’t get far enough to make a definitive diagnoses.

I suppose we could have stopped there, but horses being horses, I figured the best course of action was to have him tubed and oiled. Better to be proactive at noon than have an emergency at midnight, especially given how cold it’s been at night. I was so grateful that he chose to have his

In all the time I’ve had Freedom, this was the first time that he required tubing. I have a new respect for the unpleasantness of having a tube inserted down your nose since I had an intestinal blockage a few years ago. I was tubed and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Freedom required sedation and a lip chain but finally submitted. Tubing helped relieve some of the gas in his stomach and after that, he got a good dose of mineral oil to lube things up.

Twenty minutes later, the sedation had mostly worn off and he started to want food. Normal behavior reasserting itself. Unfortunately, he was limited to a little bit of hay and, that night, a small portion of thoroughly soaked hay cubes.

Today, he seems back to normal: bright eyed, curious, and very, very hungry. One more day at half rations and he’ll be very glad to get his “normal” meal on Saturday.

I am so very glad that he showed his symptoms early which allowed us to get treatment for him right away. And so very glad that he responded so well to treatment!

More information:

Here’s a great article from Dave Ramey, DVM – How do you know if your horse needs colic surgery

And hoping that none of you need to make that decision.

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8 thoughts on “Colic!

  1. Beverly Hubbard

    Glad it was nothing major. Freedom’s lucky to have such a thorough and proactive Mom! I’ve been soaking my Girls’ feed for years and give them soaked hay cubes as a starter for their regular p.m. feed when the temp. gets below 20. I love how much water hay cubes soak up and the soaked feed also makes them thirsty. If you have a lot of clover in your pasture, you may want to consider top dressing feed with Maalox in the spring. I had a mare who would get gas colic every spring because of the clover, especially after a wet winter like the one we’re having this year.

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