Impaction colic recovery

My mare is currently at UF recovering from an impaction colic. She’s the one that will eat just about anything. The hay scraps the others leave. She’s like a vacuum and is very adept at chewing holes in the slow feeders. I always worried her voracious appetite would make her sick.

She has started passing manure and they think the impaction has passed, if it isn’t something more serious. Planning to see if she will eat some grass. She was having some muscle tremors last night, but looked better this morning. They have stopped fluids and pain medication. She’s standing up, but has very tight muscles in her neck.

Just wondering what the time frame is for recovery?

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My mare has had mild impaction colic that resolves with banamine, molasses tea, and a good nap. But they are not that serious. We had 4 one winter I had her sedated and tubed for one but it didn’t really speed things up that much over just waiting it out. All those extra interventions take their toll.

For my mare it was a combination of a bad twiggy bale of alfalfa and not drinking enough. Moved her water bucket close to her hay, monitored intake over the winter, cut out the alfalfa and all good since

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As with most colics requiring a hospital stay or round the clock care for medical management, the refeeding process is a bit slow, and you just want to make sure she handles that ok and doesn’t get cramps again, etc. Time period depends on what she was eating to begin with. For example, if she was on some alfalfa, then that’s going to be the last thing added back in, at a point where a horse on grass or grass hay only would have already been done with refeeding.

Considering how fast your horse eats, you will want to be extra cautious the first couple of days at least. My horse had a mild displacement that resolved medically so different issue but similar refeeding plan afterwards. He could have been released one evening from the hospital, but I left him there an extra night so they could come by on their regular checks and toss him a little bit more food for those 16ish extra hours. And he’s normally not one to bolt his food. He was hungry enough though that when I went to pick him up, instead of hesitating a little to get on the trailer, one whiff of a Mrs. Pastures cookie and he practically LEAPT on.

I followed their refeeding plan, and he did still get a bit crampy the following evening, which resolved with walking (did not even need banamine but was given the OK to give that if needed), so we backed off the amount a little more conservatively than instructed. And I believe I dampened his hay at first also. Took a week I think to get him back on some alfalfa, but a few days to get back up to his normal grass hay ration after coming home.

The recovery time frame is how ever long it takes your mare. She’ll tell you how she feels. Start on food slow and watch how she reacts to it. She’s likely to be body sore from pain and tension, sore from needles and tubing, dehydrated, gassy, and with some sore guts. It all depends on how big and angry the impaction was and how long she had it. It sounds like she is improving, so that’s great.

Is she chews holes in the slow feeder hay net, those fibers maybe aren’t good for her to ingest?


As for hay nets, she is smart enough to use her teeth like scissors and picks at one strand until she can snap it. She knows she can make a hole in the net and eat faster. I don’t think she is eating the net itself.

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She was brighter this morning and interested in grass but ate only a mouthful of hay before turning her nose up. Then she went to the back of the stall and was looking back towards her stomach. Not certain we are through this yet…


I have never known a hearty appetite to cause impaction colic. Insufficient water intake for all the dry matter she is eating is what I was always told. If by chance she is ingesting bits of hay net I wonder if that might be a contributor?

I wouldn’t use those anymore if she destroys them.

I have dealt with only a couple of impaction colics and they resolved completely in a couple of days.

Just through this w my 19 yo mare. very easy keeper. has never even had gas colic but developed a severe impaction colic. at Vet hospital for 2.5 days. this was Feb 25. Just said to someone this morning that I finally felt like she was back to herself. I moved her from a stall w run w an auto waterer to one that did not so I could better monitor water intake. Also added salt to feed. always added water to her grain but increased that too. Lots of hand walking the first week then tack walking for next week & trial rides. Just added canter back to her rides this past weekend. still watching her closely w crazy spring weather ups and downs. I use the corner hay slow feeder from SS tack and love them. have them in several stalls