Colic

Chewing rails, feeders and doors is a common habit in horses confined to stables and yards when fed mainly on concentrate diets. Horses at pasture will occasionally chew rails and trees, particularly during wet or cold weather.

Many horses will chew and may ring bark young trees in early spring, presumably because the sweet juicy sap is flowing, or pasture is lush and succulent with a lower fibre content. it is also possible that the high soluble starch intake on lush pasture leads to a hind-gut overload and fermentation with acid production, which irritates the gut, causing the horse to seek fibre to eat.

Most horses prefer to chew soft woods, including treated pine rails, plywood and particleboard. Observations indicate that a stabled horse spends an average of 8 minutes per day chewing stall fixtures. Although most of the wood chewed is not swallowed, splinters of wood may lodge between the teeth or lacerate the gums or tongue.

Wood chewing also wears away the front edges of the upper and lower incisor teeth. A horse confined to an outside steel fenced yard may develop a habit of licking the pipes, wearing off the paint and exposing the metal, which then rusts.

Breed

Some studies identified Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, Arabs and Warmbloods as having more frequent colics that other breeds, while other studies found the opposite was true. There are no proven trends.

Age

There is some evidence that more colics occur in horses between the ages of two and ten. Consider: these are the years of heavy training and performance. Horses may be under stress form frequent travel, competitions and changes in schedule.

Use

One study showed a higher risk of colic in eventers than in horses used for other sports. Another indicated that colic was more common in breeding stock than in pleasure horses. Consider: colonic twists are common in broodmares, and heavy lactation may induce dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.

Pasture/Stall

Horses pastured 24 hours a day have low rates of colic, and risk rises as stall time increases. Consider: stalled horses may get less exercise, eat less fresh forage and be under increased stress from boredom and lack of companionship.

Caregiver

Horses cared for by owners had fewer colics than horses cared for by trainers or managers. Consider: horses cared for by a trainer are somewhat more likely to be under stress because of exercise schedule, decreased turnout and a high-grain diet.

Concentrate portion of diet

Any inclusion of grain or concentrate increased colic risk over forage-only diets. Risk was greater as the amount of concentrate increased, even if the concentrate was split into several feedings per day. The highest risk was seen when horses ate pellets; a sequentially decreased risk was noted with consumption of whole grains (oats, barley), sweet feed and a combination of whole grains and processed feeds. Horses that were given more or less than their normal grain ration, a different type of grain, or any amount of mouldy grain had increased risk of colic.

Forage portion of diet

Horses getting 100% of their forage from grazing had the lowest incidence of colic. Horses that had hay added to their diet in the previous two weeks were at higher risk, as were horses starting into a new batch or a different type of hay. Orchard grass hay was linked with colic more frequently than alfalfa, coastal or Bermuda hay. Hay from round bales are associated with an increased colic risk. Feeding hay or grain on the ground was not identified as a colic risk factor.

Water

Water deprivation increased colic risk. Stall-kept horses with automatic waterers had more colic cases than horses watered from buckets. Consider: is it difficult to keep track of water consumption with automatic waterers, so an owner might not know if a horse had stopped drinking or had decreased its water intake. Horses should always have access to fresh, clean water.

History of previous colic

Horses that had been treated for colic were ore likely to have another episode than horses that had never suffered from colic. Consider: management strategies that led to the first colic could, if not modified, leave the horse at risk for further episodes. If colic surgery was done, adhesions or other complications could lead to another attack.

Other factors

Risk was somewhat higher for horses that had stable vices; were non-aggressive or at the bottom of the herd’s pecking order; grazed rocky soil; were given more than two types of supplement; were fed bran either daily or weekly; had been given antibiotics, bute or other drugs in the previous 30 days; had been de-wormed in the previous two weeks; or had health problems other than colic.

What does this mean in terms of feeding and managing horses?

  • Colic can occur even in the most carefully managed horses.
  • Anything that changes a horse’s routine may be linked to colic. Feeding changes (kind, amount, timing or sequence) seem to be the most significant, possibly because the horse’s digestive tract is excessively sensitive to disruptions in microflora, lactic acid concentration, proportion of volatile fatty acids, or pH. Horse owners should avoid change as much as possible and should make necessary feeding changes gradually over a period of several days or weeks.
  • It is important to realise that, while some factors are associated with an increased risk of colic, these factors do not necessarily cause colic. For instance, although using an automatic waterer is associated with a higher risk of colic, this practice does not cause a horse to colic, and watering from a bucket will not prevent colic. Owners and managers need to evaluate management practices in light of the known risk factors, considering each factor as it relates to an individual horse’s age, work, metabolism and feeding plan.
  • There are limitations to any study that considers all types of colic as the same illness – conclusions that apply to one type of colic may have nothing to do with other kinds.

Dr Sarah McCabe - BVSc

Veterinarian

Sarah graduated from James Cook University in 2023. Sarah’s enthusiasm for animals knows no bounds, extending from small domestic to large farming animals to the intriguing world of exotics.

This diverse interest certainly keeps things lively and engaging. Outside of her veterinary duties, Sarah shares her home with two beloved cats, Cricket and Remmy, and a golden retriever named Chester.

