horse colic

Should I give my horse an enema if they have colic

Should I give my horse an enema if they have colic?

Administering an enema without the instruction or presence of your veterinarian can lead to serious complications. Instead, if you suspect your horse has colic, you should call your veterinarian who will be able to perform all procedures safely and efficiently. Things to consider before administering an Enema to your Horse The horse’s rectum is very fragile and, even if you’ve given an enema to another horse previously, you can cause rectal tears. Such tears can lead to secondary peritonitis, which is inflammation of the abdominal lining – a condition which can be fatal.  Enemas can also make your horse strain causing unnecessary pain and can often worsen the condition. In addition, enemas are rarely useful in horses older than newborns as the intestinal tract is large and the impaction may simply be out of reach of the enema solution. If a horse has impaction colic, there are other steps which can be taken, including: Consult a Qualified Veterinarian Providing enemas to horses is often a contentious issue. However, regardless of your opinion on the use of enemas, no medical procedure should be done without the instruction or presence of a qualified veterinarian. If you suspect your horse has colic, including impaction colic, the first step you should take is to call your veterinarian. They will be able to examine your horse, make a diagnosis, and implement a treatment plan – safely and efficiently. Read More About Horse Colic

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How do I know if my horse has an enterolith?

If your horse is over the age of 10 and showing recurring colic symptoms, enteroliths may be suspected. When detected early, up to 95% of horses will recover following their surgical removal, but these intestinal stones can be deadly.  Ranging from pea-sized to softball-sized – and sometimes larger – enteroliths are mineral masses which form around foreign matter in the horse’s colon. While small enteroliths may be passed in your horse’s manure, their danger only increases as they grow in size. Made of struvite, vivianite and a mixture of sulfur, sodium, potassium, calcium, titanium, aluminium and nickel, enteroliths restrict the normal movement of food through the digestive tract. In severe cases, the intestine ruptures, leading to death, if the enterolith is large enough to block the intestines from passing injesta. Horses at Risk of Enteroliths Enteroliths are most common in horses above 10 years of age, but they have been seen in foals, so caution must be taken for any horse that’s showing recurring colic symptoms. No breed of horse is immune to enteroliths, although they’re most common in Arabians. Veterinarians have linked three factors to enterolith formation, but the exact reason why some horses develop enteroliths remains unknown. The three most common factors associated with enteroliths are: Diet – Studies suggest lucerne hays, high in minerals, may be linked to enterolith formation, while other studies point to mineral-rich feeds and water sources. Management – Horses allowed access to pasture have a lower risk of enterolith formation compared to stabled horses. This may be linked to movement and even certain bedding choices, such as straw. Genetics – Studies have also found a small number of horses – 10% – have a hereditary link. Dietary and management changes to reduce calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and potassium consumption may be helpful in avoiding enteroliths for these horses. Radiographs should be taken for any horse showing recurring colic symptoms. Only with veterinary  examination will you be able to determine if enteroliths are the cause.

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How do I prevent sand colic?

Sand colic occurs when high levels of sand and dirt are ingested and accumulate in the horse’s digestive tract. However, even small amounts of sand can irritate the gut wall so, by far, prevention is the best way to avoid the dangerous consequences of sand colic.  Here are a few simple ways to prevent sand colic in your horse.  Five ways to prevent sand colic  Don’t feed directly off the ground  When consuming hay and grain off the ground, your horse can ingest sand and dirt, particularly when grazing on loose, sandy soil. For all horses, and especially those in high risk areas, use a feeder to prevent sand ingestion. Concrete and rubber matting are also beneficial if your horse spills their feed. Try to avoid feeding your horse in sandy environments, like your riding arena. Provide plenty of water  When your horse is dehydrated, moisture is leached away from their digestive tract, allowing sand and dirt to accumulate. Every horse should have access to fresh, clean drinking water throughout the day and night. Water and forage, including hay and grass, will keep your horse hydrated, which promotes proper digestion and movement of intestinal contents. Forage – the foundation of a good diet  In nature, horses spend up to 18 hours per day grazing, which has immense benefits for their health and wellbeing. A forage-first diet is essential for every horse, including performance horses. Providing your horse with free-choice forage, such as hay, will support digestive function and prevent sand accumulation. Use a slow feeder or hay net for a longer lasting ration. Manage your pastures wisely  Over-grazed pastures and sandy soils place your horse at greater risk of sand colic. Pasture management is key to sustainable horse keeping. Rotating pastures regularly will encourage healthy grass growth and prevent over-grazing. If your horse is kept on pasture that is quite short, supplement their grazing with hay to reduce the burden. Consider adding psyllium  Finally, feeding the high-fibre dietary laxative psyllium can aid the movement of sand from the digestive tract of horses at risk of sand colic. Read the label carefully and follow dosage instructions. Only use psyllium on an as needed basis as studies have shown prolonged use is ineffective. We also recommend you consult your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist for advice.

