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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2006
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    Default Happy Easter... Had my first choke today

    You know, if I didn't have bad luck I'd have no luck at all. Some of you may have read my other threads about my mare with uveitis, or my gelding with back issues... WELL...

    Apparently my older gelding felt medically neglected. Midway through his breakfast today he started choking, I noticed he looked like he was trying to hack something up and then breakfast colored saliva was coming out his nose.

    So I called my vet, and most other horsey people I knew. Luckily I also had my boyfriend's dad to look at him, he has a horse of his own, and had them all growing up. One look told both of us I had to call the vet.

    Luckily for me, just rest and walking around and then time to just stand really helped. He mostly worked it out himself, and my vet told me this is common with pelleted food (if they choke) because it dissolves.

    So a dose of banamine and three hours of monitoring later, and he was good to go... what a miracle. Choke is seriously a scary thing, while I was glad not to pay for a vet visit on Easter I was also happy that her instructions were so easy to follow over the phone.

    Thank God.

    Now I've never had choke before, and have been feeding pelleted feeds for the last six months. Is there a higher risk with pellets or would you say this is a fluke thing?

    And Happy Easter everyone!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2007
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    134

    Default

    I think once a horse chokes they *can* become prone to it, so watch your guy carefully. I would start soaking his feed for him. We do mine so that it's soupy. We also had to stop feeding any dry cookie type treats. She gets sugar cubes or small pieces or carrots now, and that is it.

    Also, it's a good idea to keep an eye on him over the next couple of days. A serious choke can cause pnemonia if he inhaled any feed. If the sensitive lining of the throat was inflammed or scratched, which is likely, he will be uncomfortable for a couple of days.

    Glad your guy is o.k.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
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    Default

    Pellets are definitely easier to choke on than other types of feed. Even more importantly a horse is more likely to choke on any type of feed in the days following a choke episode due to swelling in the throat. Small, wet meals and banamine for a fews days is the way to go.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2005
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    2,185

    Default

    Thankfully I have never had any of my horses choke but is there anything that you can do until medical helps arrive?
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2006
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    Default

    Thanks for the info, everyone. If they are more likely to choke on pellets, then I'm going to switch feeds. Tonight his food was watered down and he slurped it right up. I will be doing that for the next few days to make sure he's okay and I'm probably going to continue to do it after that.

    There's a local mill that makes horse feed that's not sweet feed so I will be contacting them and seeing if they can match my protein and fat. This should also help with my other gelding who just isn't a huge fan of the pellets but goes a little nutty with sweet feed.

    Diamond, really all I did was walk him, and tried to get him to drink water but then the vet said not to do that. So I just watched and waited and kept him from eating something. Then she had me tie him and have him stand quietly for an hour or two to make sure he was done before letting him loose to eat.

    First thing he did was take a mouthful of hay and then pee. I guess he'd been holding it! LOL.

    I will keep a close eye on him the next few days... cross your fingers it is our last episode!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2007
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Put a good sized rock or brick in his feed bucket and do you feed a Senior Feed or had his teeth done recently? Aren't chokes fun? One of mine managed to do it on 1/2 a quart of feed, you would have thought it was the whole bag. And she has done it again. Now she always has a rock in her bucket.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2008
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    286

    Default

    My 30yo gelding choked for the first time recently. Everything he gets to eat now is served as soup.

    The little bit of hay he gets, mostly for entertainment value, is also soaked. Soaking weakens the stems and makes it easier for him to masticate.

    He is also not a big drinker, so I can get more water into him by doing this.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2009
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    430

    Default

    When I worked on a farm in VA one of the retired horses choked right before I was about to leave to go take a midterm. It was terrible! Luckily the vet got their quickly and was able to tube her to force it down since they can't throw up. The mare recovered and my prof let me take the exam the next day :-) She did choke another time after that before I moved.... apparently it's common for them to continue to choke once they choke once....



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2010
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    409

    Default

    Choke is my nightmare. A couple years ago, I was directing the riding program at a residential camp. One of our horses choked pretty severely. The horses were leased and we were forbidden from calling the vet by their owner. I called a vet, intending to pay for it myself, but we got his answering service. Vet was not quick enough getting back to us, and owner and her boyfriend showed up, started wildly injecting things and stuck a hose down the horse's throat, then threw him on a trailer and vanned him off. He later died, his choke having turned to colic, and it turned out that every vet in the state had back bills with this woman and refused to see her horses. It was absolutely heartbreaking for all of us. I still feel responsible and it tears me up inside to remember.

    Sorry, not trying to make this the me show, I just know how horrifying it is watching a horse choke. Sorry you had to go through that, and thank god it ended up being relatively minor.
    Last edited by lesgarcons; Apr. 5, 2010 at 11:39 PM.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
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    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
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    Default

    Sedation is good, along with banamine...then ulcergard and continued banamine
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  11. #11
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    Jun. 24, 2006
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    Default

    Just wanted to give an update! Bowden is doing great, still getting his feed soaked, and we are switching to Triple Crown next week (slowly of course). I decided not to run the risk with pellets, especially since my hard keeper isn't a big fan of the taste anyway.

    I've been soaking his feed every day, and his two pasture mates to make sure he gets absolutely no dry feed... They LOVE it. Bowden has never been vocal about his feed before, but he sings a little food song whenever I come over with it now. All three of them seem to love their soups so...