Ashleigh Hendersen

Ashleigh Hendersen

Veterinary Nurse

Ash is one of our multi-skilled nurses, with a love for anything from horses to small animals. She enjoys the amazing variety of patients in our mixed practice clinics, and goes from anaesthetising a cat for surgery to wrangling a lame goat without skipping a beat.

She joined us in 2017 with a wealth of knowledge, having worked for Veterinary Specialist Services as an oncology nurse. Her dogs (Reeva and Ralph) and horses (Holly and Dolly) keep her busy outside of work.

Andrew Marland

Dr Andrew Marland     BVSc (hons)

Practice Principal

Growing up on a local cattle property Andrew developed a love of animals and desire to become a veterinarian at an early age. After graduating in 2000 he entered mixed animal practice in western Queensland before working in the United Kingdom for 2 years.

Andrew is an Australian Cattle Vets accredited Bull tester and National Pregnancy Testing accredited examiner. Although spending much of his time working with cattle and horses Andrew enjoys all challenges of mixed animal practice.

Susan Carroll

Dr Susan Carroll     BVSc (hons)

Senior Veterinary Associate

Susan joined Vet Cross in Bundaberg in 2004. After graduating in 1998 Susan started her veterinary career in a country practice in regional Queensland later travelling overseas. After the birth of her 2 children she has continued studies and has now completed a course with the Centre for Veterinary Education in animal ultrasonography.

Kate Schroeder

Dr Kate Schroeder     BVSc (hons)

Veterinarian

Kate grew up in Bundaberg and studied at the University of Queensland, Gatton. Kate loves all aspects of mixed practice, in particular equine medicine & surgery. She has a passion for horse training, which comes in handy with her more fractious equine patients.

She enjoys spending time with her gorgeous Labrador, Walter, her many horses and accidentally-adopted cat, Gizmo.

Meghan Schibrowski

Dr Meghan Schibrowski     BVSc PhD

Veterinarian

Dr Meghan graduated from the University of Queensland in 2005 and started her career working in general practice and veterinary livestock consultancy. In 2015, Meghan completed a PhD investigating the epidemiology and pathological agents involved in the bovine respiratory disease complex in feedlot cattle and returned to her family’s property in Childers. Meghan joined the Vet Cross team in early 2020 after returning to general practice.

Meghan is an Australian Cattle Vets accredited Bull tester, holds PennHip certification, is a ParaBoss WEC QA Service Provider and is an Accredited Veterinarian with Animal Health Australia for provision of Market Assurance Programs including GoatMAP, SheepMAP and AlpacaMAP.

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Dr Jacqueline Greiner     BVSc

Veterinarian

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Dr Alanah Evans     BVSc

Veterinarian

Georgia Taylor

Dr Georgia Taylor     BVSc

Veterinarian

Dr Georgia studied at JCU in Townsville and moved to Bundaberg with her sister Kate and their cavoodle Spock.

Lilli Glass

Dr Lilli Glass     BVSc

Veterinarian

Doctor Lilli is from Harvey Bay and studied at JCU in Townsville. Dr Lilli has a keen interest in cattle reproduction and pretty much all aspects of the veterinary industry. In her spare time Lilli loves going to the beach with her beautiful boy Lenny who is pictured here with her.

Amy Cox

Dr Amy Cox     BVSc (Hons)

Veterinarian

Welcome Dr Amy. Dr Amy studied at UQ Gatton and graduated in 2017. Amy started working at a clinic in Maryborough before moving here in 2022. Dr Amys special interests are surgery and cattle.

Anna Logan

Anna Logan     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Anna has been working as a veterinary nurse for the Vet Cross team since 2008 graduating as a qualified veterinary nurse in 2011. Anna is a key team member being actively involved in training junior nurses, 2013 saw Anna take time off to start a family. Anna has a dog called Moose who is a rescue dog.

Amy Jensen

Amy Jensen     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse / Practice Manager

Amy has been working at Vet Cross since July 2009 and qualified as a Cert IV veterinary nurse in January 2014. Amy is a talented nurse and is often found helping clients on the phone or at the front desk. Amy is an asset to the Vet Cross team. She has a Shih Tzu called Penny and a Labrador called Norman.

Bec Nicholson

Bec Nicholson     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Bec joined the Vet Cross team in 2015. She is most happy nursing for our bovine patients, with cattle medicine and surgery being one of her passions. She also enjoys being able to provide physiotherapy for our small animal orthopaedic patients. Bec has been in the veterinary industry for 9 years, having started as a kennel hand when she was 14 years old. Bec successfully completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2016. Outside of work she is kept busy with her hobby farm and dogs as well as her 2 sons Charlie and Tommie.

Sarah Manderson

Sarah Manderson     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Sarah is our resident ‘Crazy Cat Lady’. She joined the Vet Cross team in 2016, having been a qualified vet nurse since 2012. Her special interests are radiography, orthopaedic nursing and anything feline, with a special ability to calm even our most anxious kitty patients. Sarah has two extra fluffy, extra lovable cats, Felix and Cooper, and enjoys playing the cello.

