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Posts Tagged ‘colic’

Following up on the last post, since my horses were all sedated for their very thorough dental exams, I’m reminded of something I try to keep in mind any time they’re sedated. Along with the rest of the body, sedation can slow down the gut, or digestive process. My horse Kiona once had minor colic symptoms following a sedation, and the best guess seemed to be that it was likely due to this effect. (In her case, she came around very quickly with just some coaching from the vet over the phone.)

So now whenever my horse’s are sedated, or even in advance if I anticipate it, I like to do at least one or sometimes several things to help their digestive system as preventative care. Massage, of course, is one of these, since the genuine relaxation effect of massage stimulates the digestion (as opposed to the effect of artificial sedation, interesting!). But there are also other very quick strategies to add to massage, or as an alternative. For example, you can offer your horse some grazing time, if possible, since fresh grass is excellent for the digestion (if your horse’s health allows). You can also soak their hay, making it more easily digested and ensuring more water intake along with it. And of course, taking your horse for a walk is helpful, since the walking movement also promotes gut movements. (Please note that following sedation you need to be sure your horse is fully alert again before offering any food to avoid risk of choke or other chewing related problems. Likewise, for greater safety, wait until the sedation has worn off before taking your horse for a walk.)

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