Colic-like symptoms, but pretty sure it's not colic?

My 14 year old Saddlebred is having strange issues. We recently moved him to our own property. This was about three weeks ago. 13 days after he got there, I went out to feed him. After he ate, he looked strange. He just sat there. He’s a cribber, and he religiously cribs after every meal, but he didn’t. About 15 minutes later, he began laying down. He was not rolling, just laying there and closing his eyes. He would then stand back up He had few gut sounds, but he was passing manure. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything. I checked his temperature, which was normal, and his gums were nice and pink. He was given 10cc of Banamine and after that, he looked fine. He began to have more gut movement, began eating a bit of grass, and he drank plenty of water.
Yesterday, 10 days later, he began having similar symptoms. He went down three times, again just laying there. He was eating, but he wasn’t eating too quickly. Usually, he eats as soon as you give him his food, but he had little interest in it yesterday. He had more gut sounds then, but his gums were more white this time. He would not crib again.
He was switched to a new brand of sweet feed about five days before the first episode, and it was an abrupt switch because we were out of our other sweet feed. After that, we began to mix his old and new sweet feed together because we got more. My aunt lives where we are keeping him and my other gelding, so she was coming outside and feeding him apples, carrots, and other treats. We didn’t know she was feeding him, so we were giving him apples too. After the first day of sickness, he stopped getting apples. Yesterday morning, he had a quarter of an apple cut up, and that afternoon, he had the symptoms again. My other gelding also won’t leave him alone; he’s constantly beside him, pushing him off his hay or grass. Could it just be stress? What could be causing these episodes? He also seems very tired.

I have one who regularly does exactly the same thing. I reckon it’s gas. They tense up when it causes a bit of pain, and that makes it harder for them to release it. Banamine stops the pain and relaxes everything. I have found no cause related to this horse’s routine, as nothing had changed and hasn’t for years.

Makes me feel a bit better since that’s exactly what’s happening to him. Once he gets the gas out, he’s back to normal. I’ll keep an eye on him and go from there.

Definitely sounds like a minor gas colic. Reading that, I thought you were talking about a horse I know and take care of! If he gets “blah” and stops cribbing, in goes the banamine and out he comes for a walk. When he cribs again, I know we’re good. :slight_smile: At one point, he did this once a week for a while. Only uncomfortable for 45-60 minutes.

This horse has a few triggers: heat (anhidrosis, but could apply to any horse - any temp 80 or higher and he has a fan on him); not enough water (he’s not a good drinker, and this goes hand in hand with the heat - he gets beet pulp now, but before we wet his feed and gave him a nice soup, which he loves); soy is known to be a trigger for gas colics, hence our switch to beet pulp for this old guy; temperature changes in general are very bad for G.I. systems of sensitive horses, so sometimes you just have to be extra watchful - extra soup for a temperature spike to get more water in them, extra blankets for a sudden temperature drop; regular “exercise,” even just turnout, is good to keep the belly moving.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some tips. But it helps to keep an eye on some of these things to figure out what it is that upsets your guy’s tummy. :slight_smile:

It is colic. Likely being exacerbated by ulcers.

Also, check his deworming history. An amazing number of gas colics disappeared after ivermectin came on the market in the 80’s.

Veterinarians got their evenings back.

Ulcers and/or gas colic, sounds like. Those changes and a history of cribbing makes me think ulcers.

Do you have access to Triple Crown Feed? As soon as you can, get him switched over to Triple Crown Complete, and stop feeding the ‘sweet feed’. If the budget allows, definitely consider scoping for ulcers. If the budget does not allow, perhaps use the special Smart Gut and Smart Digest products from SmartPak. I think they have finally made Smart Digest Ultra in a pellet form, which IMO was long overdue.

I would imagine the stress of moving exacerbated his ulcers (which were probably already present, as cribbing is a sign) which in turn made him more sensitive to minor gas colic and other tummy troubles. I would treat for ulcers and get him off the sweet feed. Get some alfalfa pellets or cubes and a low NSC feed (love TC senior). Might not be a bad idea to try a probiotic too.

