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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2002
    Location
    Haslett, MI, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Choke

    My mare just had a second episode of choke, which was quite scary. The first happened about 8 months ago and cleared in about 2 hours. This episode took 6-7 hours to clear. How does one avoid choke? She is fed about 2 handfuls of alfalfa pellets mixed w/oil and a vitamin/mineral supplement, morning and night. The only reason I give her anything other than pasture/hay is so that I can get the oil/vitamins/minerals into her. I've tried also wetting the mixture to turn it into a slurry, but she doesn't care for the texture and won't eat it. My vet mentioned that some horses choke because they bolt their feed, but this horse is really a very slow eater. I've got horses in the barn who get 4 times the amount she does and they finish first! Does anyone have any ideas how I can get her supplements into her and avoid another choke episode? Thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    21,473

    Default

    I think alfalfa pellets are probably one of the most choke causing things you can feed. They are very hard and dry. Oil will coat them but not do anything to make them less hard and dry. Find something else to mix her supplements in with like maybe rice bran crumbles (if she will eat it, most horses hate it) or even a handful of oats.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    Location
    The Left Coast
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    There is a horse where I board who is prone to choke. There is sign by his stall saying "Please do not feed carrots or pellets. Horse is prone to choke."
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.



  4. #4

    Default

    I had a yearling pony filly choked a couple of weeks ago. It was my fault, I know she is a greedy eater and I dumped her feed in a pile in her tub instead of spreading it around. She was able to get a big mouth full and swallowed to much at one time. Her feed tube is the bottom 1/3 of a 55 gallon plastic barrel so there is plenty of room to spread her feed around and she has to work real hard to get a small mouth full. It usually takes her about 15 - 20 minutes for her to clean up 2 cups of pellets when I spread it out. I'd suggest a big flat bottom feed tub so they have to chase their feed around and are not able to get a mouthful.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2007
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    1,226

    Default

    Find something else to put her supplements in. Non-pelleted senior feed might be a good choice. Have her eat from a pan on the ground rather than a wall-mounted feeder.

    And have her scoped. She could have a structural deformity causing the repeated choke, or she could have scar tissue built up from the previous two chokes. Both can cause major problems.

    I know how frustrating this can be. My mare had a bad choke and was not allowed to eat pelleted feed, hay, or grass. I was spending $120/month on senior feed, beet pulp, and hay cubes, all of which had to be soaked.....and all of which she eventually refused to eat.

    Good luck with your horse.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2002
    Location
    Haslett, MI, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default

    Thanks everyone--really appreciate the suggestions! I'll get her off those alfalfa pellets pronto!

    LuvMyTB--Yikes! I really hope my horse won't need to be limited to the extent yours was--sounds like a management nightmare!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,652

    Default

    Feed her on the ground (in a large, wide ground pan). My STB will choke if he is not fed on the ground - even on his hay. My guy doesn't bolt his feed either, so I haven't needed to add a big rock or something to his ground pan to slow him down. (For horses who choke because they bolt their feed, though, this is really helpful.)

    I also agree that I would try something other than dry alfalfa pellets for a confirmed choker. Perhaps rice bran or something she will eat wet? I tried various feeds and the only pellet / extruded feed my choker doesn't choke on and will actually eat has been Blue Seal Senior (an extruded feed). Your mileage will most likely vary, as I can't figure out why my guy is okay with this feed and not others.

    If seet feed is an option for you, I've found it's a lot less likely to cause choke than pellets.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    Location
    The Left Coast
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Good luck with that. My horse did have en episode, but it was on a piece of hay and it never happened before or since, so no need to change anything. It happened while he was at a lay up facility that was down the street from a vet hospital, so he went there and they cleared it. I understand it's grim to watch, so I'm glad he was there. I had never even heard of such a thing.

    The horse at my current barn that's prone to choke eats only grass hay, BTW.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2007
    Posts
    469

    Default

    My previous horse choked on alfalfa cubes fed chest high. So I started feeding from a rubber ground feeder and soaked the alfalfa in double the amount of water for about 45 min/1hour beforehand. So 2 cups of alfalfa cubes or pellets were soaked in 4+ cups of water. If in doubt, more water is OK.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
    Location
    North of the Frozen Tundra, but I can see it from my house.
    Posts
    1,308

    Default

    Making the slurry worked best for me. Try warm water. My gelding would not go for it when it was cold water (and the cold water doesn't break down the pellets as well). I was at a show once when my gelding choked (there was no warm water available in the show barn and I had used cold water). The on call vet was going to come, but he asked me if I had some wine with me. He said the alcohol would encourage the horse to relax. That night I found my boy liked white zin as much as me. He got about a cup of the cheap white zin, and passed the mass. I was able to call the vet and cancel the call. After that, I went to the boarder barn and used warm water from the bathroom for his pellet mash.

    Try a slurry, maybe with a bit of molasses.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2003
    Location
    New York/New Jersey
    Posts
    3,509

    Default

    I had a horse choke on alfalfa pellets too. Those things are treacherous! I would never give them again. This horse was NOT a grain bolter, either. The BO gave them to him for a treat. On the other hand, I don't mind alfalfa cubes if they're soaked. I wouldn't feed them dry ever.
    She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    Location
    The Left Coast
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    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol O View Post
    The on call vet was going to come, but he asked me if I had some wine with me. He said the alcohol would encourage the horse to relax. That night I found my boy liked white zin as much as me. He got about a cup of the cheap white zin, and passed the mass.
    And you just happened to have a cheap bottle of wine on you?
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    21,473

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol O View Post
    Making the slurry worked best for me. Try warm water. My gelding would not go for it when it was cold water (and the cold water doesn't break down the pellets as well). I was at a show once when my gelding choked (there was no warm water available in the show barn and I had used cold water). The on call vet was going to come, but he asked me if I had some wine with me. He said the alcohol would encourage the horse to relax. That night I found my boy liked white zin as much as me. He got about a cup of the cheap white zin, and passed the mass. I was able to call the vet and cancel the call. After that, I went to the boarder barn and used warm water from the bathroom for his pellet mash.

    Try a slurry, maybe with a bit of molasses.
    How do you get the wine past the obstruction, into the stomach where it can then be absorbed into the bloodstream? Majorly bad advice on all fronts.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
    Location
    North of the Frozen Tundra, but I can see it from my house.
    Posts
    1,308

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
    And you just happened to have a cheap bottle of wine on you?
    Never travel to a show without the refreshments!

    Had my horse been drug tested, I am sure I would have had consequenses however!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
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    North of the Frozen Tundra, but I can see it from my house.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    How do you get the wine past the obstruction, into the stomach where it can then be absorbed into the bloodstream? Majorly bad advice on all fronts.
    Just following Dr's orders!

    I will add that I do not do alfalfa pellets anymore...



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2008
    Posts
    139

    Default

    I had a horse choke twice on TC Senior feed, watered down.This has beet pulp in it and takes a long time to soak. I switched to Southern States Maturity feed, which turns to mush within seconds and this has been great - no more choking.



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