Horses » Colic in an elderly pony


Colic in an elderly pony

My 18 year old Shetland Pony has had a couple of episodes of colic recently. There has been no change in diet - Hi Fi Lite, barley straw,hay - although I have increased his rations recently as he seemed hungry. I managed to treat both episodes with liquid paraffin, lots of juicy carrots and exercise (advised by my vet when my donkey had an impaction) - do you think it is likely to have been caused by an impaction due to too much dry feed or could it potentially be something more sinister? I am thinking that 18 may be quite old for a Shetland....


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Martina Stuart

18 is late middle age for a Shetland pony. I have known many of them reach late 20's.
Impactions are often associated with eating a dry diet especially straw and also more likely if the teeth are not doing a good grinding job. Try to maintain the succulent intake have the teeth checked and also check that the worming programe has included a tape worm dose in the last 6 months. If it has not then give a double dose of strongid P soon.
I approve of the liquid parafin and carrots but question if excercise is of any benefit in most impactions. Having said that I have often known loading into a trailer and taking a trip round the block have the desired effect when all else seems to have failed.
Make sure fresh clean water is always available.



Thanks for the advice - I haven't treated for tapeworm for a while so will get that done ASAP. Would you suggest that I ask my vet to check out the teeth or should I call out a "horse dentist"? Neither the pony nor my 2 donkeys have ever had their teeth properly checked so I am wondering whether I should get all 3 examined - they are all aged around 18 - 20 years.


Martina Stuart

Who to get to check the teeth depends on who is available locally. Vets and horse dentists (equine dental technicians-check they have the credentials) vary. Ask other horse owners or local livery yard owners to recomend someone. Whoever you get ask them to show you and explain what they are doing and why, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
I am sure you are already aware that shetland ponies and donkeys are a law unto themselves. Both will test the skill and patience of either vet or dentist. So good luck.
please post the results.


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