People's who use the O'Leary "Drench"

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by sambo, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. woki

    woki New Member

    I am not judging your treatment choices, just providing a scientific opinion. Your bag herbs is not veterinary in any way, it may be comforting to call it "vet tricks" but inappropriate. As vet I use science and medicine to diagnose and treat disease, it might seem tricky, but its not really. I have learned over the years that many diseases in animals get better with or without treatments.

    Nothing wrong with applying common sense, I do it myself.
  2. sil

    sil Gold Member

    It's been nearly 3 years since I posted on this thread! Happily colic free in that time :)
  3. Mater

    Mater Well-known Member

    My horses have been sand/colic free in the past 20 or so years and I've never done any "preventative" drenching. Must be all the air and water they get. ;)
  4. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Actually Mater, that doesn't surprise me at all. :)

    As I wrote earlier, the only legitimate research on this subject basially says that oil does not move sand one iota!

    The best and only effect method of removing sand/preventing sand build-up, is to provide copious amounts of hay in their everyday diet (although of course, there is much to be said for preventing picking in sandy paddocks in the first place).

    Its important to remember too that colic (ie a pain in the tummy) can be caused by a myriad of things and a build up of sand is just one.

  5. chickiboom

    chickiboom New Member

    I find this comment quite upsetting that it 'hints' at the thought of anyone using a products other than Vets to be considered "unacceptable on Welfare" grounds. Plus the fact Dr that you also are only working on your "Experience" and that also could classified as 'Unacceptable on Welfare grounds"? Doesnt it?
    I have owned horses for 25yrs plus and have drenched more times with so called Proven methods than i care to imagine it, and always pondered at why oh why when the vet would say "oh he has at least 15kgs of sand in his gut" would i be lucky to find a cup full /if any come pass thru. Plus the fact i have seen many, many horses become a lot worse after drenching, some even losing their battle.

    Now here goes, i live in Good old Sandy country and have been using Mr O'learys recipe for near on 6 yrs. I have NOT had a sand colic in any way whatsover, and having over 8 horses at any one time is pretty good going. As far as i'm concerned Parrafin/ Berg and whatever other oils that can be put into a horses throat came from Grandpa's great grandfathers backyard Recipe!! Who's to say Mr O'leary's is any different as NEITHER are scientifically proven.

    I am not saying this is for everyone, but i will continue to use it for as long as i own horses,
    * I honey drench twice a year
    * Honey drench at start of Major Show prep
    * I do my youngster (in there Dams feed) from 3 months on, more to get the taste.
    * Only use honey without any preservatives in it.

    All that IMO

    Happy Horsing :)
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  6. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    I think you'll find Chickiboom that Woki relies on quite a bit more than "personal experience" when weighing up treatments/prevention for sand colic ;) He happens to be one of the most widely read and widely respected horse vets in the state.
    Woki did say "may be unacceptable on welfare grounds", not will be.
    Sadly, it is true that there are no really good large scale studies that prove which treatment/prevention is better for sand colic. There are some small scale studies on oil, ad lib hay, and on psyllium. As far as I am aware, there are NO controlled studies on the O Leary drench. So although we don't have any really good proof for any of them, when it comes to levels of support, there is probably more scientific support for oil or psyllium than there is for honey and cream.
    ETA: I would concur NattyH that oil on it's own does not shift sand - whereas in my experience oil and epsom salts does.
    As for your personal experience, that is laudable and I can understand that you are rapt with the O Leary drench.
    I have had horses for a long time too... in large numbers... I live on sandy country... I treat with oil and espom salts, sometimes with psyllium, and in my horse owning life I have had one horse colic, shortly after he came to me and before I had given him oil drenches. So does that prove oil and psyllium work for me? No - only that it has probably helped, and that I have been lucky!
    But we just don't know enough about what happens in a horse's gut to start sand causing a problem, or why one horse will get sand colic and another not when they are managed in the same way. And I'm sorry, but on a science basis 25 years of horse owning by one person is not enough to represent statistical significance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2012
  7. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    IMO anyone who even knows what the JOL drench is, is already reading, researching and probably managing sustainable colic prevention.

