life after colic surgery - advice please

Joined
16 August 2015
Messages
24
So, after a very stressful couple of weeks, my lovely mare came home from hospital last week after colic surgery. She had a displaced colon (right dorsal displacement) and a large impaction. The vet wasn?t sure whether impaction caused displacement or vice-versa. She is making a good recovery and on 6 more weeks' box rest before having a month in a small paddock and hopefully back to normal (everything crossed!). I?m desperate to do whatever I can within my control to keep her healthy and colic-free in future. It feels a bit like the vets have done their bit in terms of clinical care and the rest is down to me which is scary! The vets, whilst amazing clinically, haven?t been hugely forthcoming in terms of advice on future management ? what I?m doing at the moment is giving her really sloppy feeds and ad-lib soaked hay. In addition to her usual supplements (turmeric, micronized linseed, brewers yeast, vit + min supplement) she?s now having a probiotic and as soon as the medication is finished she?ll be given activated charcoal too. I just wondered if anyone, having been through a similar situation, had any advice or suggestions?
 

scats

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 September 2007
Messages
2,865
One of mine had colic surgery in 2007- turned out to be a cecal impaction with a very low survival rate (just 15% chance at the time I was told). He survived surgery, nearly died of hyperlipeama a few days later, but made it home. We had a blip about 16 weeks post surgery, with another colic. Then a blip at 5 months when he ended up back in hospital and had to be tubed and kept on a drip.

We were told that his type of colic was caused by a gut motility problem and that about 80% of horses would die from it within the first 2 years. We actually managed nearly 4 fantastic years- had an absolute blast doing farm and hunt rides, before one evening in spring 2011 he colicked again and I felt that the time was right.

He had had small colicky bouts over the 4 years but nothing that required any veterinary attention. But this one required the vet twice in one night and I realised the end had come.

When he went in for surgery, we had no idea what type of impaction he had as all the vets could tell us was that he had a significant mass in his abdomen and up into his ribcage.

Tips for a good recovery- once the box rest/field rest stage is over, keep them moving- lots of turnout and exercise. We fed my lad like he was a veteran with minimal teeth ( he wasn't, he was 14) - very wet feeds. He ate only soaked hay, nothing dry. He had gut balancers to help with his gut motility problems.
 

AnShanDan

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 May 2007
Messages
1,051
If you have no idea what caused the original colic, and your horse had no history of colic, it will just be a case of doing everything you can to minimise the risks.

I have one mare who has a history of colic, including exploratory surgery, from which no abnormalities were found. This all happened several years ago, and she has been pretty good since.

However, have realised over the last 2 winters that she is very susceptible to mild dehydration, so circumstances that would not bother another horse, seem to upset her. In fact last January she ended up with 5 days at the vet school with an impaction when the weather suddenly turned very cold and frosty, she was kept in for a couple of days and one night her hay wasn't soaked, that's all it took. All the others horses had the same treatment and were 100%, but that's horses.

So, I make sure she always has really wet fodder overnight, and if it is bitterly cold, I give her a bucket of sugar beet water at night in addition to her normal auto drinker.

Not sure what else to suggest. You get to the point where you just have to glance at the horse to tell if it is OK, any lying down at odd times, any abnormal behavior etc. etc. will ring an alarm bell.
 
Joined
9 May 2009
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444
Location
Peterborough
I am another one who has had a horse go through colic surgery for a twisted gut in 2007. He coliced regularly prior to the surgery and also has done so since the surgery, impactions, spasmodic, gas, entrapments etc. To help counteract impactions, I have used Global Herbs clear out supplement, also have found giving a good dose of Epsom Salts in a pony nut soup made with warm water very useful. For gas, Global Herbs fennel is very good too. I am very vigilant to monitoring him, his behaviour, his water intake, his poops etc. Slighter harder than normal poops means he could be getting impacted, slightly softer than normal could be a sign he is building up gas. I think the real key in his management is watching out for the very early signs things might not be ok. Regular exercise helps keep the bowels moving and ensuring he doesn't get cold so he tucks up and either traps some gase or slows down the digestive system. It is a constant worry and in reality you never know what you might turn up to at the yard. I hope your horse continues to recover well and that you don't have any further episodes.
 
