Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ugh, not again!

So, it was Jan. 17 last year when I went out to feed at 6 a.m. and found Gabe colicking. Panic central. I've lost two horses to the dreaded "C" word and was terrified to lose my big baby.

Guess what I found when I went out to feed this morning? Yup. Gabe was colicking again, almost exactly one year later. Makes you really wonder how many colics are caused by weather/barometer changes. It was just about the same weather change last year when he colicked, but last year, the colic was MUCH worse, vet came out, muscle relaxers administered, the whole shebang.

This morning his discomfort was evident, but didn't seem nearly as painful as last time but he was definitely not interested in breakfast at all. This is a horse who lives to eat and eats with gusto. He didn't even flick an ear in my direction or greet me with a nicker, as he usually does.

Crap. Crap. Crap. Listened for gut sounds, yes, there were gut sounds. Checked temp and respiration...all normal. Capillary refill was a little bit slow and his gums a tad bit on the pale side. The newest poo pile I found in his run in was hard and dry and his hooves and legs were dry. Obviously the beast had decided not to venture out of his run-in to drink all night. It rained most of the night, so I don't blame him.

A quick call to the vet and a trip to the clinic for a couple of tubes of Bananime. I try to keep it on hand, but that stuff expires so fast (6 month shelf life) that I didn't have any good Banamine on hand. Thank goodness the vet is a quick 15 minute drive away! Dosed him up with the stuff and about an hour later, he was apparently feeling much better and started nibbling on his hay and eating his breakfast. Lots of farting, but no poo as of 10:30 a.m. I'm still keeping an eye on him. I still haven't seen him drink but I filled a bucket with warm water and left it in his run-in for him, so he doesn't have to venture out into the chilly rain if he doesn't want to. I'm getting ready to head up to the grocery store for a bag of apples so I can chop one up and float it in the water to try to encourage the drinking.

After I dosed him I spent a hour out there with him, not only to keep a close eye on him, but also to try to get some of that mud off. In an hour I managed to get him about half clean before he started getting extremely irritated with me. Those long hairs on his flanks and around his sheath apparently hurt A LOT when pulled! Poor guy. He rattles when he walks, the mud clods hanging off his hairs banging to together.

So, I'm staying home from work today to keep an eye on him. He's probably fine at this point, but you just never know. I wouldn't get a dang thing done today any way because I'd just be worried about him all day and unable to concentrate! At least I'll be able to get some things done around the place that I haven't been able to because I don't get home until dark. Those ponies need BRUSHING and run-ins need stripped. Of course, it's raining, such is my luck. Thank goodness for muck boots!


  1. Hope Gabe continues to recover. I had one of those minor scares earlier this year too, and most likely because of lack of water. Silly horses just don't always know what's good for them. I'm glad it looks like it was a minor colic. Can't wait till it warms up and dries out around here!

  2. Winter colics are pretty common - we've had them ourselves - they're usually caused by lower water consumption combined with a higher (dry) hay intake. I've found using tank heaters/heated buckets makes a huge difference, and for a horse who's had impactions, I add plain (uniodized) table to AM and PM feed - you can add up to a tablespoon per feeding but 1/2 tablespoon per feeding usually does the trick to increase drinking. I don't use electrolytes, as they can increase urination which defeats the purpose of keeping the horse well-hydrated. Mashes with a decent water content also help. Some spasmodic/gas colics are caused by sudden barometric changes. Good luck, and hope he feels better soon!

  3. OH's old big horse used to get colic in frosty weather. Agree about the more hay v less water intake, gut gets sluggish. TB's are more prone, when they are in work and racing their daily diet and routine dosn't change much but a natural living beastie will obvioulsy have to cope with temp and feed changes, even frosty grass and cause problems. Maybe it would be a good idea to make sure his hard feed is warm and sloppy in winter with all the pre/pro biotics and electro lites bunged in just to be safe.
    Hope the big guys feeling better :) xx

  4. Thank you guys for your well wishes!

    He is feeling much, much better and I managed to entice him to drink a bit of water by floating chunks of apples in it. He pooped and it was hard and dry, like I thought it would be...and he peed a little bit, but it was very thick, definitely not getting enough water into his big body!

    Tonight he'll get a dinner of an extra sloppy warm mash with a bit o' salt dashed in there. They are normally get beet pulp with their feed at night, I'll just have to make sure it's extra sloppy from now on. I'll probably just start making a habit to give them ALL salt during the winter because they certainly don't visit the blocks very often when it's cold.

    I think it definitely has something to do with the weather. We had cold, cold weather than BAM! Barometric change and it's like spring...a little chilly and raining like crazy. He's a bit of baby about the rain so I can see him deciding it's just not worth it to make the trek across the paddock to drink from the trough.

  5. Glad he's feeling better !!! xx

  6. Gosh, I hope he is 100% today! I'll give you a call later.

  7. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this! I'm glad he's feeling better. Poor mudhorse :(

  8. Thank God he's OK. I've had one scare with Jackson and that was quite enough thank you! He is a brat about drinking too....
    But our weather was only super cold here for like 3 days (below freezing) so in that respect we are a bit luckier...