Author: Elizabeth Glover

On the 19th of February (Yes I can remember the exact date even now), my poor horse Toddy, who was 11 at the time, began to colic. Thankfully Toddy was living at home so we were able to notice signs very early and got the vet out on that Friday evening. The vet said it was only minor, but if no improvements were shown by 6am the following morning, he would have to go into the clinic.

Unfortunately, Toddy got steadily worse through the night, but was not nearly as distressed as I was. He was admitted to Chine House Veterinary Clinic for examination, where it appeared the colic was being caused by an impaction. He was hooked up to a drip in the hopes of washing the blockage through, but after 6 hours, 30 liters of fluid and no obvious difference, they called us back.

In floods of tears I then had to make that decision that everyone always fears: operate or have him put down. Thankfully he was insured so we decided to let them operate. They prepped him for surgery immediately and by 8pm that evening, it had been a success.

He spent 7 days in intensive care before he could come home. He was on a period of box rest for 3 and a half months, with two short 15 minute walks to eat grass, not only to help gut function, but also help build up the muscle that was cut through in surgery.

After having his staples out, he was then turned out in a small paddock for 2 months, increasing in size every week or so, to a point at which he could start work (19th of August 2009).

We began walking very slowly for a period of 10 minutes, extending this up to 40 minutes by the end of September. He was then out hunting again by December.

The eventual cause of colic had been the weather. A week of heavy snow had left him dehydrated as he was not drinking the cold water (he is still fussing about this so we use a hot flask to warm his water). Nineteen horses were admitted with colic the same weekend that Toddy was. Unfortunately only nine made it. I was just one of the lucky ones.

The Crusade Against Equine Colic is a movement empowering all horse people to learn how to reduce our horses’ risk for colic – and to share that knowledge with fellow equestrians.

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