Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Bo’s Colic Surgery Recovery-Karen Chaton

By Elkgrovemilling

Elk Grove Stable Mix
May 2014, Karen Chaton

We has a good strong start to the 2014 ride season. Bo has completed 400 miles including finishing in the top ten at the 20 Mule Team 100. Chief has completed 250 miles. The last ride I did was the Nevada Derby, a local ride to me at Washoe Lake, Nevada. I decided to try for the NASTR Triple Crown this year on Bo. The first ride was the 50 at the Derby, then the second ride in May would be the NASTR 75 miler and the final and third ride would be the Viginia City 100 in September.
You know what they say about the best laid plans. I usually don’t plan that far in advance even if I do set goals for the year I like to get through the next ride before planning to far ahead of that. As it turned out, a few days after the Derby ride Bo colicked. I only noticed that he wasn’t right because he only ate part of his Stable Mix mash. He always finishes ALL of his Stable Mix so I knew something was wrong. Plus, he was covered in hives.
As it turned out, I ended up taking Bo to not one, but two different vet clinics. In the end, the problem turned out to be a 180 degree twist that required surgery. Fortunately, there was no serious damage to Bo’s intestines and they were able to correct the twist and work everything through without needing to cut into it. He came through the anesthesia really well and then spent a total of 10 days at the vet clinic.
We were really lucky to have caught the problem early and get Bo into surgery since that greatly improved his chances of survival. It helped that he was a good patient. We knew when he was reaching through the stall and chewing up his lead rope that he was feeling back to his normal self and was finally able to come home.
It’s now been about six weeks since the surgery and Bo has been recovering amazingly well. Initially I was able to start walking him three times a day for a mile each. When Bo’s staples were removed from the incision site the vet was impressed at how well things had healed up, with no swelling. I was able to start increasing the amount of exercise Bo was getting and even started to do a little bit of trotting. I also was able to turn him out from a small paddock and stall into a larger paddock. A week after that I started riding him and also started turning him out for a few hours at a time with Chief, keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn’t get too rambunctious. Fortunately, because of the increase in exercise and turnout Bo was able to stay calm and laid back. He was also allowed to graze as much as he wanted. We were worried that Bo might get into trouble if we tried to keep him confined for too long. Bo is the kind of horse that gets bored being turned out 24×7 only a week after doing a 100 miler.
Knocking on wood everything is still going well. I’m still feeding Bo his Stable Mix mashes four or five times a day spread apart a few hours and in between giving him his grass/alfalfa hay mix. The veterinarians prescribed the same diet for Bo that he had been on – the grass/alfalfa mix hay and Elk Grove Stable Mix (regular formula, with G&C). They were not able to confirm the cause of why Bo colicked though something obviously disrupted his gut long enough to cause a malfunction. It’s possible that the hives he had were caused by something he ate that blew into his pen or pasture and that caused him to start to go off of his feed. He does tend to eat things that Chief won’t touch. They also said the change in weather could have been a factor.
The good news is that Bo has an over 90% chance to make a full recovery and return to endurance if that’s what I want to do with him. He is happiest when he has a job to do and loves to get out on the trail.
I’m really fortunate that Stable Mix is available in my area because it helped Bo to regain the weight he lost from the surgery. I also felt better being able to feed it soaked knowing that would help to keep him hydrated. It only took Bo a few days to bounce back to his normally rounder shape and also to have a nice shiny coat. I know it’s the Stable Mix that does that because I am not feeding him any other supplements right now other than a little bit of probiotics and Redmond Daily Gold as prescribed by the vet. I knew Bo was going to be okay when he would see me in the barn and stop grazing on the grass to come over and wait patiently for his next Stable Mix mash – it is his favorite. Okay, so maybe he isn’t always that patient about waiting!
If after a few more rides, Bo continues to do as well as he has been I’m going to send an entry in for him for a fairly local endurance ride at the end of June. For now, we will stick to the rides that are closer and just do one day and see how it goes. We missed the middle ride of the Triple Crown, but you never know maybe everything will fall into place and we’ll be able to make it to the September ride. One day at a time, and I’ll only plan as far ahead as the next ride for awhile. There are some endurance horses out there that have completed more miles after having a colic surgery than they did before.




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