    I agree that neither the JOL drench, nor psyllium husk, nor oil drenches have anymore scientific evidence for excellence than each other for "prevention"...but continually adapting & improving your management will only help your horse :)

    Touch wood - haven't ever had a colic, eiher b4 or after using the JOL drench **)
  8. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    I think you are exceptionally clever for that little post Wattle- so much so that a 'like' button just didn't cut it for me :)
    Very clever indeed :)
  9. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    Awww thanks :eek:

    Woki, something else you've written is niggling at me. That we see this topic come up every year (which we do), and generally at the same times of year. For myself, over the past few years, I've noticed a cpl of my horses will turn into termites at this time of year. Tho I've not had a colic....I aimed this year to get past termite-season. Do you think there is an association between sand/colic/wood-chewing? This year I wormed an extra time at the start of March (like..short-cycled the wormers), increased my bran and did a JOL drench. I've had no wood chewing this year :D I also noticed end-of-March that bot flies arrived (and, curiously, a lot more intensely around blackboy plants we have on the property).

    I am labeling this season as the Easter alarm-period.....because if I can associate it with easter, there will be plenty of bells and whistles that it's approaching.
  10. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    Woki - in your opinion what is the best management technique for horse owners to prevent colic. What can we as horse owners do?

    At the moment my horses are on pasture during the day and yarded at night. In the dry when pasture is low they are fed ad lib hay. Sometimes I feed them psyllium husks, but it is difficult to get them to eat it and I have been told so many ways of feeding it (amounts etc) that its confusing. So I don't often do it.

    What other options do I have that in your eyes may improve on this? I would rather use as many preventative measures as I can than one day walk out to see my horse rolling around in pain on the ground and call my vet only to find it is too little too late - something I have unfortunately already been faced with.
  11. katelol

    katelol Guest

    I've heard the wood chewing can be associated with ulcers, but isn't everything?

    Personally, I think its possibly because we have a bit of rain at this time of year and it makes the wood a bit yummier and chewier. Its probably a bit dry and tough in the hotter months. Last year I kept my filly in a bushy paddock and all the horses did a lot of wood eating over winter :}
  12. chickiboom

    chickiboom New Member

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  13. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    You're right, I don't know a thing about you.
    However, I didn't mount a personal attack on you.... I merely pointed out that from the view of a trained scientist/epidemiologist, the experience (however long) of one person does not constitute a level of proof that I find acceptable. Any more than my experience is proof of anything else! I retain an open mind on drenching and in fact have used the O Leary drench on my own horses. Didn't see any major benefits over and above oil and epsom salts, so I went back to that. And that is ALSO my personal experience.
    I'm not going to tell anyone to change if it seems to be working for them. What object to is people saying that because it appears to have kept their personal horses clear of colic for a long period, it therefore MUST be better than other treatments, when the proof simply isn't out there.
    As to implying that it's some sort of market protection conspiracy on the part of vets...:} if any vet is relying on drenching horses to keep them afloat, then they're in trouble. I'm quite sure people like Woki would rather spend their time doing the exciting stuff like surgery!

    Yup. And I've given you mine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2012
  14. woki

    woki New Member

    I certainly feel that chewing wood/sand in large amounts can lead to bowel impaction ie colic, but I am not aware of any direct casual association between wood chewing and sand eating - however, both sand eating and wood chewing are regarded as abnormal if excessive ( ie a type of eating behaviour called pica).

    The major factors that are postulated to cause pica in horses are; boredom, lack of fibre, salt deficiency, lack of access to grazing.

    At this time of year, there maybe factors like these at play that create a stimulus for horses to eat sand and chew wood - who knows - but you sure have an interesting observation - well done.
  15. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Woki, and AnnaE, possibly a little off subject here, but can I ask if you think giving a horse with ulcers, salt in its feed, will aggrevate the ulcers?

  16. woki

    woki New Member

    The only sure fire way to prevent sand colic is to;

    1. have your horse live in a low risk sand environment ie do not let horses graze on sandy soils - geopgraphy, pasture management, yard management and stocking rates are factors that need to be considered

    2. horses that must/do live on high risk environments/pastures need correct feeding practices that are comprised of bulk fibre feeding (hay) and prevention of sand eating and possible either regular psyllium and/or drenching with a product that causes purging/evacuation of the bowel - the aim being to remove excessive and accumulated sand from the bowel of the horse. I use naso gastric tubing with a mix of parafin oil, water, espom salts and Tympanyl Oral.

