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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Impaction colic - Part 3

I'm going to write down everything I did for Dorica during the week it took her to recover from impaction colic.

She was quite dehydrated, so in addition to the tubing that the vet administered, I needed to find a way to get more water into her, as follows:

1. Syringing water into her mouth
Using a dosing syringe (like a mini turkey baster) I tried getting water in this way.  Dorrie hated it though.

2. Enemas
I found the perfect syringe with a plunger to use for this (a turkey baster would have worked well too, but as I don't eat turkey I didn't have one!)  Greasing the end with vaseline and using warm water, I inserted and Dorrie actually loved this procedure!  Not hard at all!

3. Mini walks to eat wet grass
Thank goodness the temperatures have been above freezing and there is no snow!  Several times a day, I'd take Dorica out to nibble on wet grass and she did this with great enthusiasm!  I was careful not to make her walk too far though - exercise is good, but she was clearly tired.

4. Manure checks
It was so obvious that her manure was not as it should be - rather small amounts and too dry.  Interesting to see how it changed as the impaction passed and she became hydrated.

5. Paste Banamine
I am so happy that Banamine (Flunixin) now comes in a paste that can easily be administered by mouth.
It used to be only available as an injectable liquid but dangerous to inject into the muscle.  Since few animal owners are skilled enough to administer an IV injection, this was always very worrisome.

I continued to give Dorica 1/2 cc of paste Banamine for several days.  The vet advised that if she was eating more that she was excreting, then toxins could enter her bloodstream. She said that the Banamine would not only help with pain but would also act as an anti-toxin.

I really noticed a difference in attitude and appetite about 1/2 hour after giving it!  Because 1/2 cc is such a tiny dose, I wanted to actually see it instead of using the plunger directly in her mouth.  It's hard to lock the knurled knob at 1/2 cc, so I put it on my finger first and then rubbed it on Dorrie's tongue.

6. Encouraging her to eat
When a donkey is off her feed, huge alarm bells go off for me!  There are so many dire complications that can ensue.  So even though I hate to change her diet, I feel it's more important for her to get some food down and I will bend over backwards to tempt her!

Dorrie was offered grass, as I said, but also some richer hay (small handfuls) left over from Rose & Heather's arrival, as well as small amounts of bran mash, soaked beet pulp + soy bean hulls, apple slices and apple sauce and her favorite huckleberry twigs.

7.  Fresh warm water
It can be such a challenge, encouraging an equine to drink during winter!  Even though I have 2 heated buckets in the barn, the thermostats inside the buckets don't seem to kick in unless it's really cold.  There's a temperature range during which the donkeys won't drink this cool water and the buckets won't heat up ... grrr ...!  If I had a million dollars, I have a plumbing system built to the barn from the pump house but as it is, I lug warm tap water every time I go out.  Keeping the barn buckets very clean is also important (and on my list for today!)

8.  Exercise
Motility is greatly enhanced through exercise.  But my donkeys anyway, just hate rain, wind and snow!  Today we are having both rain and wind and they are all in the barn breezeway.  I purchased rain sheets for them this year.  They don't like them much but at least I can encourage a brief walk if the downpour lets up!

I thinks that's it for now.  I will update this post if I remember anything else!


  1. Another couple of tips you might find useful are that:

    Injectable banamine can be given orally in the exact same dose you would use for injecting or as a paste. You can mix it with something yummy, just squirt it in the mouth or dribble it onto a favored cookie and feed it (this is Ramsey's favorite method:) It is much cheaper this way and, when giving small doses as you are, it is much more exact and easier to control.

    Regarding water, there are two things you might try. First, every day the horses and donkeys get a handful of "grain" (actually just hay pellets, but they don't know that) mixed with their vitamuins and a bit of water to make it stick together. After feeding, I rinse the buckets and Emma and Ramsey love to drink this water. I think it may just be the appeal of getting the grain bucket, the joy of the forbidden you know, but it works.

    Second, I have the water bucket hanging from the wall a few inches from the floor. I noticed that when it gets about half way down, Emma's ears hit the wall when she drinks and she hates that and will leave. I now try to keep the bucket topped off and offer her water off the ground. She drinks a lot more that way. Ramsey is less fussy, thank God, but everything has to be just right for Emma or she won't drink. And God forbid if her ears get tickled!

    The things we do for these critters, huh? I hope this is useful to you and i am glad Dorrie is doing well.

  2. Thank you so much for this, Kris! Very interesting about the water bucket and ears! My buckets are "hitched" to the wall and on the floor but wow- haven't noticed if this is a problem or not - I'll keep watch. Also I noticed that if I fill the buckets, the heating coil doesn't warm the water, but if I fill to 2/3rds it does! So that's what I'm trying now.

    Good tip about the Banamine too - I am still feeling slightly anxious prob. cuz I am going away this weekend (gulp!)