Thursday, September 09, 2010

Catching Up - Part 2

Now that you're all caught up with the trail riding and trailer business (and future opportunities to have lessons at my trainer's barn - yay!), I'll update on this one -

A horse possibly choked.

So I get to the barn Saturday afternoon and I walk by Albert's stall to say hi. This is not unusual, since he's in the first stall. What is unusual is that he's got his lips on his door and is making a huge mess with gummy, brown spit. I open his stall and take a good look at him. He wasn't eating, or even picking his hay which he had plenty of. He didn't seem in distress, but he kept dripping this mucky brown spit from his mouth. Didn't look like he'd drank any water either.

I decided to let him be, since he didn't look upset, so I went to walk Kaswyn. Afterwards I went back to Albert's stall and he was still dripping spit. I stuck my hand is his mouth but could not find anything in there that was stuck or anything.

I took him out to lunge him, since every single time I work him he coughs a few big coughs right at the very beginning. I thought that maybe if he had something caught in there that he could then cough it out. He lunged just fine, but no coughing. Just more spit. I thought he had to have something in his throat. I hadn't seen him chew or swallow the whole time. I'd never seen a choking horse before, but I thought it was probably a bad thing that he wasn't swallowing.

I called Susan, who was at work but said to call Marge and the vet if I thought we needed to. Marge came out and looked at him, and said that it might be some red clover in the hay. I guess red clover gives horses and cows the slobbers. I didn't know if it was a good or bad idea to try and feed a choking horse, but we fed him a little piece of wet alfalfa cube. He chewed it up but didn't swallow. Time for the vet.

Dr. C came out and took at look at Albert, but said he didn't really look like a choking horse. He asked us to try and feed him more alfalfa cube, which he again chewed but just held in his mouth. So Dr. C got the hose out and passed a long tube down his throat and into his tummy. Then he took a funnel and dumped water in the tube, and it emptied. He said he didn't think he was actually choking because if he was the funnel would not have emptied.

Here are some things I learned that day -

1) A real choking horse will have hay and green goop coming mostly out of the nose.
2) Horses produce GALLONS of saliva each day, so if they are choking that spit just pours out the nose and mouth.
3) Clearing a choke can get very messy as the horse starts coughing the crud up. Apparently everyone gets covered in hay and spit.
4) The biggest risk of not attending to a choke right away is not throat abscess (which I what I always thought, for some reason) but pneumonia if the horse aspirates the hay/spit gunk into the lungs.

So Albert probably wasn't really choking, but after the vet left Albert went back to eating right away. I think he had something stuck in his throat anyway, even if it wasn't totally obstructing the esophagus. But at least I learned something!

Part 3 - What's the deal with my lame horse?

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Yep I've seen one horse choke and it was tons and tons of green stuff out of the nose and mouth. She coughed too. She was fine after the vet came out.

I'm glad Albert is okay. I agree with you that he probably had something irritating his throat but it wasn't full blown choke. Always better safe than sorry though.

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