Helping Others With Equines

Dee Howe

Beamer Enema Story

Horse ? Beamer 26 yr old Arab gelding

Colic Aid ? Epsom Salt Enema Induced

Previous known history-He has had a history of colicking every 2 years and had a trip to San Luis Rey equine hospital in 2005. After doing everything they could they were ready to put him down but one of the assistance stopped the doctor needle in hand. As a last resort, he took him out and ran him until the blockage came loose. The hospital kept him over night and sent him home the next day. After that incident we put him on a 2 week mineral oil treatment and kept him on psyllium for several months. We then transitioned to Epson salt which helps pull toxins from the body instead of coating the intestinal wall and slowing the process. Since then he has balanced out but had a light colic one time where we called the vet out to give him pain medication so we have kept him on psyllium as a preventative measure.

 Please computeAt this point, I would consider an enema for horses only as an aid in procedure when colic presents itself.  Right now, I choose to share this information because I believe that it will save the lives of many horses.  Please note that I have reservations, about giving a horse an enema, creating a situation where a horse can go into contractions or cramps, unless completely necessary. In the future, I may be proven skeptical and slow to support, but presently, although colonics may help any type of colon blockage that may occur, it seems that there is not enough information out there to fully comprehend the long term effects to the digestive system.  Until we have more understanding of how colonics affect the delicate & complexed digestive track of the equine, I believe that we should be patient and use it, (at the risk of repeating myself), for horses, only as an aid in procedure when colic presents itself.

In fall 2010 we noticed mild signs of colic but it was different from previous instances. Whereas he would normally thrash and kick at his side and become very sweaty this time he just seemed agitated, he was sucked up in his flank, kept getting up and down and blankly stared at his side.

So we gave him Banamine, put Epson salt in his lip, fed him psyllium/mineral oil on 1 cup of pellets and watched him for several hours. After much thought Dee decided to give him an enema. We put 1 1/2 cups of Epson salt in 3 1/2 gal. of warm water and used a human catheter (the only equipment we could find that would work).

With Beamers permission the procedure consisted of one person holding him at the head and two people administering the enema. One holding the tube and the other holding the bag from a step ladder after sliding the tube in as far as it would go (approx. 2 feet). It took an hour and a half to drain the contents of the bag.  During that time one could feel the tube going past three blockages. The first 2 gal. of water flushed out during the procedure but the last gal. was expelled almost 12 hours later with the stones.


As you can see the first bowel movement was 90% sand, gravel and stones. The second was about 75% sand and gravel and it gradually progressed to a completely normal bowel movement by the fifth one

 He expelled 20+ stones and approximately 3 lbs of sand by 10:00am the following morning.

Follow up:   After his ordeal his health has greatly improved and he looks 10 years younger. To keep him in a healthy state we have fed him psyllium and a mixture of various grains daily. We have also kept track of how much he is drinking, movement patterns and watched for any vitamin or mineral deficiency.     


Click here for an article from Horseman's Library about giving an enema

The book "How To Be Your Own Veterinarian" by Ruth James also contains a section on enemas.