So, here is a quick synopsis of both episodes (one the week before Christmas, the other this past Thursday.)
- I fed the horses late the night before she colicked, as we were out of town for the day- I usually feed my horses around 8-8:30 a.m. and again at dark (approx. 4:30 p.m.) I fed that night around 10:30 when we got home.
- No changes in type of feed or amount, access to water.
- She had a soft impaction, and her heart rate was 80.
- Thoughts: perhaps being fed late created hunger and stress (gas?) or because it was late and cold, she ate but did not go over and drink as much water as she should have.
- I was out of town for two days, came back and fed as usual Thursday night.
- Snow melt and huge rainstorm had created a huge lake surrounding the horse water trough. The thought crossed my mind- would they walk through that to get to their water?
- Friday morning, I went out to feed and noticed immediately she was uncomfortable- stamping hind legs, walking or trotting off, similar behavior to last time but seemed worse.
- I brought her out, gave her a dose of Banamine.
- Walked her over to the corral at the ranch. She paced here (because she was separated from My Boy) and did poop once or twice.
- Didn't notice any stamping once we got her to the ranch corral (Banamine kicking in?)
- Vet came out around 11. Took her heart rate, said it was 48 (last time it was 80.) Heard a lot of gas sounds. Gave me two options~ 1) Give her a shot of something for gas, feed her mashes, monitor her. 2) Sedate her, rectal exam, oil and water her stomach. He said considering her heart rate he'd be comfortable with option one.
- Vet took stool sample to do a fecal count, mentioned worms. Also mentioned the possibility of this being an ulcer.
- I decided to try option one. Prepared a wet mash with senior feed (lower in sugar and I only had barley.)
- Loretta ate up mash! Gave her another mash later in the day. NO hay.
- Moved My Boy over with her at dark as a check-in with the vet said the stress of being separated might cause her to have more gas.
- Fecal count came back good, no strongyle worms!
- Morning: Loretta seemed fine. Gave her another mash and gave them a small amount of hay.
- Brought Loretta out for a walk as the corral they are temporarily in is like a small round pen, and with the two of them there, they don't walk as much, just stand around together.
Future Plan~ If she should colic again soon, then vet suggested that she have a scope for ulcers. He recommended removing her from the rolled barley and putting her back on a complete feed, which I am going to continue to make into a mash for her (they only get their grain and vitamins once a day at their night feeding.) I have been bringing her out and walking her every day, even if just for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Vet also recommended putting her on probiotics, which are to help with digestive system.
Questions~ Have any of you had horses be more colicky in the winter? She never showed signs of this in the summer. I don't think she seems like an anxious horse, but the vet said her age (4 1/2) could be an age for ulcers to happen. Any other advice you can offer would be helpful. I have to admit I can't look at her throughout the day (especially in the morning) without worrying I'll notice that she'll be in discomfort again! Loretta never tried to lie down or roll with her colic, I don't know if this behavior depends on the severity of pain or just depends on the horse and how they deal with pain.
Also, if any of you have had horses that colic often, do you tend to treat them yourself and watch for symptoms to worsen before calling vet?
I remember dealing with colicky ponies as a child, but have gotten lucky with My Boy and his iron gut (knock on wood!) he has not colicked.