Beau was 19 when he had to undergo a five and a half hour colic surgery for an impacted large intestine and bypass of the cecum. The vets gave him a 50% chance for survival, so we were scared and anxious waiting for the vets to finish. Beau didn’t have a history of colic, this episode was out of the blue, making the experience even more nerve wracking.

Surgery went well for the first four hours until they found that the cecum had also been impacted. This made surgery last another hour and a half and almost doubled the cost, but it had to be done.

For the first six days post surgery, Beau was on Dextrose. After that, they started him on straight cuts of fresh long stem grass that hung outside his stall and a few handfuls of peppermint. He was slowly introduced to some soaked grain, but he never really took any interest to it.

After 10 days he was able to be hand grazed and given only the softest and finest grass hay. Beau continued to reflux, so he had to wear a muzzle in order to keep the tube in his nose in place.

After 14 days Beau was released to a layover farm where he was given grass hay, wet grain, and was hand grazed two times a day for no more than 10 minutes. We eventually built that up to 20 minutes with careful monitoring. This routine lasted for another four months until he was able to go back to his barn.

Beau needed too much after care to go right back to his boarding barn, but I believe the layover farm was the best thing for rehabbing a post-colic horse. It was airy, open and had caretakers that were able to keep a close eye on him. Something that most barns can’t provide a horse post-colic.

Since Beau had to get so many shots and medications on a daily basis, his neck was very sore. Another hard part of post-colic treatment – seeing your horse in perpetual pain.

It has been two and a half years since the surgery and Beau has made a fully recovery. I attribute it to the slow intake of hay, and only feeding him grass at the very beginning. It’s been a long process, but we’re happy to have Beau back.

Has your horse colicked before? Tell us your story.

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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