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Dr Emily Weaver
Dr Emily Weaver, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24
Experience:  Equine Veterinarian with over 11 years experience in ambulatory practice
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My horse lies down 5 minutes after starting to eat. No

Customer Question

My horse lies down 5 minutes after starting to eat. No rolling or pawing but hot nose and no poo either. Is this colic? What should I do
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 4 months ago.

Hello, This is Dr Emily Weaver, I am an experienced equine vet, and I hope I can help.

Is the laying down after feeding a recurrent issue, or is this the first time this has happened?

Usually any time a horse lies down while eating, even if he isn't rolling or pawing would indicate mild colic pain. The fact that he does it while eating make me think he could be suffering from gastric ulcers. Especially if this is a recurrent issue. If you get him up and he continues to try and lay down, I would definitely think colic. You could try and get him up and take him on a short walk and see if he will graze a little grass. If refusing to eat ad continuing to try and lay down, he may need to be seen by your vet.

I don't know if you keep any emergency drugs in your barn, but if you have Banamine (flunixin meglumine), you could give him a dose of that if his colic signs are persisting (not eating, continuing to lay down), take away any hay or grain, and monitor him. He should improve within an hour of banamine, if not I would definitely get him evaluated by your vet. If he does improve, keep hay and grain away until he passes manure and stays comfortable for at least 4-6 hours (when the banamine will wear off).

Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 4 months ago.

Concerning possible gastric ulcers, the first symptoms we see is the laying down or mild colic signs during eating grain or right after. Sometimes they will lose condition and also develop a sour attitude. They may lay down, but then still be interested in eating hay or grass when you get them up.

The gold standard to diagnose ulcers is performing a gastric scope, but many vets will prescribe the medication based off of clinical signs and exam. Gastrogard or Ulcergard (omeprazole) is the drug of choice for ulcers. It's a once a day dose for 30 days. The omeprazole drugs work by stopping the production of acid in the stomach. In the short term if you can't get your vet out soon to get the omeprazole, you could try an over the counter human product for heartburn, liquid maalox (100ml) or tums (10-15 tablets) can help by working as an acid buffer at mealtimes. They should help make him more comfortable in the short term, but usually the omeprazole is required to heal the ulcers.

Dietary changes that help with ulcers include limiting high starch grains, and feeding free choice hay from a slow feeder hay net, or increasing pasture turnout time. Limiting stress in the environment is important to stop recurrence as well. Some people give a preventative dose of the omeprazole during a stressful event such as a horse show.

I hope that helps, let me know how your horse is doing. if you have any further questions or concerns please let me know,

-Dr Emily Weaver