The Dreaded ‘C’ Word

The Dreaded ‘C’ Word

In the horse world, the dreaded ‘c’ word is colic. Two weeks ago Misty mildly colicked, and of course, it scared the crud out of me. It was one of those days where the high temperature for the day was about 16 degrees, naturally.

I fed my horses around 8:00 that morning and all was well. Misty happily ate her grain like normal, and then went to feast on the large piles of hay I spread out in the dry lot. I noticed, however, that there wasn’t any water missing from their bucket, so it was clear that no one had drank overnight. Hmm. Not good. I have a heated water bucket, and the joys of not having to break ice and/or carry water this winter has been overwhelmingly wonderful.

Nothing had changed – their bucket was clean, the water was the same, etc. And that morning, even though no one had drank, everyone appeared normal, munching on their hay. I dumped their water out, gave their bucket a thorough cleaning, refilled it, and went inside to work.

Winter 2015

From my office window, I can see the side field and dry lot, and everything was as it should be. Then around 9:30 or 10:00, I saw Misty lie down. Huh – her ‘naptime’ is typically between 11:00 and 1:00 (working from home affords me the luxury of being very intimate with my horses’ schedules!). Her sleeping while there was still hay to be eaten was definitely odd.

Then she got up. And then laid back down. Then rolled. Then got up again. Uh oh. I dressed quickly and went out to check on her. Interestingly, I heard plenty of gut sounds, and then she passed manure. I felt like these were pretty good signs, but she was still in obvious distress as she went pathetically into her stall, laid down again, and just looked overall uncomfortable.

Back inside I went to change into my ‘I’m going to be outside for quite some time clothes,’ and called the vet, who said she’d be there in 20 minutes – thank goodness!! In the meantime, I took Misty for a walk around the dry lot, which was difficult because there was still a good amount of snow on the ground.

Misty seemed a little perkier by the time my vet arrived, but it was obvious by looking at her dry, white gums that she was very dehydrated. She gave her a shot of pain meds, and then a ‘cocktail’ because Misty wouldn’t allow herself to be tubed without a little sedation. My vet flushed her with plenty of fluids and oil, and by the time she left, Misty seemed back to normal. Quite frankly, she was really ticked off at life, (so, normal Misty).

My husband came out and dumped and scrubbed the water bucket again, just to be safe, and I took a trip to my feed store for some electrolytes. Knock on wood, Misty and the gang have been fine since, and have been consuming their normal amounts of water. I’m not sure what happened that night to cause everyone to stop drinking, but I’m so happy that Traveller and Komie didn’t colic as well.

Spring, you cannot get here soon enough!!

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