What’s your diagnosis?

A 7 month old Appaloosa filly presented to SVEC with a history of recurring colic symptoms.

What is your diagnosis and next steps/treatments?

The Saginaw Valley Equine Answer

During the physical exam, the filly was standing quietly with little interest in her surroundings. Occasionally she would grind her teeth. Gut sounds were present in all quadrants, but possible sand was heard in her ventral abdomen. Her digital pulses were within normal limits.

Blood work revealed mild lymphocytosis, which can indicate infection, and low BUN due to muscle loss from not eating. A nasogastric intubation revealed no net reflux or feed material. 1/4 liter water with electrolytes and 1/4 gal mineral oil were given. An abdominal radiograph showed mild sand accumulation in her large colon.

This filly was diagnosed with mild colic, most likely due to sand. Sand irritation can cause mild colic, depression, and anorexia.  The anorexia, in turn can cause stomach ulcers, which can further decrease her appetite. She went home on SMZ’s, Gastrogard and Psyllium. Feeding changes included eliminating grain for one month and feeding roughage as much as possible to help remove the sand. Alfalfa hay/soaked pellets can also be fed to help buffer stomach acid.