Colicky Cortessa

Dr. Debra is currently visiting the Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat in Costa Rica. They have a stable full of horses that she is caring for until her return home on October 5th.


While preparing to record a video for our new ICEBREAKERS with Dr. Debra series, she was summoned to help with a colicky horse named Cortessa, who is also pregnant. The mare was bloated and had displaced her colon into her rectum. They had been walking her and given her Banamine a few hours earlier.

Dr. Barbara Page, another veterinarian from Arizona, was visiting and had intervened. She had given Cortessa sedation, passed a stomach tube, and was administering oil and water. An IV line was also placed and 3L of fluid given while Dr. Debra was there.

Dr. Debra was asked to do what she could with acupuncture. She placed a few needles while the fluids were running. Then she started doing bodywork on Cortessa, at which point the mare became more alert as her sedation wore off. Cortessa began to act more comfortable and Dr. Page commented on the fact that the medicines given to her for pain had already worn off. Her heart rate continued to drop, and she even began to lick and chew a bit. Then the doctors started noticing a softening in her abdomen indicating things had started to shift, and she began having gut sounds again.

Now that Cortessa was more alert and had gotten the full bag of fluids, the horse handler began lunging her. After a bit she started passing gas. Then everything was moved out of the arena so Cortessa could be free lunged. More passing of gas and increased willingness to move from the mare occurred. Dr. Page and Dr. Debra checked Cortessa and removed her IV line. She was worked a bit more until her sides were down to normal and her gut sounds had also normalized.


When Dr. Debra checked on Cortessa a couple hours later, she had passed some small piles of manure. Cortessa greeted and followed Dr. Debra until she received another bodywork session. She had no halter on and was free to move about the arena however she wished. She would move off and come back for more. The only thing she seemed to keep saying was, “Can I have some food please?”. “I’m really hungry, look I’ll even eat old dead leaves…”. But she was on water only until the next day.


Dr. Debra visited Cortessa again the next day. She looked up, nickered to Dr. Debra, and left her food for a quick visit.


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