Is he UTD on worming? Teeth good? Not dropping weight?

Some horses just get gas. It can be a result of different pasture plants.eg clover.

On what basis can all you guys jump to all these unfounded conclusions ?

What unfounded conclusions?

Be careful of the sweet feed. Is he in heavy work? If not, why are you feeding him sweet feeds or even grain at all? The information coming out nowadays promotes the use of oils to keep weight on, rather than grains.

http://www.ker.com/library/advances/311.pdf
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=2816
http://www.myhorseuniversity.com/resources/eTips/January_2010/Didyouknow

going through something like this with my old guy who just came across the country. Apparently it was a rough crossing,but the haulers slowed down the trip to let him spend more time off the trailer, banamine’d him as needed. I am hoping he will settle in, regain hydration, and things will start moving regularly for him again!

But…he does have episodes where he flags his tail - very funny angle. He farts like…well, a LOT! He cramps up, he won’t eat. Looks very uncomfortable. He was passing manure but it was very, very dry.

What I have done (when crampy)

  1. Banamine. So far, have given it four times since he has been home.

  2. Pulled his hay. Now he only gets soaked hay.

  3. Made a mash with his senior feed, bran, salt and warm water. He will NOT eat mashes other wise, no hay cubes, no apples or apple sauce, no carrots, no molasses, nothing. But…he will eat his senior feed so that’s what I use.

Vet has been and he has had two rectals and one tubing. This morning he was just farting and agitated, kicking at his stomach, not eating. Banamine (full dose), lots of walking, no poop. Rectal found poop but very dry, so tubed. Now just getting his “mash” and if that works out, a soaked flake of hay.Vet did not think ulcers but i certainly have that in mind.

He has not been wormed yet this spring so that is also scheduled.

I will say that Buscopan worked VERY well and so quickly on him after one episode! Wow!

hope your boy gets some relief too (and you as well!!!)

[QUOTE=jessandsunny;7592694]My 14 year old Saddlebred is having strange issues. We recently moved him to our own property. This was about three weeks ago. 13 days after he got there, I went out to feed him. After he ate, he looked strange. He just sat there. He’s a cribber, and he religiously cribs after every meal, but he didn’t. About 15 minutes later, he began laying down. He was not rolling, just laying there and closing his eyes. He would then stand back up He had few gut sounds, but he was passing manure. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything. I checked his temperature, which was normal, and his gums were nice and pink. He was given 10cc of Banamine and after that, he looked fine. He began to have more gut movement, began eating a bit of grass, and he drank plenty of water.
Yesterday, 10 days later, he began having similar symptoms. He went down three times, again just laying there. He was eating, but he wasn’t eating too quickly. Usually, he eats as soon as you give him his food, but he had little interest in it yesterday. He had more gut sounds then, but his gums were more white this time. He would not crib again.
He was switched to a new brand of sweet feed about five days before the first episode, and it was an abrupt switch because we were out of our other sweet feed. After that, we began to mix his old and new sweet feed together because we got more. My aunt lives where we are keeping him and my other gelding, so she was coming outside and feeding him apples, carrots, and other treats. We didn’t know she was feeding him, so we were giving him apples too. After the first day of sickness, he stopped getting apples. Yesterday morning, he had a quarter of an apple cut up, and that afternoon, he had the symptoms again. My other gelding also won’t leave him alone; he’s constantly beside him, pushing him off his hay or grass. Could it just be stress? What could be causing these episodes? He also seems very tired.[/QUOTE]

Choke? That’s what I would check for first. Easy test: Offer him a carrot. If he won’t take it or chews but doesn’t swallow it, bingo! It’s often recurrent after the first time, and happens more often in cribbers who like to swallow air as they eat.

