Post colic surgery question

Hi all,

My horse underwent colic surgery 2 months ago. She was supposed to have one more month of turn out before getting back to work, but the surgeon now says that she has a “functional hernia” and will need an additional 3 months off (6 months in total). He said that this kind of thing “just happens” sometimes, and he recommended a hernia belt.

I’m curious why this belt wasn’t recommended before the hernia got to where it is. My horse’s abdomen was never wrapped after surgery. However, I’ve looked up lots of post-op photos of horses online, and they all seem to be wrapped with elasticon or a hernia belt while still on an IV. Did my vet make a mistake here?

Thank you in advance!

P.s. Any tips on healing hernias quickly would be greatly appreciated. <3

I am not sure you can say your vet made a mistake. When my horse had colic surgery he recovered quickly and uneventfully. He never wore a hernia belt or had any belly wraps. When another horse I know had colic surgery (at a different hospital) he wore a belt from the time of the surgery until about 1 month after he came home. His recovery was also uneventful.

If may be that different hospitals have different protocols or if may have something to do with the actual surgery but I don’t think you can say one way or the other is always correct.

I am sorry about your horse and hope he heals quickly.

I agree with the poster above. It may be different protocol or it may be something to do with each surgery. My horse that had a very uncomplicated colic surgery ten years ago didn’t have one but I’ve seen others have them.

My mare that had colic surgery did not wear the wrap/belt initially, but after she had to go back to the clinic with what turned out to be an incision infection, she did go into a belly band for the remainder of her recovery. She still ended up with a hernia, presumably due to the infection. It wasn’t very big so we did not go back to repair it. She went back to work just fine and just had kind of a “pointy belly” look to her.

The belly band was a PITA to deal with – took two of us to put it on, moved around all the time, and was really expensive IIRC. But maybe they have better options now – my mare’s surgery was about 20 years ago (I only just did the math and was kind of shocked it had been that long!).

My horse had colic surgery 7 years ago, they had wrapped his belly while at the hospital he was there for almost 2 weeks. He had a complicated surgery which involved bypass of the cecum. They suggested I purchase the $500.00 belt. Which i did. at that point my bill was around $14,000 so what’s another $500.00. After we got to the re-hab farm he didn’t have to wear it until he was on small turnout. When they put the belt on him he treated it as a bucking strap and went crazy bucking and rearing… LOL… So, they ended up not using it. In retrospect I would have not gotten the belt. Just stuck with the wrapping. You can look on Ebay and purchase one used. I sold mine on there and lost my shirt but got something back for it. Once and while you can find one used. Just get the correct size. And for the record, my guy has a pointy belly. That will stay forever. He was 19 when he had the surgery.

My mare was lucky enough to have two colic surgeries w/in an 8 month span. Both displacements of large colon (different directions), and uneventful surgeries. She did not have a belly band on either occasion. She did have weird fairly heavy wire “stitches” on round 2…No hernias.

Wow! Two colic surgeries within an 8 month period. I don’t know what I would do if I was faced with that again in such a short period. I am just going through post surgery on my gelding 1 month out and I can’t believe the care that is involved let alone the $$ that I’ve already put into him. Not that he’s not worth it to me but I don’t think I could afford this again in such a short span of time.
Were the colic surgeries related in any way? I’ve heard that once they have surgery, they are prone to colic more often than those who have not had surgery. I don’t know if there is any truth to this but I can’t live my life worrying if my horse is going to colic every time I turn around. Right now, I am just doing my best giving him the care he needs and he is doing quite well. I have realized that he has become very finicky about what he eats now. Has anyone else’s horse changed their eating habits? Hopefully, over time he will get back to eating his vitamins/minerals/supplements like before. :slight_smile: