Friday, July 16, 2010

Lena and a colic scare

Lena is a nervous, stressy mare. Especially--particularly, actually--at feeding time. She paces, gets agitated, then bolts her grain as if she's been deprived for months.

She is also a dramatic and expressive mare, making it easy to spot--pun intended--when something isn't quite right.

The other night, she started out okay, then started acting a little funny, and I left the barn with Steve walking a spotty mare who wanted to drop down and roll in the driveway. I had a hard time leaving but over-worrying wouldn't help so I headed home.

I waited for Steve, trying not to pace or fuss myself too much. Then our friend Manna called from the barn and I knew things had not gotten better. She asked if I'd gotten the message to call the vet.

I hadn't. I did. And pointed the car back to the barn.

Dr. Leslie made it there before me because I stopped to make Steve a sandwich, grab books and jackets, then got stuck behind a lumber truck. REALLY? NOW??!! Augh!!

A little history. Two weeks after Lena came to live with us (five years ago on August 1st), she colicked so badly we were faced with putting her down. So when the spotty mare acts like her belly hurts, it creates a small panic in her momma, too.

Long story short, heart rate was fine, capillary response time (CPT) was fine, and with some Banamine, the gut relaxed enough to make noises and get Lena interested in eating again. I might also mention that Lena was moving into her heat cycle, and that has been one of the common denominators in the colic routine.

Leslie's verdict is that Lena's cycle helps set it off. Peter let us know that not only does it happen fairly frequently--though usually not as bad as this bout--it always happens at the evening feed. They only (and we only) grain in the evening. She inhales grain like a big, spotty vacuum.

Treatment? Rocks in the grain bucket to slow her down and Banamine at the beginning of her cycle.

Lesson? Lena colics mildly fairly frequently according to Peter--he calls it stress colic. I myself have walked her when she seems off and had her relax and settle into herself, with a soft look in her eye and good, grumbly gut noises. Would she have worked through it like she seemingly does normally if we hadn't hovered? Maybe. Could it be she just wanted attention? Also a possibility with The Spotty Princess.

Only time (and recent experience) will tell.


Anonymous said...

It could also be possible that she's got ulcers - pain at feeding time is frequently due to that. Her personality could predispose her to ulcers. You might also consider trying some probiotics to help her gut bacteria stay in healthy balance.

Mrs. Mom said...

I can agree with Kate on the possible ulcers issue. Sonny Horse is like that. When he stresses, he'll act colic-y. TPR and Cap refill are always fine, gut sounds are fine, but he HURTS.

Started him on ulcer treatment, just to rule it out. Lo and behold, he is acting perkier and eating better than he has in a LONG while.

Might be worth a try. Good luck with Lena!

Joy M. Drennen said...

I remember 5 years ago, but I didn't know Lena continues to have some colic issues. Must really be scary for you. Love, Mom

Jessica Boyd said...

Thanks, Kate and Mrs. Mom, those are good suggestions to try!

She can be such a drama queen, big reactions to everything, that I'm trying to also figure ways to get her to that calmer space--even just sometimes.

I used to do acupressure on her more often, and I think it helped, so will try to get back to that, too.

Anonymous said...

Since she's nervous, you might also want to give Mare Magic a try - it's just raspberry leaves - it's cheap and I've found it can take the edge off a bit for mares.