All choked up?
What is choke?
In horses, choke is a condition that occurs when food or some other material becomes stuck in the esophagus. The term choke can be a bit confusing since in people, choking can refer to having something lodged in the trachea (airway).
A few reasons this occurs are because the horse is not chewing properly or the horse is eating too quickly.
What are signs of choke?
Discharge (sometimes containing feed material) coming from both nostrils and/or mouth.
Some horses may make repeated, unsuccessful attempts to swallow.
Not wanting to eat or drink
What should you do if you suspect a horse is choking?
Call a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. It is important to have the horse treated as soon as possible to decrease the risk of aspiration pneumonia, scarring of the esophagus and/or rupture of the esophagus.
All feed should be removed from the horse's stall/pen in order to prevent the obstruction from becoming worse.
How can you prevent choke?
Have a yearly dental/oral examination performed on your horse by a veterinarian to ensure that your horse can chew properly.
Hay can be placed in a hay net or some type of slow feeder.
Soaking pelleted feed will make it easier for a horse to swallow.
Horses may need to be fed separately, so that each horse can eat without being disturbed by others.