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Discussion on Twisted gut

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cindy keck
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 15, 1999 - 2:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I have a friend that lost his highly trained
6yr.old gelding becausse he twisted his gut. How does this happen? What is it exactly? What causes this to happen? What do we watch for? How do we prevent this from happening?
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The Advisor Vet, RN Oglesby DVM
Posted on Thursday, Sep 16, 1999 - 12:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Cindy,
We have several articles on this subject that answers some of your questions at Diseases: Colic & GI: Colic:. Read through this section for specifics. In general

We believe a twist occurs during times of abnormal motility of the bowel. There is an increased occurence of this event during:
1) dietary changes,
2) changes in eating habits,
3) decrease water consumption,
4) late term gestation,
5) foaling,
6) parasitism
7) other illness.

Traveling and change in location of a horse is frequently observed prior to colic both surgical and nonsurgical: but this may be reflected in the change in diet. Currently we do not think rolling is a common cause but you know no one has ever actually observed a bowel while it twisted, so we do not know the exact process.

Avoiding these predisposing situations, and when you must make changes make them slow is your best protection.
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Mark Joslin
Posted on Monday, Dec 20, 1999 - 9:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have looked at the likely occurrences of a twisted gut in your message to Cindy. I would be interested to hear your opinions on the following :

Have any comparisons been made as to the ratio of twisted gut in fine blooded/pure bred as opposed to general horses.

My experience has been that in the cases I am aware of the ratio for thoroughbreds has been much higher.

One other factor that you have not commented on but which has been presumed to have been an influence in this sickness is the animal being subjected to extreme climatic changes. Severe drop in outside temperature.

I would be interested to hear your comments on these two points.

Many thanks
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 21, 1999 - 6:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Though no one has identified a temperature drop as a factor it is easy to see that such a change might have dramatic effects on diet and water consumption so is a plausible thought. I do not know of any work to suggest that TB's are predisposed.
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Linda Rayford (Bazook)
Posted on Friday, Dec 8, 2000 - 5:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I too recently lost one of my mares to colic. The circumstances agree with what the Doc said. She was a sixteen year old Mustang/quarter (definitely not a purebred) who we had moved only two days before. Although just a few blocks, she had new friends, a change in diet schedule and the weather went from sunny and warm for weeks to cold and rainy overnight. Otherwise she was a generally healthy horse. Never a problem before a real easy keeper in fact. So who's to say. I guess it is just one of those things.
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Brenda Edgington (Hope)
Posted on Friday, Dec 8, 2000 - 1:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I lost a horse to what was originally believed to be a "twist", but the necropsy revealed that a section of the intestine had actually become crimped by the band that holds the kidney (I believe it was Kidney, but I could be wrong--Dr. O may be able to verify if there is such a band) in place. The vet surmized that such an event could happen if the horse had rolled, causing everything to move upward, that piece of intestine moves into position under the "band" and then the horse stands up -- the intestine is then crimped off, everything, including circulation, is blocked and the intestine begins to die, in essence. So, but for the necropsy I would have called this a twist, but it was a little different--for what that's worth!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Saturday, Dec 9, 2000 - 6:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Probably trapped in the ligament that runs between the spleen and kidney, the nephro-splenic ligament.
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janis zral (Janzral)
Posted on Friday, Dec 15, 2000 - 11:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Our TB/Percheron mare had a 600 degree twist colic which required surgery. She had been living in her new home for over 6 months and had had no problems adjusting. The weather was a bit gusty and windy the day she colicked, but otherwise nothing untoward. She hadn't rolled - she had been in a light lesson. One of the suggestions the surgeon made was to put her on a probiotic supplement. This does seem to have made some difference. Sometimes I wish I was psychic so I could ask the horse what caused the colic - it would eliminate the daily worry we have had since!
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Helen Weedon (Cara)
Posted on Friday, Dec 22, 2000 - 8:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Janice,
A friend of mine has a 4year old Irish Draught gelding, a tall heavy chap. Last year he was operated on for a twisted gut, luckily none of the gut had started to die off so they just undid the twist and he was fine. The operation was done by vets at the local university veterinary hospital so only the best! They told my friend that they were doing research into these cases as they were repeatedly seeing the same problem in the same category of horse, ie, heavier types, tall ones and interestingly predominantly younger ones. The horse had been in a dressage lesson just 1 hour before, had worked well and showed absolutely no signs of pain or distress. He had sweated up a bit though and my friend correctly decided to leave him to cool off before she fed him. When she came back an hour later she had to call the local vet immediately.
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Kathy L Tyler
New Member
Username: Kathy57

Post Number: 1
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Thursday, Aug 5, 2004 - 9:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One of my stallion's *GET* a 2 year old palomino Quarter Horse gelding's had to be put down by his owner's yesterday due to a DISPLACED COLON.
He had been Colicy, and the owner gave him Banamine paste for the pain, and he seem to get a little better, but later that day he was in terrible pain again! She trailered him to her vet, and the vet pelpated him and told her he had a displaced colon. He told her to take him to Michigan State for surgery, or put him down there. The owner elected to put him down, because she said he was in so much pain, and the vet told her he'd only have a 50/50 chance with the costly surgery. What causes this?? Did she make the right choice in putting him down? She's heart broken as am I over losing this gorgeous gelding at such a young age!
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Christine Holmes Bukowski
Username: Canyon28

Post Number: 81
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Thursday, Aug 5, 2004 - 12:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Kathy, her vet gave her very good advice. the cost alone of a colic surgery is very high, and with a 50/50 chance of recovery, unless the horse is insured, or extremely valuable as a breeding stallion,or mare, etc, you are probably wasting your hard earned money, and putting the horse though hell at the same time. Maybe your friend didnt have an extra $5000 laying around she wanted to gamble with. This surgery is not known as highly successful,it is 60/40 at best and any vet that tells you different is just playing on your emotions and trying to make a play for your money. The fact that he was in terrible pain, means he was truly twisted and no amount of oil or banamine could have solved the problem. All kinds of complications can arise afterward a colic surgery, even if the horse makes it through the surgery, such as adhesions,infection, and the horse is also likely to colic again in the future. It is terrible that he had to be put down, but in my opinion, the owner did the right thing for the horse and probably for her financial situation. It is hard to make a good decision when emotions run so high in a crisis like this, but I feel that she made the right one for her situation. If she decides to start looking for another palomino soon, I have several young palomino cutting bred colts for sale right now! Tell her I am very sorry. It is so hard to put a young horse down. Chris
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Holly Zukowski
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 323
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, Aug 5, 2004 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

We also had a horse that twisted a gut and had to be put down. In this case he was a 21 year old appy/quarter gelding so surgery was out of the question. The vet also told us that surgery was iffy and reocurrence was likely. Unfortunately, we were not home when the situation arose but luckily horsey neighbors noticed him and called the vet. The vet had him so full of pain killers he didn't feel anything but must have been in terrible pain earlier. Euthanasia (sp?) was the only thing to do as much as it hurt us.

My condolences to your friend. It's never easy.
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