Raven’s colic saga has unfortunately continued since her last update. Although her colics are usually very minor, we still want to get to the bottom of the problem and find a solution if we can. We hauled her into Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital last week for an internal medicine consult with Dr. Mollat.

Checking out the machine while being prepped for her ultrasound

Dr. Mollat performed a full abdominal ultrasound on Raven. There was nothing found that would indicate an inflammatory bowel condition, as her intestinal walls all looked normal. Everything looked normal, with one exception. Raven’s spleen is out of place. On exam, it was discovered that she had colon in between the spleen and the body wall, which is abnormal. It’s unknown if this is the cause of her colic episodes, but it potentially could be.

Investigating her new feeder

The bad news is that, short of exploratory surgery (which was not recommended at this time), there aren’t really any more options for diagnostics to determine the source of Raven’s colic episodes. The good news is that we have some ideas to try going forward that will hopefully help decrease her stomach aches. Pilchuck donated an iFeed automatic horse feeder to us that we have set up to give Raven frequent small meals throughout the night. These frequent meals will help neutralize stomach acid and more closely mimic the natural grazing behavior of horses. We will also begin offering Raven fresh grass to see if her body tolerates it. Fresh grass was not a new idea, but we have been waiting for a cessation of her colics before trying it.

Ulla from the iFeed company came out to help us set up our feeder specifically for Raven. It was incredibly useful to have her guidance in figuring out the system since none of us here had used one before. Raven figured out quite quickly that this nifty little grey thing outside her stall spits out little portions of food 15 seconds after it makes a noise, and that it does that 12 times every hour and a half.

We are hopeful that we’re getting ever closer to finding the best management plan for Raven with the help of our support team of veterinarians at Pilchuck and Rainland Farm. It’s likely that she will continue to have minor colic episodes throughout her life, but keeping them as minor and as infrequent as we can is the goal.