Some of them definitely mimic colic, are QUITE dramatic, up to and including pacing, sweating, throwing themselves down and rolling, but like gas colic, it usually passes in a few minutes without Banamine. BTW, if he IS choked, you won’t be able to get paste Banamine in him, but an effective method for those who aren’t trained to administer IV injections is to draw the IV Banamine up in the syringe, remove the needle, and squirt it on the mucous membranes in the mouth; it gets uptaken nearly as fast as if you’d injected it. That’s not a bad thing to do anytime you suspect Choke–it calms down the pain and inflammation so he can clear it easier, and maybe save you a tubing.

The only way to be sure it won’t happen is to give him his feed wet, which can be a PITA. I’ve weaned several off of needing that, however. Beware of any situation that can encourage bolting of feed, like competitive nearby horses.

I would NOT allow “civilians” (non-horse-people) to feed my horses treats. Especially apples, a risk of both choke and sugar metabolism problems.

Best of luck!

Without a doubt, ulcers.

^^ My thoughts as well.

[QUOTE=jessandsunny;7592694]My 14 year old Saddlebred is having strange issues. We recently moved him to our own property. This was about three weeks ago. 13 days after he got there, I went out to feed him. After he ate, he looked strange. He just sat there. He’s a cribber, and he religiously cribs after every meal, but he didn’t. About 15 minutes later, he began laying down. He was not rolling, just laying there and closing his eyes. He would then stand back up He had few gut sounds, but he was passing manure. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything. I checked his temperature, which was normal, and his gums were nice and pink. He was given 10cc of Banamine and after that, he looked fine. He began to have more gut movement, began eating a bit of grass, and he drank plenty of water.
Yesterday, 10 days later, he began having similar symptoms. He went down three times, again just laying there. He was eating, but he wasn’t eating too quickly. Usually, he eats as soon as you give him his food, but he had little interest in it yesterday. He had more gut sounds then, but his gums were more white this time. He would not crib again.
He was switched to a new brand of sweet feed about five days before the first episode, and it was an abrupt switch because we were out of our other sweet feed. After that, we began to mix his old and new sweet feed together because we got more. My aunt lives where we are keeping him and my other gelding, so she was coming outside and feeding him apples, carrots, and other treats. We didn’t know she was feeding him, so we were giving him apples too. After the first day of sickness, he stopped getting apples. Yesterday morning, he had a quarter of an apple cut up, and that afternoon, he had the symptoms again. My other gelding also won’t leave him alone; he’s constantly beside him, pushing him off his hay or grass. Could it just be stress? What could be causing these episodes? He also seems very tired.[/QUOTE]

I have bolded every reason from your post that points to ulcers.

Stress from relocation
Cribbing
Sweet Feed
Picky eating
Being bullied by herd mates (stress)

Ditch the sweet feed; make sure he has plenty of turnout and forage (you didn’t mention what he’s eating other than sweet feed but his diet needs to be hay/grass based for a healthy gut).

Is he on grass now and wasn’t before?

He would get x-tra strength Gas-x at our barn, which we always give with any signs of colicy distress, per the vet. It will not hurt him if it is not the source of the problem.1 tab per 100 lbs.

[QUOTE=Equibrit;7593721]Some horses just get gas. It can be a result of different pasture plants.eg clover.

On what basis can all you guys jump to all these unfounded conclusions ?[/QUOTE]

Just because a horse isn’t necessarily going to die from gas, doesn’t mean gas episodes should be ignored. In fact, I think it’s cruel, ignorant, and stupid to ignore it.

If I get stomach cramps from gas, damn skippy I’m going to figure out what I ate that caused it, and I’m going to avoid that food or combination of foods. Why wouldn’t you want to do the same for your horse?

Treatment for recurrent gas can be so easy - trade grain for concentrated roughage and oil, add some baking soda during grass season. Or, if necessary, treat for ulcers and hindgut ulcers, and go for the more expensive than baking soda belly support supplements to be on the safe side.

Signed,

She who will never eat popcorn and drink lemonade together again because that gas episode 25 years ago had me thinking I was about to die