Thursday, February 4, 2010

Maisie Gives Me a Scare

Maisie had a brief colic attack last night. She was fine when she came in, but I got a call from the lady who does our PM weekday feedings - she's very observant which is a great thing for our barn. Maisie was not touching her hay or dinner, was standing with her head in the corner, and was pawing and looking at her sides. When I got there, she looked unhappy - pinched eyes, breathing a little hard and very bloated - she looked pregnant. Her gums looked good, and she wasn't dehydrated (that I could tell - she has a heavy coat so doing the pinch test is hard). She did pass a small pile of manure, but it was pretty hard.

She's had bad impaction colics twice since I've had her, and both times we were lucky - at least part of the impaction was within reach of the vet's hand and the dosings with mineral oil and water did the trick. On the first occasion, when I had her boarded, she had to spend several days at the vet clinic and have multiple doses of oil. On the second occasion, the vet came to our barn and dosed her here, and she recovered more quickly. We use heated buckets and tanks at our barn, so the horses tend to drink (the boarding barn I was at when she coliced the first time did not have heated buckets and Maisie prefers warm water). As a precaution, I also add plain (uniodized) table salt to her feed to encourage drinking. I don't use electrolytes as they can increase urination.

I took her out of the stall and took a closer look. Her head was down and she was quiet, although she was still able to interact with us. She had high and low gut sounds on both sides, which was good. We walked very briskly up and down the barn aisle for a while - Maisie almost had to trot. I didn't give her any Banamine because I wanted to see if it would resolve on its own, and Banamine can reduce gut function, which can be a bad idea with an impaction. I would have also called my vet before giving her any. After a while, she started to let out some gas - lots and lots of gas. I put her back in the stall to see what she'd do. She passed more manure - not quite as hard. I put a chair in front of her stall and put the stall guard up and sat there for a while with her. She still wasn't interested in a treat or a handful of grain. More gas passed through. Bob the barn cat was sitting on my lap and she was enjoying "snuff-a-whuffing" him - she loves cats and I'm always amazed how gentle she is with them - she sniffs them and gently ruffles their fur. After about 15 more minutes she was clearly hungry. I didn't give her her PM feeding, but left her some hay to eat.

Before I went to bed, I went to check on her. She was resting quietly, had eaten her hay and there was more manure. This morning, she was completely normal. There was lots of manure - a normal amount - I pay a lot of attention to this with her because any reduction in the amount of manure can mean that there's an impaction brewing even if she's not yet in any pain. The manure was still dryer than I'd like, so we'll be keeping a close eye on her. I think this was just a gas attack due to the new round bales we got several days ago.


21 comments:

  1. I am so glad she's feeling better and it seemed to resolve on it's own quickly.

    Colic is so very scary. I hate it. I wish there was a vaccine against colic! Our babies are so danged delicate in so many ways.

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  2. When you have one that's prone to colic, you start paying attention to manure: how often, how much, and how hard. Glad you dodged a bullet this time.

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  3. Glad it resolved easily, good catch! by your pm feed person. Nice if you can catch it early enough to handle it easily

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  4. It's always a scary time when they get colic, I'm so glad she seems to have recovered so well.

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  5. Very scary - it's lucky you have observant PM feeders and that you're able to keep her stalled where you can see if her behavior changes. Good catch all round, and so glad she's doing well!

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  6. Colic is one of the things that scares me the most. I'm glad Maisie's resolved on it's own. I've been through the oil and walking etc...it's good that your p.m. barn person noticed this and you could work with her. I find it amazing how gentle a huge animal can be with a tiny little creature like a cat too. She's a sweetheart.

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  7. Oh, I hate colic. As soon as you wrote that she was bloated, plus the new barn--I thought gas colic. It seems, with my horses anyway, when I switch their location and they're around new horses, they get a bit stressed and prone to gas colic. Whew--glad it resolved itself--and good for you that you have an observant feeder in the PMs!!!

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  8. Glad that Maisie is ok - thank goodness the PM chores person noticed the signs and called you right away!

    I just went through my first minor impaction colic with Rusty in Dec. - luckily one dose of oil/water helped him out...

    Not fun at all!

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  9. Whew. What a relief. Appreciate you delinieating all your actions and the easons for them, it gives some excellent guidance.

    How cute that she likes playing with cats! I've never heard of that before.

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  10. Glad she's okay! Panama had a mild bout of gas colic once, but luckily he doesn't seem to be prone to it. It was scary, though!

    Panama is really interested in both dogs and cats, but has yet to meet one that will let him get close enough to investigate. I don't know how gentle he would be with a cat -- he sees dogs as potential playmates, and isn't above giving our dogs a friendly nip on their backs (like he would another horse, except gentler) if they are on leash and within his reach.

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  11. oh, that's always scary - even the mild ones have me up all night checking... glad to hear she's ok!

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  12. Colic is always a worry. So often, there just doesn't seem to be any specific cause that you can point to either.

    Hope Maisie continues to feel better, and it sounds as if she will.

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  13. Geez, keep posting these things you experience and learn (as in your last post). I gain so much from you!

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  14. I'm glad Maisie is feeling better. Colic is such a scary thing. She'll be in my thoughts!

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  15. Nothing gives me more gray horses than episodes like that! Glad it seemed to resolve itself with minimal drama. I was stressed just reading your post.

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  16. Melissa - I think you meant to say "gray hairs" but gray horses sounds about right in your case!

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  17. Poop is always a good sign! Something that all animal people understand. . gut sounds and poop are music and art to the ears and eyes!

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  18. Geesh, I think I need to read what I type! But then again gray horses do tend to multiply around here!

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  19. I am so happy that Maisie is better!!!! I love that she loves up the barn cat. And that mix-up with gray horses/hairs was so funny - it is easy to see what we horse people think about ALL THE TIME!!!!

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  20. Oh Maisie Mare! That was so uncomfortable and I am so glad it was gas this time!
    Thanks for all you wrote about it all...yes, the observant person I praise!
    Cute too about her joy of the cat!
    KK

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