Reason for colic?

I am worried about the quality of my feeding regimine. Sunday evening I had to put my 6 year old AraApp mare down due to colic. She had an impaction in her illium and her entire small intestine stopped and enlarged.I am worried about the quality of my feeding regimine. Sunday evening I had to put my 6 year old AraApp mare down due to colic. She had an impaction in her illium and her entire small intestine stopped and enlarged.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS Univ. of GA School of Veterinary Medicine

Hello Dr. Lowder,
I am worried about the quality of my feeding regimine. Sunday evening I had to put my 6 year old AraApp mare down due to colic. She had an impaction in her illium and her entire small intestine stopped and enlarged. I will give you a brief history on the horse and then tell you about our feeding and deworming schedule.

I own Beauty’s dam so I have raised her from the day she was born. Once, when she was 6 months old, she developed rain rot so I dusted her with Captan powder. She immediately fell to the ground and began rolling and showing typical signs of colic. I use the Auburn University Large Animal Clinic, so they came out and Tubed her with mineral oil. She was fine and responded well to that. Now 5 and a half years later, she coliced again. The 1st time was a month ago. She was lying in the pasture fully stretched out as if she was sunning herself. After the rest of the horses stood up and walked off (about 15 minutes later) I went to her and made her get up. She immediately parked out then tried to lay back down. I walked her for about 2 hours before the vet school was able to get there. When they did she had no problems. She was passing stool and back to her normal self. The passed a tube and put the mineral oil in again.

Last weekend, the same thing happened. This time I drove her to the school and the trailer ride seemed to do the trick. She was fine when we got there. They did keep her for several hours for observation, but she was fine. Sunday, my husband had taken her out riding, and she began looking depressed and parking out and trying to lay down. He got off and walked her and she perked up. She was tugging so hard he decided to get back on. He said she began trotting some even on her own. When the got back to the trailer she began her symptoms all over again. I met him at the vet school with her. Again, everything was normal. The palpation and ultasound were normal. US showed an active bowel.

I asked if I could leave her over night and have a vet I knew look at her in the morning. That was no problem. At the end of her exam, she bagan to get painful again and they decided to do a belly tap. They were unable to get a specimen at that time so they told me they would bring her out in a few hours and try again. A few hours later they called and told me she had gotten worse. Her heart rate was sustaining in the 70’s and she was in a lot of pain. My husband and I rushed up there and talked with them about surgery. At that point we decided surgery, unfortunately, was too expensive of an option for us.

We told the Doctor our decision and within minutes, Beauty began to get extremely painful, although they were pumping her with meds she was constantly trying to lay down in the stocks. I don’t think, even if we had decided for surgery, that it could have been done in time. I feel she was so painful and on the verge of shock that she would have died on the table.

As far as our feeding, we have 4 horses that share a 7 to 10 acre pasture of bermuda/ rye/ some fescue. We mix their feed in one bucket and split it between the equally, so it is jard to tell exactly how much she was getting. We mix 3, 72 oz scoops of shredded beet pulp with water. Usually we try for a thick pudding consistancy. Then we mix in 1- 72oz scoop of Omelene 200. As I said we try to split if equally between the 4 horses, but Beauty is the low horse in the pasture and sometimes she would get run off at the end. During the winter months we feed 1 flake of coastal hay per horse per day. Again she spent more time running from flake to flake than actually eating.

We deworm quarterly with Quest gel and all our horses recieve EWT’s twice a year and rabies once a year. All of my horses tend to maintain a healthy weight. Beauty has consistantly stayed between 900lb and 1000lbs, which seems perfect for her size. This year her riding schedule has been somewhat less than last year, but she keeps herself very active running and playing with her younger sister in the pastures. Any suggestions you may have will be greatly appreciated and I’m sorry this email turned out much longer than I expected.

Heidi H. Marlin

Heidi,

I am sorry to hear about your lost. Please read the following email Feeding . This prior question will give you the information to determine the correct amount of feed per horse per day.

The biggest thing I would suggest in your situation is to come up with some method of separating the horses at feeding time.

Second, I would suggest you feed the horses by weight and not volume (remember 1 qt=32 oz, 72 oz =2.25 qt. and 72 oz = 4.5 lbs). Feed scoops can vary from one feeding to the next depending upon who is getting the scoop. Thus, you need to weigh your scoop and determine the amount of grain being fed (some people use a coffee can as it will give a more even measure each time). Remember grass is alive and hay is dead. Make sure the horses have good grass year round (plant some winter grass in the fall).

Thirdly, I would suggest you make sure your horses teeth are floated yearly and have parasite examinations performed yearly (remember ivermectin base dewormers don’t kill all types of parasite, e.g., tape worms).

Thanks for contacting HorseCity.Com and again on behalf of myself and HorseCity we are sorry for your lost.

Dr. Lowder