View Full Version : Recurrent mild colic in mare with foal: any help or thoughts?? PLEASE!!!

11-08-11, 10:08 AM
I've posted about this before, but here goes....please read on!!

My mare was a maiden, had her foal 5th May, no problems at all. Big filly who has grown amazingly fast.

Since foaling she has had several mild colics, this is a mare I've owned since 2006, who never coliced before.

She has now had a full vet school investigation done: nothing found. Diagnosis (as such) is spasmodic colic. No ulcers, nothing else suspicious. Next step would be exploratory surgery which is out of the question atm.

Since coming home last wed. she has had one more mild episode. These have all resolved with little or no intervention.

Her management is ultra careful.

Feed: 4x 250g suregrow, 250g oats, very small amount sugar beet.

Out during the day on normal grass, in at night with hay.

Her appetite is very good.

Worming up to date, still waiting for tape worm count from vets but I doubt that's a problem as she was double dosed last autumn and last week.

I am at my wits end with her.

She appears well, is doing the foal very well. Foal has put on at least 1kg per day since birth and now weighs 170kg at 3 months.

I am going to try pro biotic now, which one tho?

My gut instinct is that it is something to do with feeding the foal, but the vets seem to have disregarded this as a cause. She must be consuming a huge amount of food to produce enough milk.

Anything else I can do, anyone ever had a lactating mare do this???

11-08-11, 10:29 AM
Does she have to be in at night, could she not just stay out with her foal and be fed in the field?
If it were me, I would take her back to basics and either cut out a feed altogether or just keep the basic Suregrow as that has everything in it she needs without the added beet and oats (SB is not good for foals anyway as they can't digest the sucrose until they're older). I'd also leave out at night so she shouldn't need hay at all but if the ground is short then give her an armful so she can pick and choose what she wants.
I've found over the years that my mares, if fed in summer, are better fed in just one feed a day rather than one morning and night. If I feed twice, even though the whole amount is the same, for some reason, they leave half the second feed whereas they polish off the whole lot if it's just the one feed. Don't ask me why they do this, they just do!
Natural yoghurt can be good to settle stomachs, doesn't work for all but got to be worth a try although I feel that the closer you can get her to nature (out 24/7 to browse rather than 24 hours divided so firmly) that it might help her if the vets can't find any clinical reason for it.
Be interesting to know how she goes on, hope she feels better soon, it must be a dreadful worry.

11-08-11, 10:31 AM
What was her routine before she had a foal?
We had one with recurrent spasmodics and found keeping her out full time really helped- it just seemed to break the cycle.
Feedwise I'd have her on a strong probiotic, like protexin, and some very bland fibre based feed, certainly not oats. I like Allen&Page's Fast Fibre especially as you feed it soaked

11-08-11, 10:51 AM
Do you think she might be drinking enough? Mild dehydration can give them mild colics? Perhaps trying something like Horse Quencher to make sure she is taking on enough water to cope with feeding the foal?

11-08-11, 11:04 AM
Could it be perhaps she has got a full udder and is uncomfortable rather then colic it can look similar in that they will lift a leg turn in circles and stamp a hind and bring it towards there tummies the foal will be drinking less now so i would follow the advice of the other and discontinue the use of Oats.

11-08-11, 11:06 AM
Before she foaled she had been out all winter 24/7. In her former life she was stabled and out quite abit, travelled all over etc. never coliced.
I have tried leaving her out 24/7. This was the plan when she foaled, so did so when foal was 2 weeks old, and colic came on gradually over a few days, ended up pretty bad, but responded to treatment.
I wondered about the grass at this point!!! So kept her in at night thinking that hay can't be causing gassy colic.
Anyway, at the beg. of july I left her out 24/7 again as she'd been fine for weeks, she promptly coliced again.
Can't help feeling that the colic and the grass are linked but maybe not.
Benefits to stabling at night are 1) foal gets a rest inside out of bad weather and 2) I can watch her on camera at night.
Each time colic has started she has been out never in the stable. Might not be relevant but....
Re. the feed. I have spoken to quite a few different nutritionists about this and all agreed my diet was not likely to be to blame. Oats are high in fibre and well digested in the hind gut apparently. She's really not getting a lot of oats now anyway. She needs some feed obv. to feed the foal.
Wondering if I should try creep feeding foal and cutting mare's hard feed right down to nothing over next 2 weeks??
Poor mare, she is hungry too!!!

