Submitted by Jody Paddy
Read the full story on her blog at https://kazzscolicstory.wordpress.com/

My name is Jody and my Irish Sport Horse mare Kazz had and survived colic surgery. I’ll start by giving you some background so you know who I am, and more importantly who Kazz is …

My very lovely mother bred a few horses in her time – she had this idea to breed one I would love – so she tried a few times. Manny her stallion I would have liked, but she didn’t geld him and I wasn’t so keen on a stallion. Starshine I loved but she wasn’t the one. And then there was Kazz. She was always mine from a baby.

Kazz’s Colic Story Begins

April 25, 2014

I had just had the most amazing lesson. I was pretty pleased as I had jumped some decent training jumps and was feeling ready to pop her into training at the next horse trial. One step closer to our novice goal.

April 26, 2014

Took Kazz for a light ride after her big day the day before to stretch her out.

April 28, 2014

Go to work like normal and was chatting to my boss when I got the call: “I don’t want to worry you, but there’s something not quite right with Kazz.” The call you don’t want to get, I tell you.

Apparently she was lying down (nothing unusual in this) but when Jackie put the hay out she didn’t get up, which is not like Kazz as she’s VERY food focused. So Jackie (bless her) wanders off to get some carrots. Kazz gets up, moseys over, then lies down. That’s when I get the call, so I tell her to walk Kazz and I’m on my way.

When I arrive I see Kazz walking and run over. She doesn’t seem bad; every now and then she stops and stretches but then continues walking. At this point I feel relieved. A week earlier Jackie’s horse Blue had been at Drury – Vet Associates, the best colic place in Auckland (put on fluids and came out fine). As a result, we were all a little reactive which probably saved Kazz’s life.

The local vet arrived. I was a little hesitant as she seem obsessed with it being the poplar trees causing her colic, and that she was getting blocked from the leaves. She did all the usual tubing and painkillers and then said to let her stand around and walk her if she looked like she was restless.

By 1:oo pm she was the same. I started to panic slightly as I expected some improvement and after what had happen to Jackie’s horse I was on edge. I was like, bugger it, she’s insured. My excess is only $500, and I’ve probably spent that already. So I rang the vets back and said I wanted a referral to Drury. After several persistent calls to the vet,  she said she didn’t need to see her to refer, so just go and she will refer over the phone.

I remember thinking, I’m overreacting after Blue, hubby will be cross as we will get a big bill that we didn’t need to get. But I was like, I can’t leave it. I just knew it wasn’t right.

At Drury Vet Associates

At the Vet Associates they thought she appeared all right, but had a spiking fever so were concerned. She had a scope and ultra scan but couldn’t see anything initially. Bloods were taken. Kazz had a temperature spiking, had not pooped again, and the second scan showed an inflammed small bowel.

They popped her on a drip so they could give her ABs intravenously (I already know these will be pricey but thats ok). They touched on surgery and I said if she needed it would I be okay with that. I still wasn’t too worried, but I was glad I had taken her and listened to my gut. She’s my baby. I went home knowing she was in the best hands.

The next morning I get up early. Vet Associates had not yet sent a text, so I wait. I get the text just after 8: “She’s doing OK. Spiking fevers and occasionally looking at her stomach. We will keep her on antibiotics and fluids and run blood work this morning, Her small intestine is still a bit sluggish and irritated, will run that fecal egg count too.”

More blood tests were sent off and a tummy tap was done. While waiting for the results, they again said surgery may be required. She was not showing classic colic symptoms.

Kazz Rushed to Colic Surgery

My parents came down and were with me when they got the results back, and everything happened so fast after that. The next thing I knew she was being prepped for surgery.

About an hour later (longest hour ever) they came out and motioned us to go with them. I walked over and glanced into the surgery – only to see my girl upside down on the table with a giant blue tarpaulin covering a large portion and people in gown. Not what I wanted or needed to see.

So Kazz has colitis. I was given two options. Her colon was all shriveled up, but not dead. They could carry on with her while under and remove a piece of her infected colon with a 20% chance of her pulling through (IF she woke up), OR they can clean her insides up, flush it all out sew her up. Then they would attack with meds now they knew what was going on – a 30% chance of survival. Well, odds were for the second, so that’s where I went. The vets were pretty much like “don’t hope too much, it’s not looking good, we will try our best.”

Kazz was then ready to see me. She was so wiggley; it was heartbreaking to see her wobble back to her stall … though she passed the big step – SHE WOKE UP!

Kazz in Recovery

Her scar was massive, from just behind her girth to belly button, big chunky metal staples that looked yucky and drippy. People kept coming and giving her injections and syringes. They were taking Obs and recording all the time. Poor Kazz couldn’t eat much – just a little bit of hay and only a handful every hour or so. She looked devastated. But then when she got it she was kind of rolling her nose at it and I knew it hurt.

I spent the next few days sitting in her stall with her. I was too scared to leave in case something happened. The vets continually said she was still very, very sick, but she’s trying very, very hard.

So she was slowly starting to be a bit more Kazz-like. She wasn’t allowed much food but a couple of handfuls of hay. I gave her a massive groom and tried to get off all the horrid surgery goop. She was still doing the I’m-in-pain stretches and her belly was very swollen.

The next day they took her off her drip so I could take her out for 5 minutes graze – boy was she wobbly on her way out – but I think she enjoyed the sunshine.

Over the next week she continued to improve. She had been taken off her drip, was getting unlimited hay, less meds, more grass time and no set backs.

On May 17, 2014, Kazz left the clinic and came home to my mum and dad’s.

[Over a year later, Kazz is in full recovery after being brought along very carefully by Jody. They have even returned to competition, starting with some in-hand and dressage shows and are currently working back up to jumping. Be sure to visit Jodys’ Kazz Colic Story blog for the full details of this ordeal and Kazz’s progress and recovery since.]

A Bit About Colitis

I don’t really know what it is – all I know is it makes them sick! It’s apparently an inflammation of the colon. They said Kazz’s colon looked red, swollen, and like rubber bands had been tied around it really tight all over it and strangulated. My poor baby. They said she must have been in a lot of pain. It moves really fast and that she hadn’t had it long (remember I had been out cross country jumping her 3 days earlier)!

I’ve since heard a lot of horses don’t survive colitis so I’m so lucky – I’m even luckier we caught it so quick!

Kazz was off her food – had high spiking temp, highish respitory and heart rate. She didn’t have diarrhea which confused them a bit.

They still to this day don’t know what caused it – they reckon its all very, very unlucky.

From all the tests they narrowed it down to being either Salmonella or Clostridial organisms causing it (often associated with Bacterial Colitis like she had), but just don’t know what exactly brought it on. It could be anything – something in the ground, a bird poop, leaning on the wrong fence, eating the wrong blade of grass – just unlucky. They told me to stop looking and start enjoying my horses.

The Crusade Against Equine Colic thanks Jody for sharing her story. Share your personal colic story today or download our FREE Guide to Equine Colic Awareness.

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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