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Should I walk my horse if they have colic?

To walk or not to walk – that is the question. But the answer isn’t always clear. If you suspect your horse has colic, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. Only with their recommendation, should you walk your horse during a colic episode.  Put simply, without the advice of a veterinarian, any horse owner may make an incorrect diagnosis and take steps that actually worsen a health problem. This can happen in cases of colic.  Protecting Your Horse’s Health  There are many types of colic, each with their own cause and treatment plan. However, every incidence of colic should be treated as an emergency and involve the support of your veterinarian. They will be able to make an informed diagnosis following examination. On your own, it’s easy to be misled by symptoms if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. In certain cases of colic, preventing a horse from rolling is imperative to avoid a twisted gut. But, how do you know without a veterinary assessment? By far, the best thing you can do for your horse is call your veterinarian immediately when health problems arise. Protecting Your Own Safety However, your veterinarian will only advise to walk the horse if necessary and safe to do so. Making the decision to walk your horse to prevent them from rolling is simply unsafe. A horse with obvious signs of colic can be dangerous. Severe intestinal pain may cause the horse to roll without warning – placing anyone close by at high risk of injury. Instead, any horse showing signs of pain and discomfort should be moved to a safe and fully fenced area, and seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible. No horse owner should make healthcare decisions on their own and, with veterinary support, they don’t have to.  

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What can I do if my horse has colic?

If you suspect your horse has colic, the most important thing you can do is take action immediately. Any colic episode, no matter how mild, has the potential to become life-threatening. Every step you take may directly influence the outcome for your horse.  Identifying colic can be challenging. At times, a horse may exhibit obvious signs of pain, while others may show only small changes in their behaviour. If you suspect your horse has colic – or any potential health problem – don’t just wait and see, do call your veterinarian for their advice. A wait-and-see approach may result in unnecessary delays, which could put your horse’s life at risk. A phone consultation may be all that’s needed to save them from life-threatening illness and help you avoid costly veterinary bills. Now that you understand the importance of calling your veterinarian, here’s a quick overview of the other steps you can take to support your horse when you suspect colic. Check your horse’s vital signs – You should be familiar with your horse’s normal vital signs, as in an increase in body temperature, for example, may be one of the first signs your horse is unwell. These vital statistics should be reported to your veterinarian.  Vital signs consult of heart rate, breathing, temperature and abdominal sounds or gut sounds. Closely monitor your horse – Colic episodes can change from mild to severe in a matter of minutes. If you suspect colic and your veterinarian has been called, keep checking their condition every 15 minutes. If their condition worsens, your veterinarian can be summoned. Walk your horse – Only if recommended by your veterinarian and deemed safe to do so. Up to 60 minutes of brisk walking can help to clear colic. However, any movement higher in intensity should be avoided as horses with colic can tire easily. Withhold food and water – Allowing your horse to eat or drink could worsen the colic, leading to extreme situations such as stomach rupture. Consuming water will also interfere with procedures your veterinarian may need to perform, such as endoscopy. Avoid medicating your horse – This includes giving your horse an enema. After speaking with your veterinarian, they may need to examine your horse to determine the best treatment plan. Any medication should only be given with your veterinarian’s instruction. Keep your horse in a safe area – While you closely monitor your horse’s condition and/or await your veterinarian’s arrival, your horse should be confined to a small paddock or round yard for safety. If your horse is a mare with a foal at foot, keep her foal within sight but at a safe distance. It is also extremely important to monitor faecal output as this can tell your vet a lot of important information.

