Colic in horses
Ever get that scary call from someone that tells you your horse is droopy and not feeling good? I learned a lot about colic in the past few days when I got that call from the owner of the place where I board my horse. He told me she was lethargic. She was droopy. Poppy is usually quiet and calm, but this was next to drowsy and not taking any notice to what was going on around her. She may have had a mild case of colic. Any case of colic should be looked at as severe until otherwise noted.
When a horse has colic he has a stomach ache. They can become restless and kick at their stomach or lie down and get up or roll or be lethargic like Poppy was. They are in pain and are trying to get some comfort. Colic is the most universal ailment that a horse suffers from.
Forms of Colic
There are several characteristics of colic such as Sand Colic, which is the one I think my horse may have been suffering from. Her feeding area does have dirt and sand and she eats at it even though her hay and grain are in bins.
Other types of colic are digestive, spasmodic and intestinal blockage. Any of these are painful and need to be treated as soon as possible.
Some Things to Do
By the time I got there the owner, thank goodness had known what to do. I’m glad he knew because I have never dealt with a colic horse so I was learning. He had given her some Banamine that helped my mare with her stomach pains. He was keeping her moving by lunging her in the arena. My stomach hurt just to watch her trot round and round. Whenever I have a stomach ache the last thing I want to do is move. I want to lie down and sleep. But letting a horse lie down would be deadly. A horse needs to keep moving to help move the waste through the intestine track. He showed me how to listen to her gut to hear gurgling sounds. If there is gurgling sounds it means there is movement going on and that is a good thing.
There are many causes for colic, but none for sure. A horse could come down with colic from feeding habits, parasites, over working, some form of infection, and even a change in the weather as well as female problems in mares.
After the initial fright I started learning what more I could do. At that point in time it didn’t seem there was a need for the vet to come. If a vet is needed keep the horse moving until he/she arrives. Some vets use Dipyrone to ease the pain. They may also use a tube to pour mineral oil into the horse’s stomach to help unblock the intestines.
Hopefully all of the above will be enough to get your horse back to good health. If it is more severe surgery is the next step.
The Importance of Salt
I knew having salt blocks around for a horse to lick on was important, I just hadn’t thought about how important it could be. I bought her new salt blocks; one was a mineral one and the other a block of salt shaped like a rock. There were salt blocks around, but I felt at this point in time she needed a new block of salt. I learned if she licked more salt she would naturally drink more water and help make nature move along better.
There is a product called Sand Clear. It is little pellets that can be added to the horse feed. The flavor I purchased was apple/molasses. This product will do what the name says, it clears out the system.
A Clear Report
I am glad to report that in Poppy’s case she is doing fine. It’s been a few days since the incident with colic. She came nickering to meet me at the gate. We even went for a little ride. Sure felt good to be back in the saddle. When we came back to the barn I added the Sand Clear to her feed to help in preventing this from happening again. She ate it all and licked the bin clean.