Joined
21 April 2006
Messages
380
Hello Durham girl you are probably quite close to me - I live in Gateshead but I livery in County Durham. My little horse had colic surgery nearly 14months ago - left dorsal displacement, and yes since then life has been er.. interesting.
She colicked for a second time in the hospital and vet initially thought it was a recurrence of the displacement, so we prepared for the worst. But she came round from the sedation and, bright eyed, asked to be out for grass, so she survived that one. There have been several more colics, two really bad times, around Christmas last year and in May of this year, when she was colicking every other day it seemed, and the vet was never away. Eventually diagnosed with IBS and put on a longish term course of steroids. Shes had a steroids course twice. The vet now leaves me a colic 'kit' so I can take the first steps of intervention with her rather than call the vet, and that seems to work.
The worst thing in the recovery though was an allergic reaction to the suture material which meant she was abcessing through her incision line which eventually took 5 months to close. And she continue to abcess, it was bursting out anywhere along bottom of her belly which was extremely unpleasant. Finally I thought we had another large abcess about to burst and it was taking ages, vet said - no abcess - thats a hernia. So she has been left with IBS and a hernia.
Feed wise - yes she gets sloppy feed and extra water at times in addition to her auto drinker. She just gets chaff n sugar beet and obvs haylage. She is in at night to avoid her gorging on our sparse paddock - head down all the time. She finishes a large haynet in half an hour so I'm learning just to put up with that and leave her. Its hard.
However its not all doom and gloom though. She returned to ridden work in late January and we have done several dressage competitions since. TODAY!! - we did our first sj comp since surgery and she won :)
So life at the end of the tunnel, but for us it was a long long tunnel. xxx
 

Swida

New Member
Joined
9 November 2018
Messages
1
Hello Durham girl you are probably quite close to me - I live in Gateshead but I livery in County Durham. My little horse had colic surgery nearly 14months ago - left dorsal displacement, and yes since then life has been er.. interesting.
She colicked for a second time in the hospital and vet initially thought it was a recurrence of the displacement, so we prepared for the worst. But she came round from the sedation and, bright eyed, asked to be out for grass, so she survived that one. There have been several more colics, two really bad times, around Christmas last year and in May of this year, when she was colicking every other day it seemed, and the vet was never away. Eventually diagnosed with IBS and put on a longish term course of steroids. Shes had a steroids course twice. The vet now leaves me a colic 'kit' so I can take the first steps of intervention with her rather than call the vet, and that seems to work.
The worst thing in the recovery though was an allergic reaction to the suture material which meant she was abcessing through her incision line which eventually took 5 months to close. And she continue to abcess, it was bursting out anywhere along bottom of her belly which was extremely unpleasant. Finally I thought we had another large abcess about to burst and it was taking ages, vet said - no abcess - thats a hernia. So she has been left with IBS and a hernia.
Feed wise - yes she gets sloppy feed and extra water at times in addition to her auto drinker. She just gets chaff n sugar beet and obvs haylage. She is in at night to avoid her gorging on our sparse paddock - head down all the time. She finishes a large haynet in half an hour so I'm learning just to put up with that and leave her. Its hard.
However its not all doom and gloom though. She returned to ridden work in late January and we have done several dressage competitions since. TODAY!! - we did our first sj comp since surgery and she won :)
So life at the end of the tunnel, but for us it was a long long tunnel. xxx
Hi pepsimaxrock what was the treatment for the hernia? My boy has had colic surgery, due to go out after four months box rest and now has a hernia. Did your girl have to have hernia surgery? Just seems never ending so great to hear you got back riding and competing. Hope all is still well x
 
Joined
21 April 2006
Messages
380
Hi pepsimaxrock what was the treatment for the hernia? My boy has had colic surgery, due to go out after four months box rest and now has a hernia. Did your girl have to have hernia surgery? Just seems never ending so great to hear you got back riding and competing. Hope all is still well x
Hi there she hasn’t had any treatment for the hernia - just exercise. Up until Xmas we’ve had an amazing few years and no colic since September 2017. She’s lame right now but I hope it’s manageable xx
 
