The Horse

OCT 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 51 | The Horse October 2018 21 He says around 15% of hospitalized colic surgery patients develop incision site infections, which can manifest as swelling, pain, and/or drainage. Infections in the body wall can lead to hernias. Between Days 2 and 3 postop, NCSU staff members begin reintroducing feed slowly. Some horses colic again during this time, especially if adhesions are form- ing between intestines and the abdominal wall, says Blikslager. After about a week the horse should be ready to go home, presuming he did not have any serious complications and hasn't colicked again. Once home, confine the horse to a stall for a month, then to a small paddock for a month, and then return to exercise slowly during the third month. It might take another three months for the horse to return to his previous level of condi- tioning if he was an athlete. While return to full performance can take up to six months, says Blikslager, rehab modali- ties, such as underwater treadmills, can shorten that period. Long-term survival rates often depend on how long the colic had been going on before the horse went to surgery. The biggest risk to survival involves adhe- sion formation. If a horse colics again, it becomes more difficult to save him with a second surgery. When Surgery Isn't an Option Sometimes surgery isn't an option be- cause of finances, logistics (no way to get to a referral hospital), etc. In this case the best option is to try to manage the horse medically, whether under your veterinar- ian's care at home or at the referral center. "Waiting for the horse to respond to medical treatment is a reasonable ap- proach if the horse is not showing severe signs of distress or pain," says Freeman. However, some horses might have certain types of life-threatening colic that simply cannot be fixed. There's nothing you can do to resolve a strangulating obstruction without surgery, for instance. "Dead or dying bowel will not fix itself medically," says Williams. But if the horse has a nonstrangulating obstruction, you have more options for managing it medically. Therefore, when surgery isn't an op- tion, determining whether an obstruction is strangulating or nonstrangulating is of utmost importance when coming up with a treatment plan, says Williams. (Learn what types of colic require refer- ral at In Summary Form your colic plan for each horse before an emergency arises. And consider purchasing equine major medical insur- ance, which can help make the decision to send a horse to life-saving surgery an easy one. "Great communication is imperative to outcome, and the more that has been set up prior to colic, the smoother things may go once a situation arises," says Williams. There are many ways to help improve a colicking horse's odds. Proper preparation and advances in colic care mean it's no longer the death sentence it once was. h Satisfaction guaranteed. The horse that matters to you matters to us® Call 859-873-2974 or visit to order today. Providing complete support for a healthy digestive tract, which reduces the risk of colic and digestive upset in older horses. … when t' just ou nd our horse. … when t' just ou nd our horse. … when t' just ou nd our horse. The feeling you get… It's why we do what we do. Neigh-Lox ® Advanced TH 2018-07

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Horse - OCT 2018