How Much Does Colic Surgery Cost?
Colic surgery is considered a major abdominal surgery and is a common procedure done among horses who are suffering from colic. This is a form of abdominal pain that can be caused by many factors, the most common of which is an obstruction in the intestines. This is a serious medical issue among horses. In fact, colic is one of the leading causes of premature death among domesticated horses. With colic surgery, veterinarians will surgically explore the horse’s abdomen to check for any damage, blockage, or any other reasons for the animal’s discomfort. Although surgery is not the sole option, it sometimes is the best option to save horses lives.
How much does it cost?
- The Colorado State University College Veterinary Teaching Hospital mentioned that the charge for the surgery will depend on the type of colic from which the horse is suffering. The least expensive colic surgery can be as low as $2,800. The most complicated surgical cases which require removal of dead intestine may exceed $8,000. However, majority of colic patients fall within the $3,500 to $5,500 range.
- According to a forum thread on Horsecity.com, users revealed that most horse owners have paid in the thousands of dollars for the said procedure to be done to their horses. The South Shore Equine Clinic and Diagnostic Center states that the general cost estimated is $2,500 to $5,000 for medical treatments and $6,000 to $12,000 for the surgical procedure.
- Also, according to the Meddleton Equine Veterinary Hospital, the average colic surgery will cost around $8,000 to $10,000. However, the price can go as high as $15,000 or more if the procedure proves to be a lot complicated than that of ordinary surgery.
What is going to be included?
- Colic surgery is a very physical job that is performed by a team of medical professionals. In the said procedure, the horse is anesthetized and hoisted by its feet to a padded surgical table. A 15-inch incision is made at the midline of the horse’s abdomen. The surgeon explores the interior of the abdomen with the aim of locating the problem. Heavy segments of intestine must be pulled out of the abdomen. Surgical repair may include clearing a blockage, repositioning twisted intestines, or removing segments of damaged intestines.
- The surgery usually takes one and half to 4 hours. Once the surgeon is confident that the abdomen is free of other problems, the abdomen will be closed very carefully with heavy suture material. The horse will then be taken back to the padded stall and recovered from anesthesia. Once he is steady on his feet, he is moved to his stall.
- For a detailed procedure of the entire surgery, the official site of the University of Liverpool discusses everything that the surgery covers from pre-surgical preparation to the horses’ recovery.
What are the extra costs?
- Extended hospital stay. As mentioned, the costs for the surgery may go as high as $15,000 (or even more) if the surgery is on the more complicated side. The figure may be as high as this one if the horse must stay in the hospital for too long. Since the procedure can be so complicated, the recovery period may be a bit longer as well.
- Post-operative care. Horses undergoing colic surgery are required basic post-operative care. Urine output should be monitored subjectively in horses following colic surgery to evaluate renal function as well as the adequacy of fluid therapy. This procedure requires additional fees.
- Medications. There may be medications prescribed to your horse for the weeks following the surgery. These may be to help with the pain from the procedure as well as to prevent infection.
Factors that influence the price:
- Complexity/severity of the procedure
- Location/Vet clinic’s (hospital) location
Tips to know:
- It must be noted that Colic surgery is not for every horse. Intense colic cases are stressful events for horse owners who have not been through this sort of thing before. Older horses and horses that have other diseases are not good candidates for the procedure as well.
- In addition, those horses which could not tolerate being locked in a stall for the weeks following surgery are not good candidates for the said procedure.
- According to Equinehospital.net, only 7% of horses and ponies had problems which could be treated by colic surgery.
How can I save money?
- If you have pet insurance, most policies will cover at least a portion of this procedure. You have to contact you insurance company and inform them about the surgery. A particular insurance agency, for example, gives a coverage limit of 60% of the insured value with a maximum of $3,000, without deductibles. Full Mortality policies automatically include Free Emergency Colic Surgery coverage, providing the horse has no history of colic problems. If you can have your insurance secure a portion of the costs, then that is indeed favorable for your budget.