By Gayle Carline
Down here in southern California, winter has been opening the door of summer and doing the Hokey Pokey. One step in, one step out, then in, then shake it all about. We get promises of torrential rains, followed by actual drizzles of less than a quarter of an inch. The temperatures dip from daytime 60s to daytime 90s within the same week.
You know what that means to a horse owner... colic weather.
Unlike that old wives' tale about cold weather causing colds (especially if you go outside with wet hair, apparently), colic weather is real. The sudden changes in temperature can cause changes in a horse's routine and eating habits.
Last year in March, we had a sudden, slightly warmer week. I went to get Snoopy out of his stall, and he didn't try to chew on the halter or lead rope or me. This was disturbing, as it was not natural behavior for him. Even worse, he wanted to lay down and bite at his stomach.
Turns out, he had quickly gotten dehydrated, and spent a week in the hospital getting fluids. The good news is that I have major medical and mortality insurance for him. The bad news is that this year, because he was treated for colic, his insurance company excluded colic from the list of coverable illnesses.
I'm now feeding him electrolytes every day and praying.
Last week, we had a little episode, where he had, basically, a twenty-minute gas bubble. He blogged about it here (Tummy Trouble), and my rebuttal is here (My side of the story). What both of us left out is the massive amount of prayers I was saying that would keep him from actually colicking. Technically, I have the money to have surgery, but it means dipping further into my retirement account than I'd like. Plus, I just don't want my horse in that much pain, or having to have an operation, etc.
Curiously, another horse in the barn did the same thing today. For twenty minutes, the little mare (her name is Pearl) wanted to lie down. She was being shod at the time, which made it awkward. They walked her around until she felt better. (She was also not fed and monitored closely.)
I've recently found an insurance company that will cover Snoopy for colic and I'm filling out the paperwork as quickly as possible. On the one hand, I hate paying insurance because I usually don't use it. On the other hand, I've used insurance more than once for Snoopy's medical bills, so he's totally worth it.
Any insurance stories you'd like to share? Colic stories? Jokes? Cute kitty video links?