Kim Baker Horse Guru Blog
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Holistic Tips for Equine Gas Colic
Colic is a scary thing that happens to horses, and the sooner you catch it the better off your horse will be. Gas colic is when gas builds up anywhere in the horse's gastrointestinal tract. Causing factors can be stress, inadequate access to roughage, or rich pasture grass, poor parasite management, and other unknown factors.
Having experienced gas colic several times with horses and consulted with several veterinarians and holistic practitioners on the topic, I found the following treatments to be successful in alleviating the horse's pain and allowing the gas to pass.
1. Hook up your horse trailer and take your horse for a ride on a bumpy dirt road.
2. Energy healing - any modality works by focusing on the gas pocket and visualizing its movement out of the system.
3. Walk your horse.
4. Allow your horse to lay down quietly, as this can help move the gas further up the GI Tract (partner this with energy healing).
5. Working your horse's ears (reflexology) to stimulate your horse's body to heal. Stand facing your horse, and grasp one ear in each hand. Stroke from the base of the ear (folding the ear in half) to the tip of the ear directly outwards from your horse's head (at a 90 degree angle out from the head). Do this rapidly over and over again until you sense your horse has had enough. Allow some time to pass, and do the motion again if your horse's symptoms have not improved. Use your intuition on the lengths of time (session and in between sessions).
6. Acupressure on your horse's ear shock point. The very tip of your horse's ear is his/her shock point. Gently apply pressure to the tip, it can be steady pressure (like the acupressure technique) or it can be a massaging pressure. Again trust your intuition and the messages your horse is sending you on amount of pressure, length of time, etc..
7. Belly lifts. A TTouch method from Linda Tellington-Jones, doing belly lifts starting from the chest of the horse and slowly working towards the hips. Use a towel and lift and hold the belly and count out loud to ten. Then very, very slowly release the lift. Use your intuition on how many repetitions to do in one spot before moving further back towards your horse's hips.
8. Gas Anal Point. Lift your horse's tail. Just above the anus and below the dock of the tail is a gas pressure point. Gently massage or use acupressure technique on this point. You will know you have found the right point because with a true gas colic you will feel a pulsing sensation similar to a heartbeat. As the gas build up releases the pulsing reduces, and eventually stops altogether.
9. Brew Slippery Elm Bark, Marshmallow Root, Fennel Seed and Cinnamon together into a tea and then give it to your horse over whole oats (see recipe below for details). This coats the GI Tract and allows things to move.
10. Arnica Montana homeopathic for pain, muscle test your horse for exact dosage. Note: if the pain is too much (nothing seems to be helping and you do not see signs of improvement), then Banamine from your veterinarian is required to break the pain cycle.
11. Carbo Vegetabilis homeopathic for stomach bloating with gas, muscle test your horse for exact dosage.
The keys are to break the pain cycle and to get things flowing again in the GI Tract. The longer the colic goes on, the more likely you will need direct veterinarian assistance. You know your horse best so trust your instincts and intuition. Always consult with your veterinarian on how to proceed. These tips are meant as a compliment to traditional veterinarian care, and not meant as replacement treatment or diagnosis.
Gas Colic Herb Recipe:
1 tablespoon powdered Slippery Elm Bark
Feed 1/2 cup to 1 cup over 1/4-1/2 cup whole oats (or some other natural non-processed food stuff your horse likes to eat) 2-3 times/day.