A Not So Routine Colic

Last night I received a call at 9:30pm for a colic. This is a personal client of mine (I’m the only one who’s ever seen it), a new-ish client to the practice. The poor little horse’s name is Mooshu, and she and her pasture buddy are a couple of cute old ladies owned by a nice family down south. Unfortunately it was pretty bitterly cold last night, about 32 and dry, but my husband was nice enough to tag along withe me :)

We arrived at the barn at 10:30pm. The owner was nice enough to have brought the mare up out of the mud she had been laying in, and cleaned her off for me while they were waiting. I did a basic physical/colic exam on the mare, her heart rate was 48, slightly elevated, and respirations were 20 per minute. Her gums were slightly pale, very tacky. She was not overtly painful and stood quietly while I worked on her. All of her GI sounds were decreased.

I administered banamine, buscopan and a little xylazine for sedation. We passed a nasogastric tube and checked Mooshu for reflux. I gave her a half a bucket of warm water mixed with mineral oil. After we pulled the tube, we walked the mare into the stable building.

The owner and I chatted for about 30 minutes while Mooshu’s sedation wore off, and then I prepared to leave. At this point Mooshu and her friend were both sticking their heads over the stall doors, begging for food. I felt pretty good about how she was feeling. Suddenly Mooshu’s head went back, she fell into the corner of her stall as her legs collapsed from underneath her, and she paddled her feet as she crashed into the walls, struggling to stand. Her owner and I were frozen in shock.

As soon as she gained her feet we rushed in to help her. The mare was staggering out of the stall. Her owner asked if the fall could have been due to the sedation. Since it had been over an hour since the sedation was administered, I thought this was unlikely. I re-examined the mare, and other than a small cut on her lip and the top of her head she seemed fine. We left her out in a small paddock in case she had another episode, and this time I really did pack up and leave, with instructions for the owner to call me if she exhibited any more strange behavior.

Fortunately I didn’t receive any other calls last night, but I didn’t sleep well, worrying about my patient.

I’m still not sure what happened with Mooshu, it almost looked like she had a seizure but it doesn’t really make sense. Her owner called this morning to let me know she was looking fine, and again this evening to see what her further instructions were. Her episode seems to have passed with no major repercussions, so I think we’ll count ourselves lucky on this one.


3 thoughts on “A Not So Routine Colic

  1. Seizures are scary things to see. I absolutely love that you are so dedicated and compassionate about your job that they even bother you as a veterinarian. Thanks for being amazing!

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