Colic Rehabilitation Program

Oct 13, 2014
Disease colic

Following Colic Surgery, your horse will need a 60-90 day recovery period before starting back into work. This is a critical time of healing and will give your horse the best chance of a full recovery. Use the following as a guideline, but you should review this with your Veterinarian and modify it to fit your specific housing conditions.

  1. Stall rest with hand walking for 15-20 minutes one to two times daily for 60 days.
  2. Allow turnout into a small paddock or a stall with a run for an additional 30 days.
  3. Bring Back to work SLOWLY!!!! Monitor closely for signs of swelling in the incision area or increased soreness and call if seen.
  4. After 90 days start with 4 weeks of walking and trotting on the longeline. Work him 5-6 days per week. This needs to be done in a very controlled manner wherein he is not allowed to rip and buck so that he does not tear muscle at the incision.
    • Week 1: Walk 10 minutes, then trot 1 minute, walk 2 minutes, trot 1 minute, then repeat in the other direction. Then walk 5 minutes.
    • Week 2: Walk 10 minutes, then trot 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes, trot 2 minutes, then repeat in the other direction. Then walk 5 minutes.
    • Week 3: Add a third repetition of 2 minutes of walking and trotting.
    • Week 4: Add a fourth repetition of 2 minutes of walking and trotting.
  5. Then 4 weeks of trotting under saddle. Before trotting start out with a long walking warm up.
    • Week 1: 5 minutes trotting.
    • Week 2: 5 minutes of trotting, then walk, then 5 minutes of trotting.
    • Week 3: 5 minutes of trotting, then walk, then 5 minutes of trotting, walk, then 5 min trotting.
    • Week 4: 5 minutes of trotting, then walk, then 5 minutes of trotting, walk, 5 minutes of trotting, then walk, then 5 minutes of trotting for a total of 20 minutes trotting.
  6. Week 5-8: Start adding 3-5 total minutes of canter in each ride.
Dr. Mark Meddleton, DVM

Written by Mark Meddleton, DVM

Dr. Meddleton is a 1991 graduate of Cornell University and completed a Medical & Surgical Internship at the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc., has been performing Chiropractic since 1994, and has extensively studied Equine Dentistry. He spent 4 years in a large performance horse practice in the Albany/Saratoga region of NY and moved to NM in 1996.