Will My Horse Survive Colic Surgery?

There are no easy answers when it comes to colic surgery, just as there are no easy decisions.
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will my horse survive colic surgery
Regardless of the cause of the colic episode, the fact remains that, if your veterinarian exhausts the non-surgical options, and your horse isn’t getting better, you’ll be faced with the decision of whether or not to load him on a trailer and haul him to the nearest equine surgical facility for intensive monitoring, treatment, and possible surgery. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
For the record: I’ve endured the agony of seeing a beloved horse go through not one, but two surgeriesthe first a colic surgery, the second to treat postoperative complicationsand it was hell. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I hope you never will.

Fortunately, my horse made a complete recovery and went on to live a useful life. When I look back on the whole nightmare, I wish I’d learned more about colic surgery and its aftermath before I had to make important decisions under sleep-deprived, emotionally wrung-out pressure. I know you don’t want to think about the prospect of your horse in pain and facing hospitalization any more than you relish the thought of planning your own funeral. Realize, though, that unpleasant as the subject might be, it’s a lot easier to contemplate the possibilities when you’re calm and not faced with a crisis.

In this article, we’ll do just that. We’ll walk you through the process that leads to the large-animal hospital’s door, and we’ll tell you what to expect once you get there. You’ll find out how equine insurance can help ease surgery’s financial whammy, and you’ll get an overview of the recovery process and the major complications that can arise.

Finally, we’ll fill you in on research into ways to beat this dreaded disease and its aftermath

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Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation’s magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site, www.jenniferbryant.net.

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