Joined
16 August 2015
Messages
24
Hello Durham girl you are probably quite close to me - I live in Gateshead but I livery in County Durham. My little horse had colic surgery nearly 14months ago - left dorsal displacement, and yes since then life has been er.. interesting.
She colicked for a second time in the hospital and vet initially thought it was a recurrence of the displacement, so we prepared for the worst. But she came round from the sedation and, bright eyed, asked to be out for grass, so she survived that one. There have been several more colics, two really bad times, around Christmas last year and in May of this year, when she was colicking every other day it seemed, and the vet was never away. Eventually diagnosed with IBS and put on a longish term course of steroids. Shes had a steroids course twice. The vet now leaves me a colic 'kit' so I can take the first steps of intervention with her rather than call the vet, and that seems to work.
The worst thing in the recovery though was an allergic reaction to the suture material which meant she was abcessing through her incision line which eventually took 5 months to close. And she continue to abcess, it was bursting out anywhere along bottom of her belly which was extremely unpleasant. Finally I thought we had another large abcess about to burst and it was taking ages, vet said - no abcess - thats a hernia. So she has been left with IBS and a hernia.
Feed wise - yes she gets sloppy feed and extra water at times in addition to her auto drinker. She just gets chaff n sugar beet and obvs haylage. She is in at night to avoid her gorging on our sparse paddock - head down all the time. She finishes a large haynet in half an hour so I'm learning just to put up with that and leave her. Its hard.
However its not all doom and gloom though. She returned to ridden work in late January and we have done several dressage competitions since. TODAY!! - we did our first sj comp since surgery and she won :)
So life at the end of the tunnel, but for us it was a long long tunnel. xxx
Hi Pepsimax, for some reason I’ve only just seen your reply to my post over two years ago! Glad to hear your girl is doing well after colic surgery and associated complications...what a worry it must have been 😕 It’s been almost two and a half years since my girl had surgery and thank god she is fine and there have been no further episodes. It was such an awful time. I hope you’re able to manage and support her through the current lameness issue. Wishing you well x
 
Joined
16 August 2015
Messages
24
One of mine had colic surgery in 2007- turned out to be a cecal impaction with a very low survival rate (just 15% chance at the time I was told). He survived surgery, nearly died of hyperlipeama a few days later, but made it home. We had a blip about 16 weeks post surgery, with another colic. Then a blip at 5 months when he ended up back in hospital and had to be tubed and kept on a drip.

We were told that his type of colic was caused by a gut motility problem and that about 80% of horses would die from it within the first 2 years. We actually managed nearly 4 fantastic years- had an absolute blast doing farm and hunt rides, before one evening in spring 2011 he colicked again and I felt that the time was right.

He had had small colicky bouts over the 4 years but nothing that required any veterinary attention. But this one required the vet twice in one night and I realised the end had come.

When he went in for surgery, we had no idea what type of impaction he had as all the vets could tell us was that he had a significant mass in his abdomen and up into his ribcage.

Tips for a good recovery- once the box rest/field rest stage is over, keep them moving- lots of turnout and exercise. We fed my lad like he was a veteran with minimal teeth ( he wasn't, he was 14) - very wet feeds. He ate only soaked hay, nothing dry. He had gut balancers to help with his gut motility problems.
Thanks Scats for your reply but very sorry to hear about your boy
 
Joined
16 August 2015
Messages
24
I am another one who has had a horse go through colic surgery for a twisted gut in 2007. He coliced regularly prior to the surgery and also has done so since the surgery, impactions, spasmodic, gas, entrapments etc. To help counteract impactions, I have used Global Herbs clear out supplement, also have found giving a good dose of Epsom Salts in a pony nut soup made with warm water very useful. For gas, Global Herbs fennel is very good too. I am very vigilant to monitoring him, his behaviour, his water intake, his poops etc. Slighter harder than normal poops means he could be getting impacted, slightly softer than normal could be a sign he is building up gas. I think the real key in his management is watching out for the very early signs things might not be ok. Regular exercise helps keep the bowels moving and ensuring he doesn't get cold so he tucks up and either traps some gase or slows down the digestive system. It is a constant worry and in reality you never know what you might turn up to at the yard. I hope your horse continues to recover well and that you don't have any further episodes.
Thanks for your reply vetsbestfriend. I hope your boy continues to do well. My girl recovered well and no further episodes thank goodness but I’m monitoring always and the worry never quite goes away. Sorry for late reply - almost two and a half years ago!
 
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