Friday, August 5, 2011

What to do when a horse colics

I have had my own horse colic...the day after Christmas 2009.  It was scary.  He had am impaction.  A 3 day stay at the vet and a $525 vet bill but he walked out a little hungry but ok.  A horse at the barn, Rogue, coliced this spring...but with diligence and immediate care and attention, he recovered.

Yesterday, Barry and I went to the barn in the evening around 6:00.  We walked the horses up to the wash rack and Barry worked Sarge in the arena and I gave Biscuit a bath.  Scrubbed him up good and he looked gorgeous.  Sarge got a scrubbing too.  We walked them back down to their pasture and I heard Rogue, Lee Anne's Tennessee Walker, grunt when I went by...a loud kind of grunt.  I spoke to him and kept going.  Barry and I left the barn just before 8:00 PM and Lisa was coming through the gate as we were leaving.

I got a call from Kellie 30 minutes later saying that Lisa said Rogue was up and down, rolling some, biting his sides, etc.  I got up and headed for the barn.  The LeAnns were on their way.  I got there first as I live around the corner practically.  I got to Rogue's pasture and he was up in a corner in the back.  He let me put his halter on and I listened for gut sounds.   I heard faint soft sounds but they were sounds!  I walked him up to the washrack and went back for my Rav.  Lee Ann B arrived and Lisa told her what she saw.  She took him into the arena and started walking him.  He was walking slowly and kinda stiff.  LeAnn P arrived shortly after that and they listened to gut sounds with a stethoscope, took his temperature and his pulse which were all in the normal range.  There were some gut sounds but LeAnn said he was drawn up in the flanks and they were kinda quivering.  Poor ol' Rogue.
Where is my girl?  She will take care of me!
Walking around
His sides were quivering at the flanks
Oh the indignity of it all!!!!
They gave him some bute I believe or banamine.  Can't remember which one and I will ask and clarify.  They gave him two doses of salt - Lee Ann put her hand in his mouth and pulled his tongue to the side and LeAnn popped in two doses of salt to encourage him do drink.  A water bucket was set up that has water lines inside to keep a measurement of what he drank.  He was walked and later turned loose so he could walk around on his on.  While Lee Ann walked him, he twice wanted to go down but she said no and kept walking him.  As time went on they gave him a little alfalfa which he was grateful for and scarfed up and he went along the rails trying to get any piece of grass he could but that kept him moving.  He was walking much more freely, he wasn't drawn up and his side quit quivering.

He was caught in time thank God.  I left at 11:00 PM and LeAnn shortly after me.  Lee Ann stayed til a little after midnight.

So this is what I learned about colic from this episode:

Take their temp - it often elevates
Take their pulse - it often elevates too.
Give them salt to encourage drinking
Make sure plenty of water is available
Walk and make sure they don't lay down and roll.

Also helpful, if necessary, trailer to encourage a bowl movement.  If these do not help and the horse doesn't improve, call the vet.  I had to call the vet when Red colicked.  He had a severe impaction.

The next morning LeAnn and Lee Ann both were out at the barn checking on him.  He is still has a little stomach ache but much much improved.  LeAnn spoke to Dr. Sherwood and he said he is seeing a lot of colic in non Arabian horses right now due to the heat.  He suggested we all give electrolytes to the horses while it is so hot so I need to get some today.  Catching colic at its onset is a good thing and we certainly were glad Lisa was so alert and notified someone!!!

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