Courtney Milne

Courtney Milne     QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse

2021 was a busy year for nurse Courtney, she finished her studies and became a qualified veterinary nurse (QVN) and gave birth to her and her partner Mat’s first child Hailey. Baz the cattle dog and Jax the Border Collie are very excited about their new sister.

Brooke Jackson

Brooke Jackson

Veterinary Nurse

Brooke is currently studying her certificate 3 in veterinary nursing is looking forward to starting her cert 4. Brooke has 2 very energetic dogs named Maloo and Maggie.

Dr April Fegredo - BVSc (hons)

Veterinarian

Dr April pursued her studies at UQ in Brisbane, earning her degree in 2023. Her professional interests span a wide spectrum, with a particular focus on behavior, emergency and critical care, neonatal care, soft tissue surgery, and weight loss consultations.
Sheridan Philips

Sheridan Philips

Veterinary Nurse

Sheridan started with Vet Cross in October 2020. Sheridan is born and bred in Bundy, her family have been living in the area for over 130 years. Growing up on a hobby farm Sheridan has had many different pets over the years and enjoys riding the family horses. Sheridan’s most treasured pet is Annabelle the 14 year old Mini Foxy.

Brooke Land

Brooke Land

Veterinary Nurse
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Sarah Boersch     QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse
Leah White

Leah White

Nurse

Welcome Nurse Leah. Leah and her Husband Blake moved to Bundaberg from North Brisbane in 2022. Leah has been in the veterinary industry for 2 years and is currently studying her certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing. She is the loving fur mum of Cinders the Bull Arab X.

Rachel McGregor

Rachel McGregor

Veterinary Nurse
Rachel is a Bundy girl and her family have cattle properties out at Mt Perry. Having grown up with large animals Rachel has a keen interest in them and is looking forward to starting her studies in 2022.
Amanda Polizel QVN

Amanda Polizel

Nurse

Amanda Bickmore

Amanda Bickmore

Marketing / Receptionist

Amanda started her Vet Cross journey in 2013 as a receptionist. However, she soon demonstrated her creative talents and is now primarily our marketing manager. She loves the ability to tell the stories of our furry and feathered friends, as well as being able to inform and educate clients, both old and new.

She has a Labrador named Molly.

Jo Logan

Jo Logan

Gin Gin Receptionist

Jo is the face of Vet Cross Gin Gin. She loves being able to greet our clients and is always up for a chat. She joined us in 2011 and she has become a massive part of the Gin Gin family.

Jo is kept busy by her three big dogs Ruby, Zip and Zeus.

Jackie Sergiacomi

Jackie Sergiacomi

Receptionist

Jackie Joined the Vet Cross team in 2016. Jackie has over 24 years experience and says she couldn’t imagine her life without the excitement and satisfaction that comes from being in the veterinary industry. Jackie’s experience has ranged from a nurse right through to accounts and management. Jackie has been competing in endurance racing for the past 30 years and loves that the sport takes her to beautiful parts of Australia that otherwise she may have missed.

Jess Raines

Chloe Hancock

Receptionist

Chloe joined the Vet Cross team in 2018. Chloe and her now Husband Guy were married in May 2019, they moved here from Ballarat. Chloe has a Foxxy named Maggie and a ginger cat named Milo.

Jade Switzer QVN

Jade Switzer QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse

Jade has been with Vet Cross since August 2021 but her career in the veterinary industry started 24 years ago. In that time Jade has worked as an equine nurse and has experience with all large animals. Jade has a particular interest in working with anxious dogs and loves providing physiotherapy to small animals.

Kirsty OG

Kirsty Jansen

Receptionist

Kirsty splits her time between our Bundaberg and Bargara clinics. At home, she’s the proud companion of Nudge, a delightful character who wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of a photoshoot. In her spare time, you’ll find Kirsty behind her hooks, enjoying knitting and crocheting.

Jess OG

Jess Raines

Receptionist

Before joining us, Jess embarked on an adventurous journey, exploring every nook and cranny of Australia for a whole year. On top of her wanderlust, Jess proudly calls herself the parent of a charming cockatiel named Monty. In addition to her love for travel and animals, Jess is a keen runner and trains most days.
Tammie 2

Tammie

Melbourne

Tammie joined Vet Cross in 2022, bringing with her a rich farming background. Over the years, she has cared for horses, cattle, and pigs. Currently, Tammie is the proud owner of two horses, Mia and Nikki, as well as two dogs, Gordo and Ruby. On weekends, she enjoys taking joy rides on her Vulcan 650 Cruiser.
Tim Hill

Dr Tim Hill     BVSc MACVS

Practice Principal

Tim graduated from University of Queensland in 1993 and, because of his interest in soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, gained Membership of Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery in 2006.

Tim completed the PennHip certification in 2009 enabling accurate assessment and evaluation of hip screening, he also has a diploma in animal ophthalmology. Tim travelled throughout Australia and the United Kingdom and gained extensive experience in mixed and dairy practices.

07 4151 5044