Legs: Spokes-Horse EntryI know Legs is feeling colicky when she curls her lip up repeatedly. Never fails, that’s her sign. Oh sure, she’ll swish her tail, maybe kick at the belly, but she might just be going after a fly…once she curls that lip, I’m on it.

Sometimes I can stave off a full-blown attack with a shot of Banamine, some electrolytes to help encourage her to drink (fresh water is a must!), and some exercise. If I’m on the fence about where she is, I call the vet.

I’ve had horses for over 30 years and there are times when you just can’t do it yourself.

Taking the Right Steps to Prevent a Full-blown Colic Episode

One year it was so cold she refused to drink so I had to order heated water buckets – just try finding them in San Diego! She colicked so bad another year that by the time I got home from work she’d rubbed the hair off both of her sides and she was raw, almost no hide left. I thought for sure I was going to lose her that day. While I waited for the vet, I handwalked her in hopes that she would pass some poop, but she didn’t. The vet tubed her and found that she hadn’t torsioned. I did check her for sand and ran Psyllium through her after we knew she was out of the woods and found that she did have some.

When I put her back in her stall I took all of her food away and gradually increased her ration until she was back to her old self. I kept a close eye on her stool to make sure she was evacuating as she should be as well as  for density. Is it too dry? Will a bran mash help? She is very touchy about Bermuda so I have to be very careful when feeding to balance it out with Alfalfa or an Alfalfa mix.

Hindgut Health is Key 

I’ve learned it’s best to keep her on a good yeast-based hindgut supplement to keep her in good health and prevent colic rather than have to treat it once it arrives. I have friends who have had to go the surgery route and trust me, you don’t want to have to go there.

Overall health is very important, especially in older horses, and for that you have to keep an eye on the hindgut. Legs is 20 years old and my vet said today that she looks better than ever. Good nutrition is the key to keeping this older mare in top form and the hindgut is a critical part of that.

My mare hasn’t colicked in more than 5 years and I contribute that to hindgut health!

The Crusade Against Equine Colic thanks Andrea for sharing her colic story. Andrea is a candidate for the Equine Colic Awareness Month Spokes-Horse Contest. Enter your Colic Story for a Chance to win.

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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