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Old 07-05-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
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Death of a cast horse- Questions

The owners of the place where we board are getting older and we're starting to get concerned that the horses aren't being looked after as well as they once were. They're being fed at between 11:00 to noon and again at 6:00 pm and the BO gets horses mixed up and has put aggressive horses in with meek horses and given shots after being asked not to (horse had had a negative response in the past) and things like that.

Here's the latest incident that has me wondering about things. A horse died there last week. The story from the BOs is that he'd had several episodes of colic in the past and must have had another one because they found him cast against the fence and dead.
They also claim that last winter he was found one morning lying in the middle of the paddock with all four legs straight up in the air and snow drifted up beside him as if he'd been that way for a while and they thought he was dead then but he was fine.

The horse's owner told me today that she only knew of one other incident where she was called and told her horse was colicking and she'd gone out and walked him for several hours although he didn't seem to be showing any signs of colic in her opinion.

I'm wondering how common it is for a cast horse to actually die. I know they can suffocate from their own weight and they can end up badly injured trying to get free but how often are they actually found dead? And, how long would it take for that to happen? Presumably he died from being cast but how long would it take a horse to suffocate from it?

I think the odds of him colicking and rolling and then getting himself cast and dying from colic are pretty small. I'm also wondering if the feeding time being so close togather in the day and so far apart at night might have anything to do with him suffering from colic, if that's even true.

Any thoughts? My biggest concern has been the feeding schedule and the possibility of them getting ulcers but I'm starting to think I need to move our horses. The facility is great otherwise and we'd miss the other boarders.
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance. ~Garth Brooks~
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Old 07-05-2009, 05:48 PM   #2
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Sorry that the horse died.
Several things are happening, older person forgetting what he is doing.
second. if a horse has cronic colic. than perhaps a vet could have been called out to assess the situation.
Yes feeding too close in time can cause colic. but if the BO is forgetting things perhaps he is forgetting to feed also.
as for horse casting up against fence. were there any witness that could say if the horse was tangled or just lying there.?
And yes a horse can colic, roll and cast up against a fence. they will shut down after a while because the fight is out of them., time frame would be different for different horses.
I know I found my arab mare cast up against a round bale. front legs on one side and back legs on the other, the round bale was up against her belly
she was smart enough not to struggle, and her herd mates started screaming and got my attention to push the round bale from her legs.
The point being that if the horses are not being properly taken care of perhaps it is time for him to hire someone to help out.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:10 PM   #3
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Erratic feeding can also increase chances of choke in a choke prone horse. Where I had Dixie, one of the horses use to have choke episodes fairly regularly from what the owner said - he had one short one the entire 6 months I was there and that was when we first moved there and I think the change in population made him gulp his food. He always grabbed a HUGE mouthful on his first bite, but once he settled down, he'd just gulp one bite and then slow down for the rest. But when the owner was feeding, it would be 7-8 AM and then anywhere from 6 pm to 2 am for the next meal. I also suggested he get the largest feed pan (they were fed in the pasture in rubber "pans") he could so the feed would not be piled up so he could grab a lot at once, but he never did that. I am SO glad to be out of that situation.

Have you talked to many of the other boarders? I would get input from as many as possible and then suggest to the gentleman that he get an assistant. If that's not happening, I would at least start looking for a new place. Who knows, maybe several others are concerned and may move WITH you. It may be a nice and enjoyable place, but if you have a dead horse, you won't be enjoying it anyway.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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Horses cant stay dont for long periods. If they are cast on their backs, their weight can crush their insides.

If the horse was prone to colic, being casted would make it worse. My question is, why wasnt he checked on more than he was, or the other horses?

I check on my horses numerious times a day when I am at home. And our neighbor checks on them several times a day when we are not.

Someone needs to evaluate whats going on by being there when feeding time is. Sounds like someone needs to be hired to over see things.

Actually going on 6 years
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:00 PM   #5
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I have known one horse that died from being cast with no other known cause. He was at a big boarding stable. THe last for sure time someone checked him was 8pm, by 7 am he was dead.