    All of these products/ingredients are scientifically proven to cause bowel evacuation; faecal softening, faecal lubrication, increased bowel activity, increased ingesta passage and voiding. Does this mean that sand is removed, excreted ?? My recipe hasnt been tested in a scientific study, but after using it on over 4000 sand colics I can tell you that its efficacy meets with my professional comfort zone, but I would like something better - its not 100% effective or without complication, as I freely admit to myself and anyone else that it is a crude way to treat/manage a serious disease.

    The accepted medical method to remove sand or ingesta from the bowel of an animal - is purging via a process that in simple terms results from "irritation" to the digestive system via a substance given either orally, rectally or by injection. There are many products that can do this, with advantages and disadvantages applicable to each method.

    Historically, there have been/are products that cause purging in horses that were effective in many cases to treat sand accumulation. Years ago, vets like myself and the Dr. Daley from Capel - we used a product known as Fizzic or Phyzic Balls - balls of powder (danthron) to purge horses - it worked great - but was brutal and not very safe with many side effects and fatalities - danthron is now a prohibited product because it causes cancer.

    Injections of carbachol induce purging in horses, but often with fatal consequences. Enema's are not effective in adult horses.

    Currently I use a sand treatment drenching recipe that I feel professionally offers the correct balance of; risk, value, effectiveness, ethicality, safety and science. I have considered the use of the Oleary drench, but I do not professionally feel that I can recommend its use because it does not achieve the balance of factors that a "sand drench" requires.

    As a vet, I have specific concerns about its efficacy and safety - having treated many horses for sand colic that have had a history of its use, and also having seen sick horses in essence "poisoned" by it use. The apparent author (name sake) of the products recipe does not provide a mode of action for the drench - so by best principles I can only assume that if it does help remove sand, it does so via a digestive upset/intestinal fauna disruption through the application of a large single dose of pure sugar and fat - two things that horses do not regularly eat in quantity, and may also be poisonous to horses with metabolic diseases like EMS and PPID(cushings) and laminitis. Rapidly changing the fauna of a horse's bowel can cause sickness and enteritis. I am extremely sceptical of its effectiveness but accept through anecdotes that most horses tolerate it.

    I earn money from the nasogastric drenching/treating horses for sand colic/sand accumulation - buts its a job I hate doing more than anything else;

    • Its dangerous - in 22 years I have had 2 broken hands, 2 broken ribs, 3 bouts of concussion, a broken foot, broken nose, broken jaw and facial fractures. I have near death injuries at at least 2 occassions, 7 stays in hospital and one ambulance ride, 4 surgeries - all these injuries occured during the nasogastric tubing of horses.
    • Its dirty, hard, physical work, often at night and on weekends and public holidays. Sand colic ruins my family life, my Xmas, my long weekends, my sleep. It is not an important part of the financial side of my business, but is an essential service that we feel obligated to provide.
    • Treating sand colics is stressful, euthanising sand colics is so distressing, I have euthanised over 250 horses with untreatable/unresponsive sand colics - sand colic is a horrible horrible disease.
    • It doesnt pay well and professionally sand drenching of horses is brain numbingly boring, unrewarding and tedious.

    From my previous post, I wish for a solution for sand accumulation treatment that has these characteristics;

    able to be administered by a non vet
    have no serious or long term side effects
    must be able to stimulate that bowel
    highly effective, proven scientifically to work (there are only 2 types of treatment that exist - proven and unproven, and for the proven treatments there are differing "levels" of proof)
    applicable to all horses, ages of horse

    I am always happy to teach my clients how to "tube" their own horses if thats what they want, I also give away my sand drench recipe for free to thos that want it.