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My horse has colic symptoms. Could it be Hendra Virus?

Hendra Virus is a  deadly disease with symptoms that mimic those commonly seen during a colic episode. Hendra Virus may be suspected if your horse is unvaccinated against the disease and extreme caution must be taken to minimise its spread.  Many horse owners are already familiar with Hendra Virus, which is a highly infectious disease that is transferred from flying fox to horse, horse to horse and horse to human. Since its discovery in 1994, Hendra Virus poses a 75% mortality rate to horses and 57% mortality rate to humans, however any horse infect with the virus is euthanised so mortality is 100% . As such, vaccination is the only means available to prevent Hendra Virus from affecting you, your horse and your loved ones. Is it Colic or Hendra Virus? For any horse that is unvaccinated against Hendra Virus, a sudden colic episode may be associated with the disease. However, there are several other common signs of Hendra Virus. An afflicted horse may show one or more of these symptoms: Acute onset of illness Increased body temperature Shifting of weight Depression Increased respiratory rate Nasal discharge (clear, white or blood stained) Head tilting or circling Muscle twitching Urinary incontinence Colic If Hendra Virus is suspected and your horse is unvaccinated, a veterinarian may refuse to treat your horse.and euthanasia is required to prevent the disease spreading further. Strict hygiene and quarantine controls must be adhered to when coming into contact with a horse that may have contracted Hendra Virus. Personal protective equipment must be worn and the horse should be placed in quarantine immediately to protect others on the property.

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Can A horse have a beer

Does flat beer help to treat colic?

While there are many crazy wives tales for treating colic – like giving your horse a beer or rescue remedy – a home remedy may simply not be enough to overcome colic. No colic episode should be left unchecked by your veterinarian.  There are many types of colic, each with their own unique causes. While success stories do circulate about horses with colic recovering by drinking a “cold one”, the risks of colic can be deadly and even a mild case can become life-threatening if left untreated.  Diagnosing colic The term ‘colic’ is used to describe any pain or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract of horses. With so many types of colic and numerous health conditions with symptoms that mimic colic, it’s difficult to make a diagnosis without the support of a qualified veterinarian. They have the knowledge and equipment to diagnose the exact type of colic and determine the best course of treatment. Using home remedies without knowing this information is simply taking the gamble that you’ve guessed correctly. Using beer to cure colic Your veterinarian will never advise you to feed your horse a beer if they suspect an incidence of spasmodic, or gas, colic. If your horse recovers from colic after a cold flat beer, it was going to recover anyway.  If you wish to try anything removal of food and short lunges can sometimes help.  Never wait to get a vet if your horse is rolling or thrashing, hasn’t passed manure for 12 hours or hasn’t eaten for 12 hours. However, if you’re unsure about the type of colic, we don’t recommend feeding your horse beer without first seeking the advice of a qualified veterinarian. Any home remedy has the potential to do more harm than good and should be never be used.  

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Why should I get a faecal egg count done?

