Timing and surgery can save a horse’s life when it comes to colic | TSLN.com

Timing and surgery can save a horse’s life when it comes to colic

Gayle Smith

Colic can be a five-letter dirty word in the equine business. This year, an estimated one in 10 horses in the U.S. will suffer from colic. The illness, which is considered the number-one cause of death in horses, can be difficult to treat without intervention from a veterinarian. Each year, many rodeo and performance horses succumb to the sickness. Some will recover, but sadly enough, many will die. When a horse gets sick and colic is suspected, timing can be critical.

According to Dr. Ted Vlahos, surgical veterinarian at the Sheridan and Cody Equine Hospitals, it is important for horse owners to communicate with their veterinarian either in person or by phone that their horses are sick, and that they suspect colic.

“About 80 to 90 percent of the horses that have a colic episode do just fine with conservative treatment like pain medication and laxatives,” Vlahos says. “About 10 percent require more aggressive medical treatment such as intensive fluid therapy, and about 10 percent in our practice area that have colic require surgery. It is very important to have your veterinarian involved in determining which category your horse has.”

Vlahos has performed colic surgeries for more than 24 years, and has performed over 1,000 of them. “We are the only equine referral surgical center in Wyoming. We routinely do surgeries for about 30 other veterinary practices in Wyoming and surrounding states,” he says.

The surgery typically costs $5,500 to $6,500 at his practice, Vlahos says, but horse owners shouldn’t let the price tag scare them. “There are some very inexpensive ways to insure a horse for a few hundred dollars a year, which will cover colic surgery,” he notes.

Colic can be a five-letter dirty word in the equine business. This year, an estimated one in 10 horses in the U.S. will suffer from colic. The illness, which is considered the number-one cause of death in horses, can be difficult to treat without intervention from a veterinarian. Each year, many rodeo and performance horses succumb to the sickness. Some will recover, but sadly enough, many will die. When a horse gets sick and colic is suspected, timing can be critical.

Recommended Stories For You

According to Dr. Ted Vlahos, surgical veterinarian at the Sheridan and Cody Equine Hospitals, it is important for horse owners to communicate with their veterinarian either in person or by phone that their horses are sick, and that they suspect colic.

“About 80 to 90 percent of the horses that have a colic episode do just fine with conservative treatment like pain medication and laxatives,” Vlahos says. “About 10 percent require more aggressive medical treatment such as intensive fluid therapy, and about 10 percent in our practice area that have colic require surgery. It is very important to have your veterinarian involved in determining which category your horse has.”

Vlahos has performed colic surgeries for more than 24 years, and has performed over 1,000 of them. “We are the only equine referral surgical center in Wyoming. We routinely do surgeries for about 30 other veterinary practices in Wyoming and surrounding states,” he says.

The surgery typically costs $5,500 to $6,500 at his practice, Vlahos says, but horse owners shouldn’t let the price tag scare them. “There are some very inexpensive ways to insure a horse for a few hundred dollars a year, which will cover colic surgery,” he notes.

Colic can be a five-letter dirty word in the equine business. This year, an estimated one in 10 horses in the U.S. will suffer from colic. The illness, which is considered the number-one cause of death in horses, can be difficult to treat without intervention from a veterinarian. Each year, many rodeo and performance horses succumb to the sickness. Some will recover, but sadly enough, many will die. When a horse gets sick and colic is suspected, timing can be critical.

According to Dr. Ted Vlahos, surgical veterinarian at the Sheridan and Cody Equine Hospitals, it is important for horse owners to communicate with their veterinarian either in person or by phone that their horses are sick, and that they suspect colic.

“About 80 to 90 percent of the horses that have a colic episode do just fine with conservative treatment like pain medication and laxatives,” Vlahos says. “About 10 percent require more aggressive medical treatment such as intensive fluid therapy, and about 10 percent in our practice area that have colic require surgery. It is very important to have your veterinarian involved in determining which category your horse has.”

Vlahos has performed colic surgeries for more than 24 years, and has performed over 1,000 of them. “We are the only equine referral surgical center in Wyoming. We routinely do surgeries for about 30 other veterinary practices in Wyoming and surrounding states,” he says.

The surgery typically costs $5,500 to $6,500 at his practice, Vlahos says, but horse owners shouldn’t let the price tag scare them. “There are some very inexpensive ways to insure a horse for a few hundred dollars a year, which will cover colic surgery,” he notes.

Go back to article