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Discussion on 23 year old gelding with recurrent colic

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Kathryn Collis
New Member
Username: katysue

Post Number: 4
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 7:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have an older gelding on pasture turnout with sudden colic, classic signs: sweating, rolling nipping at flanks. I gave Banamine and contacted vet. Horse pooped promptly and had good pain relief. Kept him up 6 hours, gave a small amount of hay. He became uncomfortable again, looking frequently at flanks, sluggish, rolled one time etc. (middle of the night thing). Vet recommended repeating Banamine. He pooped, felt good. Took him to vet the next morning and he did rectal and checked him out and said he looked good. Said to give Banamine again and let him out. Turned him out. Within 4 hours he was off to himself in pasture but did not show signs of discomfort. 3 hours later he's sluggish standing with head down and eyes closed. No food interest. Called vet. Repeated Banamine with relief of signs of discomfort. Now its another day. Have kept him without grass or hay for 12 hours now and he looks good. Nickering for food. No poop in the paddock. He's fine unless he eats. Plan is to give him hay mid morning and see how he does. Will return to vet this afternoon if needed. My question: If he has a high obstruction is there a possibility this will clear?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23781
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 8:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Your history is consistent with a impaction that is out of the reach of the examining vet and yes it is possible it might pass.

However you should be helping your horse maintain hydration and prevent further worsening of the blockage. To see how I treat these see the Overview article's subtopic on Impactions. I follow a rigid bucket rule when I cannot palpate the impaction to make the decision of when to begin feeding again. All stools are placed in a bucket and the horse is not fed again until the bucket is filled with stool.
DrO
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Kathryn Collis
New Member
Username: katysue

Post Number: 5
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 11:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr. O. He has passed two large normal appearing stools this morning. Drinking well. I've never tubed a horse--people, yes but not a horse. Vet did mention passing a tube on him if I had to bring him back.
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 2243
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 4:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

When he is ready to be fed again, instead of hay, may I make a suggestion? Give him hay pellets or cubes (preferably the same type as he is currently receiving in hay) watered down as a mush, easier to pass through the system. As he continues to improve gradually add hay.

This with the caveat and realizing each horse is different and with vet's approval. :-)

Good luck!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23787
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I disagree with Aileen here. When started back the horse should be fed the forage the horse is adapted to and no preferably about it. Changing the type feed may result in other digestive upsets and the idea that a finer feed might pass through his system easier may not be true.
DrO
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Kathryn Collis
Member
Username: katysue

Post Number: 6
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - 11:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the input. The good boy has been stooling well today (formed but moist) and drinking water. We fed him a small amount of hay this afternoon and he did well. Even kicked up a big fuss at feeding time when he wasn't included. Yesterday he could have cared less that feed was even going out. So we've been 24 hours without discomfort, has eaten, is pooping (thanks for the bucket tip), and nickers when you come out to check on him. We've been very lucky with colic with only a rare episode and this is the first case that recurred after first aid/banamine and it scared us "poopless"--sorry, just couldn't resist!!!!
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 2247
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Sep 24, 2009 - 10:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry Kathryn and Dr. O, I suggested it because it seemed to help (ie, not having a vet call or additional vet call) multiple times for my horse and for a boarder's horse with approval from my vet.

Glad he's doing well Kathryn :-)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23795
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Sep 24, 2009 - 11:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That's fine Aileen and no need to be sorry, these boards are about sharing information. But remember that the singly greatest management factor leading to a colic is a change in feed and increases the probability of that event by more than six times (for more on this see Overview of Colic). One should also note that one of the main drivers of regular gut motility in the horse is the fibrous consistency of forage.

I occasionally get the complaint that I seem dismissive in my responses and that is not my aim. My aim, indeed a main purpose for being here, is to evaluate commonly stated mistaken notions about horses, horse keeping, and equine veterinary care. Time constraints, along with the large number of posts I feel obligated to respond to on a daily basis, make my responses short and to the point, some might say, "curt". The impersonal nature of online communication does not help. We invite controversy, as long as it remains polite. So if you feel I have responded incorrectly please state so in the posts and we can take this up in a more involved manner with the idea of reaching a consensus. Or at least understand the various viewpoints on a subject. Heck you might change my mind, it has happened. I do think it is this sort of critical thinking and back and forth banter about commonly held notions that help us all evolve into better equestrians.
DrO
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 2248
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Sep 24, 2009 - 12:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No worries Dr. O, I do realize the change in feed issue, I have to be very vigilant changing feed with my horse. The "preferably" should have been left out of my post.

I do maintain that the mush helped - in my experience - which is not nearly as great as yours Dr. O :-) I could start another post on whether to feed a colic or not. We have vets here with conflicting viewpoints on that, but both make some sense at the same time. Will do so later, must get back to work :-)
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