With worm resistance on the rise, a faecal egg count (FEC), followed by a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT), is paramount to protecting our horses’ long-term health. Without this much needed information, worming is costly at best and ineffective at worst. As a horse owner, you already understand the benefits of worming every 6-12 weeks, but do you actually know if the worming products you’re using are working effectively? A faecal egg count contains the answers… Right now, you can claim a faecal egg count for your horse for just $10! To find out more, call us on (07) 5411 4554 or email [email protected].  What is a faecal egg count?  A faecal egg count is a microscopic examination of your horse’s manure. A fresh sample of manure is collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. There, a precise amount of the manure sample is mixed with a solution and examined under a microscope. What results can I expect from a faecal egg count?  Under microscope, your veterinarian will examine your horse’s manure at low magnifications to count the eggs present. Using a simple calculation, they will then be able to estimate the number of eggs per gram (EPG) to determine if your horse has a low, moderate or high worm burden. It can also identify the types of worms present. When is a faecal egg count needed?  You should conduct a faecal egg count at least twice a year. A faecal egg count should be done one week prior to worming, followed by a faecal egg count reduction test two weeks after. The results of these tests will tell you which worms are present and which wormers will be most effective. How much does a faecal egg count cost?  The cost of a faecal egg count is inexpensive in comparison to the potential and vast health problems caused by ineffective worming. Check with your local laboratory or veterinarian to find out their fees. Remember, the aim of a FEC, followed by a FECRT, is to make your worming program as effective as possible, while reducing the amount of wormer required. Not only do these important tests save you money, but they are imperative to protecting your horse from harmful parasites.

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Can worming my horse cause colic?

While some horses have experienced a colic episode post-worming, it’s not the result of worming itself. In most instances, colic occurs 12 hours after worming when damage has already been done by parasites or in horses that haven’t been wormed regularly.  To understand why this correlation has been drawn, let’s examine this issue closer.  There are two types of colic that have become associated with worming. These are impaction colic and gas, or spasmodic, colic. While these types of colic have been linked to worming by horse owners, the true culprits are roundworms and tapeworms. How do roundworms cause colic? Roundworms reside in the small intestine. When a horse is wormed, roundworms are killed which, in large numbers, can become an obstruction within the small intestine, leading to impaction colic. This scenario most often affects young horses or those that haven’t been de-wormed regularly. How do tapeworms cause colic? Tapeworms cause damage to the intestine and cecum of horses prior to worming. These parasites have been linked to both impaction colic and gas colic. But, most often, this is due to the damage that’s already been done. How do I avoid colic? While some horse owners have concerns about colic post-worming, regular worming is vital to your horse’s long-term digestive health. Without routine worming, the health risks associated with parasites are high and any type of parasite can cause colic if not controlled. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you in developing a worming program for your horses. If your horse hasn’t been wormed recently, speak with your veterinarian. They may advise to give a particular product to kill the worms in stages, the follow up with another product 2 weeks later in certain circumstances.  N.B.  Never give your horse half a dose of wormer, as this promotes resistant worms.

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Will Changing Feeds Cause My Horse to Colic?

A sudden change in diet, including grain, hay and pasture, can lead to colic. When making dietary changes, they must be made gradually to ensure the microbial population in your horse’s hindgut has sufficient time to adjust.  Unfortunately, horse has the most poorly designed digestive system out of any animal, which makes them highly susceptible to health problems related to diet and dietary changes, including colic. However, there are simple steps you can take to prevent this from occurring. But, first, it’s important to understand why rapid feed changes can cause colic. What happens when I change my horse’s diet too quickly? If your horse’s digestive system is exposed to a new diet suddenly, it can lead to a sudden growth of bacteria that are needed to break down the new feed. This, in turn changes the balance of good and bad bacteria (a bit like inner health plus… in the hindgut, which can result in a severe bout of colic. Instead, when making any dietary changes, new grain, hay or pasture should be introduced over 1-2 weeks. How should I change grain? At certain times of year, you may need to change the commercial horse feed your horse consumes. For example, when preparing them for competition. To make this change safely, you should replace approximately 25% of their current feed with their new feed every other day. This should also be done when changing “batches” of hay from the same suppliers. How should I change hay or pasture?  While there are published studies on changing commercial grain-based horse feeds, we recommend you follow a similar rule of thumb as outlined above when introducing new hay. Simply replace approximately 25% of your horse’s hay ration with their new hay every other day. Turnout to a new pasture can be dangerous, particularly during the transition from Winter to Spring, (as explained in this article). Turnout should start with one hour per day in the early morning and increased in half hour increments each day following. When making dietary changes, you should consider consulting your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist. If you notice any changes in manure output, such as diarrhoea, seek advice from a Veterinarian.

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