Friday, April 11, 2008

A colic question

The little mare at our barn coliced again this week. She was quieter and calmer when she was in the arena with her buddy, so we were keeping an eye on them from the arena gate. At one point she laid down, but didn't roll. I looked at Marge and said "I'm thinking if she's going to lie there quietly that she'll be okay. Do you agree or should we get her up?"

Marge said "Well I've had vets say two different things to me. Dr. W used to say that they could lie down between pains if they didn't roll, while Dr. A said never let them lie down and keep them moving. This one time I had a colicing horse and I thought that Dr. W was coming, so I was walking the horse in the pasture and let him lie down. Turns out that Dr. A came instead and he came flying down my driveway, spraying gravel everywhere. He jumped out of his truck and yelled 'What the hell are you doing??!! Get that son of a bitch up!! Are you trying to kill him??!!' "

So, what do you guys think, and what do your vets think? Is lying down quietly with no rolling okay, or is lying down strictly forbidden?


Rising Rainbow said...

For me I keep them moving. Movement stimulates the gut and helps whatever needs to pass through.

Of course that can be affected by what kind of colic you have. I'm not sure if moving helps a stress colic but it will help a gut that is working too slow or a gas colic. When in doubt, I would error on the side of movement.

Funny you brought this up right now. My next post will be related.

20 meter circle of life said...

When Abu coliced a few years ago vet said at all costs keeo him moving, even after we were past the worst I had to hand walk for 15 minutes every 2 hours for 24 hours

dressagemom said...

Not because you currently have a colicing horse, I hope!

Kim Ayars said...

Our vet has recommended both. Most of the time she has us keep the horses moving. However, we had an older horse that was clearly exhausted. She said that as long as he didn't roll, he could lay down. Our vet maintained that once a horse is down, it's really hard not to let them roll if they decide they want to, so she doesn't recommend it unless there is a special circumstance.

Mrs Mom said...

I agree with MiKael- it depends on what type of colic you are dealing with. With the mare having a past history (and a recent one at that,) I would be VERY careful and err on the side of caution. She quite literally may be exhausted though, and HAVE to lie down once in a while. BUT--- I would not let her stay down for more than a few minutes at a time.

Does this mare have a history of ulcers, or has she been checked for them? (Ulcers are MUCh more common than we generally think in horses... something to think about...)

Hope all is well with her and she recoups quickly...

Beckz said...

I'm ok with letting them lie quietly if they aren't going to roll. I know when my guts hurt I wouldn't appreciate being forced to walk, and they may need that energy for healing later. If they are going to roll you need to keep them moving just so they can't roll.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm not sure where all my vets stand on the issue. Lostine colics every holiday weekend like clockwork. I get so excited about a three-day weekend, and end up spending the third day saving my horse's life. I keep her walking, but there have been times when she's been too exhausted to take another step. When she's like that, I can get her up by squirting some Pro-Bios or Bute paste in her mouth. She hates being wormed and jumps up at the site of a syringe. I find that grooming the horse during an episode of colic helps, because it relaxes her. Relaxation keeps things moving. I actually use one of those electric portable massagers as well.

onthebit said...

We had a 41 year old horse what we lost this spring due to colic. He was so old that when he wanted to go down to rest we had no choice. He never did roll but he couldn't get up again. Too much pain mixed with old horse pain. Anyway that is not really the point. My vet always said that he would prefer it if the horse did not lay down, but if they (and us) were exhausted you can let them lay down but sit on there so they can't roll and be very sure you can get them back up after the little break. I think knowing the horse and the type of colic is also important in the decision. I hope the mare is feeling better.

ranchette said...

My vet is a "keep them up" proponent. I think for the same reason's as Kim's once they're laying down it's nearly impossible to prevent them from rolling if they want to.

Anne said...

I keep walking until the vet comes and then I follow instructions.

One vet told me one time that he came to where two women had a colicking horse and didn't know what that was. The horse got so exhausted from rolling that they rolled him back and forth themselves, since that's what he seemed to want. Needless to say, the horse didn't make it and the women were devastated at what they'd done.

Look into Strongid daily wormer for a horse that frequently colics. I'd do a testimonial right here but I'm afraid to speak too soon, though it has worked for two years!

dressagemom said...

20 meter,

Sounds like a rough 24 hours. :(


This mare did act like she wanted to roll and then I got her up quickly. Luckily it wasn't a bad colic and she got up with no problems.

Mrs. Mom,

I don't know much about her colic history. I just know that she's colicked twice since February. The first one was possibly an impaction colic but the vet wasn't sure. This second time all she got was some walking and banamine and recovered completely within hours. Right now she is on her way to Florida (her owners moved).


I agree, I don't want to walk around when I have a belly ache!

Nuzzling Muzzles,

That's terrible that your horse colics on holidays. You should let her know that holidays are for riding, not hand walking and vet visits!

On the bit,

I had always heard to walk them too, but her colic was so mild and she seemed so comfortable lying down that we just let her do it for a few minutes.


I think I was able to get her up before she rolled only because she was only half heartedly trying to roll and wasn't committed.


What a sad story! I'm sure those women were just crushed. I've heard other people that swear by daily wormer too. I haven't tried it myself because I don't need another supplement to feed Kaswyn!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Hmmm, I would have to say that it depends on the type of colic(if you know) and how long they have been struggling with it.
If you think your horse is impacted, I would not let them lay down. We have only ever lost 2 horses to colic-both were in a pasture setting and not found until they had been rolling long enough to twist a gut.
We do have another mare that we believed was suffering from ulcers and she would colic frequently-it was too hot, another horse annoyed her, flies bothering her, etc. My mom has a homeopathic medicine called White Lightening that you spoon on the tongue every 10 minutes until the distress goes away. She would dose her with that and spray her with the garden hose(if it was hot out) and pretty soon she would just go lay down and go to sleep.
Banamine and Bute irritate ulcers and if used frequently can cause ulcers.
Best of luck-colic can be extremely scary.

lovelee said...

I have always learned to keep them moving... they are that much closer to rolling on the ground.

Cara said...

My vet told me that if they have a torsion, they will roll. The pain of torsion makes them roll. Rolling does not cause the torsion, its the other way around. He's been my vet since '89.

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