The surgery is usually very straightforward. By the time I consider surgery, the horse or pony is fairly ill, and often they are in so much pain they will lie on their backs without restraint while the nurses clip the hair off their bellies. We anesthetize them and scrub the surgical area with antiseptic soap. The area is draped, and an incision is made. I then stick my small, gloved hand in the abdomen and feel around for displacements (few and far between) and the primary fecal ball. I almost always can break down the blockage without entering the intestine itself. The abdomen is closed with three lines of sutures to ensure that it stays together when the horse wakes up and during the next few hours while the abdomen is still distended with wind or gas.
Pam and Paul Champion with another colicky horse
Small colon distended and discolored from the impaction
Liam and Harley
Olympia and Lauren