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Colic and Diet

Updated: May 23, 2022

Last Friday morning, when I went out to feed, Zorro was laying down. Though he is a very dedicated nap taker, he doesn't lay down during breakfast. He did hop up and act sassy as I was preparing breakfast so, I decided to keep an eye on him.

I went and cleaned their shed and picked up poo for awhile. Before I went inside, Zorro was laying down again. Not normal.

I came in the house and grabbed an anti inflammatory paste, gave him some and called the vet. This paste is one I can only give once every 24 hours. Sigh. I kept my eye on him. He got up after about 10 minutes, and followed me around a little bit. Then he went and started eating some. I decided I would continue to watch him.

I checked him every 20-30 minutes. About 2 hours later he was pressing his face against the fence, the fence post, the side of Oliver. Lifting first one hind leg, then the other.

10 minutes later he was down again. I hooked up the trailer and loaded both boys up. We took a load of garbage to the dump, hoping a trailer ride would help loosen things up.

No poo when we got to the nearest town, we made two stops and still no poo.

Called the vet and said we were on our way. It's an hour drive to the clinic and we got behind every single slow ass truck between Ennis and Three Forks - Including a school bus that had a stop 10 feet before the turn off to the clinic 😳🙄.

I stopped and checked him a few times on the drive. He was up, thankfully, but still no poo.

At the vet they tubed him to see if he had food in his tummy. He did. Still no poo, not even when he was distressed about the tube. They decided to start him on an IV with fluids and pain meds. It was also decided he would stay at the clinic for further treatment.

Bloody nose from the nasal tube...

He was at the clinic for 5 days and 3 of those days he was pretty acute. They decided he had an impaction as the manure he managed to pass was pretty well packed with stemmy unchewed hay. He has had dental issues since he was a baby, having his first dental at 8 months old, but no one has been able to "fix" whatever the issue is. He constantly leaves wads of partially chewed hay around and it finally caught up to him I guess.

The first time they tried re-feeding him they gave him soaked hay but he colicked again right away. So, the next time they tried re-feeding they gave him soaked hay pellets. He was uncomfortable for another day or so whenever he needed to poo, but finally worked through it.

I was super grateful to Heidi Chretien, Zorro's body worker, who went in and worked on him on Monday. He had a great release while she was there. I know she helped him feel so much better. Because the vet is so far away, I wasn't able to go visit him like I would have liked to. I know he was lonely, stuck in a full size horse stall that he couldn't see out of. How boring and sad.

5 days after I took him to the clinic I brought him home. I am still slowly re-feeding him. We are working out a new after colic diet, one that he can live on. I am furiously researching the BEST thing for him and in the mean time this is what we are doing:

  • He gets 4 meals of soaked teff hay pellets topped with Vermont Blend Vitamins/Minerals, Pea Protein powder, and his Equine Generator probiotic/prebiotic.

  • In the morning before his breakfast he gets 1/4 tube of Gastroguard.

  • In the evening he gets his Nourish Digest herbs.

I purchased several of these dog balls from Chewy:

These can be used to stuff hay in to provide an opportunity for browsing. They don't hold much so I figure I can scatter them around the track, clipped to the fence and Zorro can just work at them without getting much hay.

Today, we started walking. I allowed him to pick at the grass as we meandered around the fields. Oliver running along loose. Oliver had been out for a few hours grazing already. He was feeling quite sassy!

I am also planning on allow him grazing time. He doesn't seem to have a hard time chewing grass. Since I seeded my front and back yards, I know what kind of grass is out there. Allowing some grazing time seems important if he isn't going to get to have hay as forage. He will wear his grazing muzzle.

Zorro is an easy keeper. The hardest part of this new feed program will be offering food often enough that he isn't snacking on non food items in the track. On days I have to go to town it will be harder for him as I won't be home to offer him many small meals. And when I have to be away from home (we have some traveling to do this spring) my son will have to take on my chores and I know he won't feed Zorro 4-6 times a day. So I will have to simplify my program for those times. This will mean I have to stay closer to home but Zorro is definitely worth it!

If I change things up I will be sure to share here. For now this is how it's going to go.

Oliver is having his diet changed up as well. He is getting a soaked pellet breakfast and dinner with some grazing time in the middle. Over night he has a hay net. When they are in together he will also have to go without hay since Zorro can't have it. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!

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