I had clients loose a horse a couple years ago when their horse rolled into their fence. They think he also had colic, hence why he rolled. no idea why he rolled where he did in a large paddock. I don't think he would have been down for more than 6 hours.

I am not sure if it is suffocation or toxicity/stress of being cast. possibly a heart attack?

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Old 07-05-2009, 08:45 PM   #6
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Since it definitely is possible to die from being cast (I know of owners who have been thru it), you're now left with trying to figure out what's best for YOU and your horses.

It sounds as if you have plenty of reason to doubt the overall care that your horse(s) are getting. Perhaps it's time to start considering other places. Go shop around and see what your options are.

HOwever, I would strongly urge you NOT to "burn bridges" as you go. I was in a situation where I was convinced that the place I was boarding had all these shortcomings and problems, and there just had to be a better place. After a lot of shopping, I really didn't find any!

No one is going to give as good a care to my horse as I feel he deserves. So I have to go with the next best thing - what I can afford.

I ended up so glad that I didn't "tell off" the barn owner like I wanted to. After seeing so many other places that had lower standards than he did, I was very happy to stay.
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:53 PM   #7
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A good friend of mine had her favorite pony die after being cast against a tree or brush or something (can't remember) you wouldn't even think about. This happened over night. I'm not sure of the time frame but it is something I really worry about - especially with my stalled horses.
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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Anyway you can show up unannounced several times? Thats the only way to be certain whats going on. I would be one to sit in my truck with binnoculars and watch

Sorry about the horse. Did the owner do a necropsy?
~Everyone ought to bear patiently the results of his own conduct.~ Wm.Shakspeare
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:01 PM   #9
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My first horse died from colic (per a vet autopsy), but was found in the barn in the morning on her side with 2 legs between the fence rail. Cast or just fell that way? We don't know. However, she was standing in the paddock like normal at midnight and dead by 6am. I can't say for sure how long it would take for a struggling cast horse to die, but there may have been something else going on with the horse that actually caused his death and being cast was just a result.

Possibly between you and the other borders you can assist the BO in caring for the horses instead of changing barns.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:07 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your replies. There are over 50 horses boarded there and I know the BO is having a hard time with it. Several of us do help when we can including helping to feed and helping with upkeep of the facility, etc.

They have tried to find people to work there but it never seems to work out very long. And that creates it's own problems when the new person doesn't know anything about the different horses and their needs. Or anything about horses at all.

If we do leave we will definitely leave on as good of terms as possible. We've boarded there for over ten years off and on and really like the owners. Ugh, I hate having to worry about my babies.
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance. ~Garth Brooks~
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:55 PM   #11
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I have a horse die about 15 months ago, he was a rescue I was fostering and he had cast himself in the stall. His thrashing awakened us and we were able to dismantle a stall wall to get him out but he died shortly after we freed him. He appeared to have ruptured his spleen during the thrashing.

He could have had a Nephrosplenic Entrapment where a portion of the colon flips over to the left and gets hung up on the nephrosplenic ligament. If the ligament detaches from the spleen, the horse will bleed to death internally. He may have just ruptured his spleen without the entrapment. We do know that the spleen was somehow compromised as you could see the hematoma on his left side and it was way too big and growing too quickly for just a regular bruise. He passed away right as the vet pulled up into the driveway.

RIP Justin T.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:47 AM   #12
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Cast Horse Death

We just lost a 25 yr old horse who was only cast for 15 minutes or less. He was seen by a vet then taken to the horse clinic. Sometimes even with the best possible care the stress and trauma is just too much for the animal to handle. Not sure about the care your animal received just letting you know sometimes no matter what is done or even minimal time cast is just too much stress. Hope this helps
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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Here is some info on a cast horse

Sometimes, it becomes a chicken and egg scenario. ie, did colic cause the horse to roll and become cast, or did the horse accidently become cast, and suffer complications from being cast
Another reason why I only stall a horse when absolutely needed, and I have very big stalls
The irregular feeding fuels ulcers and also colic and choke, depending on what is being fed, and availability of water.
If a horse consumes a large amount of feed, and fails to drink, the danger of impaction colic becomes very high.
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