ADK WildHorse Camp
by ADK WildHorse on 10/15/15
Colic Watch.... everyone remember Josie the TB ? She was one of your jumping / riding horses here at camp.
We found ourselves watching for a mild episode of colic. With temperatures fluctuating between 55 degrees and 30 degrees at night, a horses' digestive system will naturally become upset.
In fact this is the time of year where we need to keep a close eye on colic-prone horses. They drink less, they do not move around as much as they should, even when turned out in pasture.
A little bit of Education: colic can be related to gas, impaction from feed, sand, roughage (less likely) and tumors. Its symptoms can be mildly or greatly visible due to the given form of gastrointestinal pain.
When horse owners spend long hours with their horses, even the mildest signs become very noticeable. As a responsible horseman or horsewoman, you need to know your horses' habits and personality.
Typical signs are: horse looks at its flank, horse lies down and gets up again just to lie down, low or no gut movement sounds, horse stands in a more "stretched out" position.
Not to be extreme, but a horse can also violently thrush on the ground which can ultimately cause the twisting of intestines causing death.
Remedies: In most cases, with less experienced horse owners, it is advised to call a veterinarian. In our case, we notice signs of colic early enough to prevent it from worsening. Colic can last up to 12-18 hours, which increases the chances of mortality.
- DO NOT make the horse trot or canter to promote blockage to move throughout the system.
- DO gently walk your horse and prevent him from lying down for long periods of time
- DO give him a therapeutic (and appropriate) dose of Banamine, an anti-inflammatory drug as well as a pain reliever to give temporary relief to your horse. Banamine comes in an intravenous injection as well as an oral paste.
- DO NOT give your horse any type of feed. It will only make the impaction or gas worse.
- DO call the vet if you see that the impaction is not passing. The vet will tube the horse with mineral oil that will assist in passing the blockage.
- DO watch for the horse passing stool. This will be the first sign of the horses' improvement.
How to avoid colic ? A horses' digestive system is designed to graze and have little bits of food throughout the day. Mainly able to digest roughage, horses are not accustomed to digesting any other textures effectively.
- Feeding domestic horses cannot happen without grain, so if you do feed your horse grain, we suggest to feed it in pelleted form, preferably with the addition of water. Pellets will absorb moisture from the intestine, and it is easier for the horse to pass through if it already contains water.
- Do not keep a horse in stall for long periods of time. We have a few selective horses that are kept inside and have limited turnout (2-5 hours daily). These horses are able to withstand being stalled without developing colic.