The word colic causes panic and a barrage of questions in every horse person's mind. What has it been caused by? Stress, heat, food or sand etc? Is it so serious that we need to take him to the vets? If it's not too bad, how do we get rid of it without veterinary assistance? The questions are never-ending during the stress.
Last night, an evening of panic and a terror ensued after I realised that Basse probably had colic. We went out at 8pm like normal to do the evening stables - give evening feeds and hay, skip out, fill up waters and get morning feeds ready. When I went to give Basse his evening meal, he refused to eat it, his breathing was very laboured and his eyes looked as if he was in pain.
Clinical signs of colic with Basse: pawing at the ground, flank watching, lots of pacing, a loss of appetite and an increased pulse rate + heavy breathing
Basse was immediately taken outside, and I walked and trotted him for a good 30 minutes. During this time, Basse walked very slowly and his breathing continued to be very labored. After taking his temperature (37.2℃, not abnormal) we started using some home remedies to try to help get rid of the colic, which we had deduced to be a gas colic. Although this type of colic usually responds well to medical care, we were hoping to avoid taking Basse to a clinic during the middle of the night!
At first, we used a portable handheld massage machine around Basse's stomach and back to try to get the gas moving. At certain spots, he started pawing at the ground but then started farting! I have never been happier to hear a horse pass gas than last night! After a while, his breathing calmed down a little bit, and it was possible to hear to some gastrointestinal noises. I then took him to the indoor school to lunge him a little bit to hopefully get everything moving. Again, noticeable improvement, so we let him have a tiny bit of hay and went inside at 11pm. At 2am mother and I went to check on him again and to give a little bit of hay, and luckily Basse was a lot more normal! Finally we could relax and catch a couple of hours of sleep before I went out at 6am to give morning feeds. Today he was his normal happy self, and I am very glad that we managed to avoid a trip to the clinic and that Basse survived it all!