    I would love for someone to invent or discover a treatment/practice so that I never ever have to treat or drench another horse for sand related problems - at this time there is no such invention despite what you might read on the internet;

    From the Horse Problems Website

    The O'Leary Family preventative and cleaner of Sand in the gut of a horse

    Thanks for your enquiry about the O?Leary Family Sand Colic preventative recipe. Invented by Jo O?Leary, Vet. in 1940

    It has been since 1940 and there has NEVER been a complication

    Remember, there are all sorts of forms of Colic. There are other reasons for symptoms of Colic too. Ulcers (treat with the wormer) and Worm infestations. Consult your Vet.

    There are a number of different types of Colic but this treatment is only for Sand!!!

    This is for Sand and should be used twice a year or on bad Country , 3 monthly. It is a preventative and cleaner. It works and there is no doubt about that. 100%. You will notice a marked improvement in the Coat of the horse later.

    They will eat it in a hard feed if you make them. MAKE THEM. STARVE THEM prior, lock them up over night and FEED NO HAY or anything else. Feed nothing else until they eat it. They all turn their nose up with anything new and they will with this. Then, next time, they eat it not a problem and some drink it from a bucket. The life of the Horse rests with the intestinal fortitude of the Owner and I say that because of the weakness in Society these days :(

    For horses that have been confirmed with copious amounts of sand, repeat 14 days later.

    This treatment is NOT sold or recommended as a cure for Colic attacks. However, on many occasions, after the Vets have finished their treatment, we have cured horses with it, where they could not.

    This treatment is not to be left UNTIL you get a Colic attack and then ring me!!!! It is a PREVENTATIVE!!!!

    Kind regards to you and your horse.

    Statements like these either mean that this recipe creates a treatment that is a miracle or that these statements are just purely ridiculous - In my mind, there is no treatment in the world that is 100% effective and used since 1940 without complication - that is pure fantasy and delusion. The Horse Problems website correctly points out the lack of research and strong scientific proof for the effectiveness of parafin oil to remove sand, but doesnt indicate whether his product/recipe has been subjected to any degree of study, testing or proof. The product claims are totally untested I assume. All you get to read is just basically unverified case studies, rambling testimonials and bagging of vets who follow accepted best practice for the treatment of sand accumulation. The website insinuates, like a contributor to this forum post, that vets seem to be close minded and more interested in income generation than the welfare of horses - most equine vets I know make very little income from drenching horses and they also have very open minds - but they are scientific minds.

    I find the Oleary horse problems website pages on sand colic quite bemusing, I cannot understand why he needs to charge a fee to cover the legal insurance of his recipe advice - when he then states that it is 100% effective and without complications - seems like a wasted insurance premium to me - or perhaps the results dont meet the efficacy claims made! Perhaps the Oleary family could put the income they earn into financing a proper veterinary study, I would be happy to do it for them (I have so many perfect clinical cases), nothing would please me greater than being able to use/recommend a product that finally "solves" sand problems in horses with 100% effectiveness - it would be better than what I have to use now, and how much better for horses it would be.

    I am sure that Mr Oleary doesnt want to be called when a horse gets colic - might ruin his sleep, long weekend, or interupt his family life - best ring the vet.
  17. woki

    woki New Member

    No, why dont you treat and eliminate the ulcers ?
  18. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    WOW what a read! It has certainly opened my eye's even more regarding a vets day to day life!

    Woki I love reading your posts and always do with an open mind and end up learning something!
  19. South Boulder Boy

    South Boulder Boy Well-known Member

    Well I'm going to put my 2cents in. As a racing stable we have hundreds of horses come through each year. When a horse arrives for the first time or after a spell the vet is called out ( we usually wait until there's about 10 or more to do). The horses get an oil/worm drench and that's it. Half the horses are kept in sand yards and half in grass/sand paddocks. They get 3 hard feeds a day and 2 biscuits of hay a day. We have never had a case of colic, we had one case of a horse arriving with worms. So we don't believe in preventitive drenching regulary and don't see a point to it. On the property there is a retired racer and a 36year old pony that permently live there. Both live in paddocks that are full sand. Neither get drenched and again no colic. Just sharing my experiences, I don't know maybe we're just lucky?
  20. barragirl

    barragirl Active Member

    Woki! A thoroughly interesting and informative post. Thank you!!:))

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