11-08-11, 11:15 AM
Water: yes I suggested to the vets she might be dehydrated slightly but they don't think so. I add water to her feed anyway, so it is just soup.
These have been genuine colics: ie pawing, rolling, watching flank, lying stretched out groaning etc. Last week she started and the vet came down, left her untreated and sent us off to vet school. She was still colicing when we arrived which was lucky really. Got up and down a few times, rolled.
They then examined her for about an hour: internally and with ultrasound for ages. found areas of the gut in spasm. That was it tho' nothing else. She recovered with no actual treatment. Repeated the scans next day and gut was normal again. Scoped for ulcers: nothing.
Please keep any suggestions or thoughts coming as I am really appreciating any input now guys!
Just thinking it all over myself too and trying to come up with answers.
Each time it's happened bringing her into the stable and starving for 2 or 3 hours then trickling hay into her has helped. Except time I left her in the field and she ended up in a lot of pain, vet was really worried but she did finally respond to pain killlers and buscopan.

11-08-11, 11:25 AM
have you tried something like Coligone? Or something like this http://www.stablelabel.co.uk/

11-08-11, 12:15 PM
What a conundrum she all is; no wonder you are all stumped.

How is she with her foal, is she moody or glad to be with it especially if it wants to feed from her? I'm just wondering if it is to do with the foal feeding and she will be better once the foal is weaned. Does the foal tuck into her feed at all (or have her own) as it may be a case of weaning earlier than you would have liked to save this mare from colic if it is foal related in which case the foal needs to be on a creep feed of some sort which will last until it's older, Suregrow is excellent for that especially as the mare has it already.

11-08-11, 12:37 PM
She is good with the foal. Stands quietly to let her feed.
The foal (kate) loves her food and mare (annie) lets her share so they both eat, kate struggles to get her legs organised to get down to the ground to eat the feed tho' she has to do a contorsionists act to get there (legs too long or neck too short :)), so she doesn't really get much.
I haven't been feeding kate a lot at all so far but I think I will start to give her suregrow too.
The vets don't seem to be considering the lactation as a cause at all, but it all started after she foaled. Coincidence??

11-08-11, 01:18 PM
It could well be linked with lactating. In which case, as you say that her foal is well grown, it might be worth reconsidering when to wean and possibly wean a bit earlier.

In the meantime, I would wholeheartedly recommended Coligone. It was essentially developed for a mare who got colicy when out on grass! I've used it on a variety of horses with great success! http://www.hbradshaws.co.uk/

11-08-11, 08:33 PM
We lost Izzy last year, her foal was 3 months old and Izzy had had re-occurant colic for about 5 weeks, just getting worse and worse.

Foal grew quickly and was ready to be weaned at 3 months when mum died, then in october had unexplained colic herself - surgery revealed nothing, we've had hernia complications since, but the colic has restarted, in line with when mum had colic last year. We feed wet food and avoid wet or humid grass, if it is wet and we choose to turn her out we add bran to her feed - yes we know about the leeching of the nutrients, but don't feed it everday and our thoughts are that its better to loose some nutrients rather than have colic surgery. If she colics bad we will opt for surgery as she will need the same surgery to correct the reocurring hernia, but we won't be insured.

All I can say is, is it the grass? drop all food and just feed bran when you think it might happen, don't feed anything that might cause acidity or gas and try coligone its not expensive compared to buscapan (sp?). I will only use spillers stud cubes (and everyone has their choice but after seeing the sugarbeet congeal to her feed tub and I'm allergic to milk products so baileys is out) as it seems to affect her least (plus I've had sucess with the hifi and cubes with laminitic ponies), any change needs to be extremely slow including paddock changes.

Keep us updated and good luck, we've been through alot and if you need any other info please pm me

Good luck and hope your mare settles down soon. XX

12-08-11, 08:52 AM
iconique, how sad. Did you get a diagnosis of your mare? What about the foal?
This is my worst nightmare, to lose my mare.
Today she is fine, hoovering up all her hay at night and drinking plenty.
I can't help feeling it is the grass, but why when she's been here for years and been 100% fine?
I have cut her feed back to just suregrow with water to make it a mush. Fed 250g at a time, and the foal gets some too.
The thing is my mare seems so well 95% of the time, then just gets uncomfortable and colicy, but it passes within a few hours.
Going to order coligone right now too.
I'm going eventing tomorrow so I'll be leaving my husband and kids to watch her like a hawk.
Thanks everyone, I'll keep you all posted.

12-08-11, 09:47 AM
Why not consider using charcoal in her feeds? It deals with gas extremely well,old fashioned but effective.

12-08-11, 10:28 AM
Honestly, call Kate at Coligone (she's also an HHO Forum member). Definitely worth trying IMHO.