What’s Your Horse Colic Contingency Plan?

Being well-prepared for colic could mean the difference between life and death for your horse. Here’s what you need to know.
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Luta
You can never fully prepare for colic. But you can put a few plans in place and study up before colic hits to navigate the episode as smoothly as possible. | Photo: iStock

Being well-prepared for colic could mean the difference between life and death

Her name means miracle. And that’s what Valutha Milagra—or, more affectionately, “Luta”—is. Luta survived an extremely serious colic and two back-to-back colic surgeries after ingesting a porcupine quill at 11 months old. Today, at 8 years old, Luta’s digestive system is tricky, risky, and unreliable. But the beautiful Andalusian is alive, thriving, and “playful, mischievous, and energetic,” says owner Judy Rutherford of Rutherford Rubicon Farm, near Saskatoon, Canada.

While Luta’s survival might seem like a miracle, it’s not entirely. Rutherford’s sharp observation skills, quick thinking, and readiness for an emergency had a lot to do with the outcome. Because no matter how careful you are and how much you guard your horses against it, colic can happen. An estimated 10% of horses colic every year—and up to 10% of those will need intensive medical or surgical care.

The survivors are usually the ones blessed by living under the care of well-prepared humans. Here’s how you can be one of those owners

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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