View Full Version : Choke

05-03-14, 03:45 AM
Sam has had 2 episodes of choke in the past few days. One consisted of him (for lack of a better word) vomiting up a chunk of bread. He has been banned from having bread now but still has managed to choke on his normal feed.
Now I know horses can't vomit, but from what I was told, he was grunting and coughing and she massaged his throat and it came back up along with bile and saliva. It*wasn't a big bit either. He*seemed fine afterwarda so she kept an eye on him in case he got worse.
The second time, I had a nightmare that Sam had died and quickly sent her a message asking if he was okay. Every other time I have dreamt something similar he has gotten hurt or sick. He was fine, but choked again later that day (yesterday). This time he had blood coming out of his nose. Alarm bells have rung and the Vet was called. (Haven't heard the results of the visit yet.)

Any ideas how to get a grumpy old nag to slow down and chew his food properly?
I have said large rocks or similar in his feed bin so he has to eat around them as well his feed thoroughly wet (which it already is).

Teeth were done on Christmas Eve. No major problems there at the time.

Can anyone think of anything else that may help him?

Even at 1000kms away, Sam is going to put me in an early grave.

05-03-14, 08:15 AM
Make sure feeds are always wet, to the point you can see a bit of liquid at the bottom of the feed bin. And including a 'slippery' feed such as speedibeet can really help too.

Choke is very scary :(

Bad Bones
05-03-14, 08:34 AM
From my understanding choke is caused by damage to the eosophagos. I've had experience with one horse (not mine) who suffered from this on mulitple occasions and the rule became that he was not to have hay at all ever (vets advice).
Grass was/is fine but bulk had to be fed as chaff. Pellets & sweet feed were OK.
Didn't have to be wet, just as long as it was all small & no long stems.

Good Luck.


05-03-14, 09:36 AM
is a diet that's fed with the consistency of porridge better ?

05-03-14, 05:30 PM
Firstly, I really hope it's just all a terrible coincidence and not something more serious.
I had a mare who choked twice at two away matches, utter nightmare! All that was coming out her nose was the chaff in her feed both times even though it had been wet down so we limited her to hay only when we traveled & I sat with her for the first few pig horse mouthfuls. That mightn't be helpful because I realise he's old & probably needs special bulked up feed - but if this is going to be a 'thing' it might be the chaff that has to go and a wet mash dinner for him.
That's the nice and simple possibility ... but given his age, the battle you've had to keep condition on him - the vet is where your advice should come from.

05-03-14, 06:41 PM
I have had a couple of experiences with choke, and although a vet is the best bet, they don't always know..
My mare would choke on dry feed, chaff lucerne chaff, horse mix, whatever but if I mixed in heaps of water she would be Ok.
A gelding and the same mare would both choke after they cantered up the hill to get their hay. If they weren't waiting at the gate for dinner I would have to wait for minute or two till their breathing returned to normal before feeding out.. Just my experiences..
Choke IS very scary. :(

05-03-14, 07:48 PM
Can you organise some reinforced wire over his feed - this is really efficient in slowing his intake of feed. stopps the guzzling.
Wet feed helps and I would be checking to ensure he isn't really hungry where he is. Soaking hay can also help reduce the incidents. Good luck a choking horse is a real nightmare to deal with.

05-03-14, 09:14 PM
Get him scoped or take him to a vet hospital and talk to them. Severe choke can kill a horse, I've witnessed some die and another suffer a severe expensive colic as a result of a choke. Colics arising from choke isn't uncommon and it's not cheap.

It's been over 10 years since I've dealt with choking horses, so I'm betting that the veterinary options available to treat and manage choke would have improved beyond limiting feed and creative feedbin designs.

The horse that choked and colicked, choked regularly. Her owner and I tried all the tricks, I swear that in the end that horse would choke if starved locked in a paddocked room and fed a liquid diet.

So take it from me, it's cheaper and less stressful for you and the horse if you get a good diagnosis and good advice from your vet up front.

06-03-14, 01:09 PM
Agree with LisaL, I've had two severe choke episodes and both have involved dry feed...
I never feed out dry hard feeds these days...
I prefer to used soaked feeds and add things like Maxi Soy or Speedy Beet which are "slippery when wet" to a degree... I mix the chaff in so there is some texture to the feed but still noticably damp or if there has been a recent choke episode, I make sure its borderline wet.

I have not had any choke since then...

The blood is a big worry! I ALWAYS call the vet as soon as I spot the choke as they need to check if anything has been aspirated into the lungs during the choke and also they can help to clear the blockage by tubing. Scoping may be the way to go at this stage as he may have caused damage with the multiple obstructions :(