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Old 11-18-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
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Two sudden deaths

A friend of mine was leasing one of her horses to a family for their son to show in 4h for a few years. I just heard that the horse suddenly died this afternoon. Another horse died earlier this week. They did blood work on both horses and nothing showed up. No poison, no nothing. This is an absolute long shot, but I thought I'd ask if anyone had ever dealt with a similar situation?

Also, we've had some crazy weather here. Horses are colicing left and right. My friend that I board my two with has a Quarter Pony that is pretty solid and a super easy keeper. He coliced yesterday midday, vet came out and pumped him with fluids. He seemed fine last night. She got up this morning and he was biting as his sides and kept getting up and down. Vet came out again and left banamine this time around. Anyone else having these issue this year? Sorry for the novel, but there's been a lot going on!
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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No, but I was thinking maybe those two horses had colicked, too.

Seems lots of horses are colicking this year...
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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Hmm, interesting. I know of two horses at my boarding barn who have colicked in the last couple of months, where I can't remember any colicking in the previous year.

As for the sudden deaths, the first thing that comes to mind is selenium poisoning ... although I would think they should have been able to check for that with the bloodwork. Selenium is a necessary mineral, but in too high a dose, it can be deadly. It was the basis for those polo horse deaths last year. Cattle feeds and cattle "mineral blocks" will be too high in selenium for horses.

Just a thought.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:38 AM   #4
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Alot of horses are developing issues with Stronygle (why can't I spell that word???) infestations. Highly suggested to deworm everything you can with Moxidectrin (Quest) because it is the only dewormer that kills them at all life stages. Ivermectrin only kills them at certain lifestages leaving the larvae (I think, trying to remember) behind.

My vet has had a much higher incidence of worm caused colics this year, including several that died as a result.
Make that 6 years!

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Old 11-19-2010, 01:39 AM   #5
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My daughters horse was just euthanized several days ago for colic. My vet told me they usually have more cases in the fall when the cold weather starts. I wonder if it is related to the water consumption, since it seems some horses don't want to drink the water when it is cold. Just a thought. I do know that I am wracking my brain, wondering if there is anything more that I could have done to prevent this in our mare, or if we somehow missed something. I guess these are normal thoughts to have after you lose one. Since we have no idea what caused our mares colic. I can't imagine that we missed anything, I owned a previous horse 24 years with no colic ever, so maybe this mare was just prone to it for some reason.

So sad for this family to lose 2 horses suddenly.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:30 AM   #6
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Could definitely be colic or I've also been hearing about a lot of horses having aneurysms. Very weird. The changing of the seasons always causes more colic cases. Some say it's the barometer and it's been proven that horses in cold weather will drink less because they don't like the cold water. Many people will put heaters in their tanks, even if they're not freezing yet, to encourage the horses to keep drinking.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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I have a mare who will not drink cold water. She gets a heated water bucket except when it's very hot outside. As soon as it's cool i salt her food and sometimes wet it down. I think a lot of horses are this way. Couple that with the cooler temps and their need for more hay.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:59 PM   #8
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My horses will drink cold water altho I provide them with plenty of pickling salt as well as a lick. They consume far more loose salt than they will from the lick. The higher consumption of salt encourages them to drink more.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:05 AM   #9
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Going from pasture to hay and grain seems to do it , and not being out and about to pass food and gas
We do not feed dry foods, (hay and grain) heavy until they are used to being confined to holding areas.
wet the food, so at least enough water is taken in by the horse and also add some mineral oil or corn oil to the food. and do not worm until after frost, gives the gut time to adjust to new food and routine.
we have not had a horse colic because of weather change. only the oldsters that reached their time, would colic and twist.

I always keep banamine and give one cc for every hundred weight, seems to help,
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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Alot of horses Colic because the do not drink enough water.. Make sure you check your horses troughs daily and clean them regurarly because if it is filthy and you have to stick your hand in your pocket to keep from smelling it, then your horses won't want to drink the water either. And some horses don't like cold water, so in the winter time put a water warmer in your troughs. You can feed your horses Bran mash and it will help them with water intake. They suck it up like candy!

Also to keep your horses from going down with colic is giving them some salt in their feed every week.

Hope this info helps!
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:00 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JSlow View Post
Many people will put heaters in their tanks, even if they're not freezing yet, to encourage the horses to keep drinking.
Oooh, that's a new one on me, but I like that idea!
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:07 PM   #12
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Just a helpful note about tank water heaters. We run the cord through a piece of old hose so the horses don't mess with/bite the cord. I had a mouthy gelding who would not leave the cord alone. I was so afraid he would bite through it and get electrocuted. The hose kept him safe.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:54 PM   #13
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Another thing to remember with tank heaters, is to make sure they aren't shorting out a bit, causing a slight electrical charge to the water, a charge you can't feel with your hand, but will cause horses to stop drinking
Another thing I found out-your metal water tank has to be at least about 4 feet from any electrical fence, as again a tank will get charged just enough so horses won't drink
When this happens, horses will at first try to drink, stand and paw near a water tank, then after awhile, just quit trying.
Happened to me one winter, and Smilie got impaction colic. Only when my gelding went up to the tank and snorted, but wouldn't quite put his mouth to the water and drink, did I figure it out. Sticking my hand in, I felt nothing
Got Smilie back on track with two visits to the vet, (tubing electrolyes, oil and fluids)
Really takes some time to get horses drinking out of the same tank again, even after a new heater has be put in place
Banamine should never be given unless sure of what type of colic you are dealing with. Fine for spasmotic or gas colic, but can be deadly for impaction. Will mask the pain, horse keeps on eating, getting more impacted, to the point he then needs surgery
Colic is not a diagnosis of what is wrong-just that the horse has abdominal pain. You have to know what you are dealing with, in order to treat it correctly
My vet would be very upset if a horse was given a pain reliever for colic without first getting a diagnosis.

Last edited by Smilie; 11-21-2010 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:52 PM   #14
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Ask if they checked selenium levels when they did the bloodwork if not see if they could still run one. Low selenium can cause cause white muscle disease which does not always present it'self before death. Cause of death is often a sudden massive heart attack.

I'd also have a stool sample checked for worms, I know we've lost animals to the Barber Pole worm that seemed fine. I've not seen it in horses but have seen it in cattle , sheep and goats. Some of our goats would go out to pasture, come up for pm grain and while waiting would lie down in the sun. They just die, no weight loss, no runny poop but a sudden hatch out of the worm will cause them to bleed out that fast.

It's always more difficult when you don't have any answers. So sorry for the lost, praying for an answer.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:51 AM   #15
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I had a friend lose two horses in a month last fall. After some blood work and looking in the pasture they determined that the two horses had eaten nuts or seed pods that had fallen off of a tree near their pasture and died as result of the toxicity. The other 3 horses in the pasture were fine as they did not eat the same thing.

My family calls this time of year "the hungry time" even a well fed horse will nibble on things they would normally have left alone. Must be a bilological instinct.

As for cords to tank heaters - we put ours through small PVC pipes so the horses won't chew on them.
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