Douglas E. Wiley, DVM
What is it?
- Feed stuff lodged in the horse's esophagus - not immediately life threatening
- Humans choke when food is lodged at the opening to their trachea - very life threatening
- Excessive and continuous drooling (salivation)
- Unable to eat or drink
- Anxious and uncomfortable
- Stretching the neck
- May cough with feed or saliva in the nostrils
What do they choke on?
- Apples, large carrots, corncobs, grass clippings, sweet feed, hay, etc.
Why do they choke?
- Age-related tooth loss, dental wear, or lack of floating
- Bolting feed - greedy eaters
- Anatomical problems - esophageal strictures
What you can do:
- Call your veterinarian
- Massage the left side of the neck
- Walk the horse - moving the neck
- Run water across the tongue - not down the throat
What your veterinarian will do:
- Sedate the horse
- Pass a nasogatric (stomach) tube - flush or push the obstruction down
- Administer drugs
- Refer for hospital or surgical care, if necessary
- Soft, wet diet in small feedings for several days
- Regular, quality dental care
- Diet changes, depending on cause
- Large stones in the feed box to slow down greedy eaters
- Some horses become repeat offenders