    I guess I'll be adding water for a long time. Like forever. The things we do for love, LOL.

    Just wanted to keep everyone informed!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
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    1,399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by magicteetango View Post
    Just wanted to give an update! Bowden is doing great, still getting his feed soaked, and we are switching to Triple Crown next week (slowly of course). I decided not to run the risk with pellets, especially since my hard keeper isn't a big fan of the taste anyway.

    I've been soaking his feed every day, and his two pasture mates to make sure he gets absolutely no dry feed... They LOVE it. Bowden has never been vocal about his feed before, but he sings a little food song whenever I come over with it now. All three of them seem to love their soups so...

    I guess I'll be adding water for a long time. Like forever. The things we do for love, LOL.

    Just wanted to keep everyone informed!

    I hate to burst your bubble in regards to one feed being better then another for a "choker".

    I have seen them choke on ALL trypes of feed. Most recently one of TC Senior. 6 hours of tubing total before she was clear. It was horrible. She has choked before and likely has built up scar tissue that makes her more susceptible. In looking at the TC and additional BP shreds (wet) we found thumnail size pieces of BP after soaking the regular and in the TC.

    I have them now on Nutrena Safe Choice. The pellet is very tiny compared to others. I also wet her food which was the case prior though.

    She has never choked on hay, yet thankfully.

    I think it's a bit about the food but, more about the horse and the way it chews, speed it eats, etc...



  13. #13
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    May. 31, 2004
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    Default

    I also want to add that the SC pellet dissolves very quickly like other brands of senior, Purina being one.



  14. #14
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondindykin View Post
    Thankfully I have never had any of my horses choke but is there anything that you can do until medical helps arrive?
    I was told by a vet that you can gently massage the lump in their throat if you can feel it in order to try to break it up, but that really not much short of tubing will really do much good. You also have to be very careful not to cause more damage, and things I've read since have advocated not doing anything for fear of injury, so I'm not really sure.

    I've only had two horses in my care choke. One I couldn't even feel a lump on, he had been sedated shortly before dinner and my staff mistakenly gave him his pellets--they realized it quickly and scooped it back out but he'd gotten enough to choke on apparently. Vet had to come out and tube him, and we did have another mild choke issue a few days later and were very careful about feeding.

    The second one was an old horse who choked on hay while I was trailering him. He actually choked at the place I was picking him up from, probably while eating and simultaneously yelling for his buddies. I called the vet and he said to go ahead and trailer him to my home, about 40 minutes away, as he was closer to that and it would take about that long to get there from where he was anyway. Lucky me, the horse cleared it himself while in the trailer, and all the vet did was come out and do a quick examination and charge me $80 for the privilege (just kidding, I loved that vet and I was very happy he was willing to drive out, I would have paid more if he wanted it). He eats mostly beet pulp and hay, with some Safe Choice thrown in during the winter for extra calories, and he hasn't had another episode.

    OP, I'm glad your pony is doing well. Choke is scary.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2009
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    South Central: Zone 7
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    Default

    How weird! My very first (and thankfully my only) choke incident also occurred on an Easter a few years ago. Kinda ironic- maybe the Easter bunny is up to no good? Luckily the horse was fine- when they flushed out her throat with a hose hay and and some blood came up (it looked much worse than it was). Other than some banamine she was good to go. She recovered nicely and hasn't had any other choke incidences. Hope your horse feels better!



  16. #16
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    Jun. 24, 2006
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    Default

    Apparently the Easter Bunny is a horse hater I think you're right HJ.

    Laurierace said earlier in this thread that pellets were easier to choke on so I started looking at textured feeds instead. I did that for two reasons, one being my horse choking, and the other being my other gelding doesn't seem to like the strategy nearly as much as he liked his sweet feed. So I decided to go with Triple Crown and kill two birds with one stone.

    I'm doing TC Complete for my younger gelding and mare, and I'm putting Bowden on TC Senior. I am a little concerned about the threads about horses choking on TC Senior, but I'll be adding water anyway so I think he'll be okay.

    I did massage the lump in his throat before my vet called me back. It seemed to help a little bit, but I'm not sure how much.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
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    that thread starter was me

    I love TC feeds but, after my situation and other chiming in the same had to change.

    We all have out thoughts on these types of things...and like I said all horses are different

    If the TC causes choke, do try the Nutrena Safe Choice. It's 7% fat, decent fiber and 14% protein and a reasonably low starch level AND like I said the pellets are alomst like Grape Nuts cereal, very small

    Good Luck!!



  18. #18
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    Jun. 6, 2000
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    Amherst, MA
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    I had a horse choke on hay twice, both times within a week. The first time by the time the vet came out the choke had passed and the vet did nothing, aside from commiserate. The second time it happened I called a different vet He floated her teeth and gave me banamine paste to administer daily for the next week.

    The inflammation caused by the first choke is more likely to cause a second (and then third, etc.) choke, and it's possible to get permanent scarring. So the banamine was to bring down the inflammation. I also wet down her pellets for the next two months.

    So I think a horse can choke on anything, including hay, and it's important to try to find out the underlying cause.

    good luck. My horse now gets TC Complete (changed feeds when we changed barns, so no connection to the choke). My horse loves it.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky



  19. #19
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    Mar. 8, 2006
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
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    Default

    we put the feed on the floor & spread it out----
    eating with their heads down is supposed to help----
    This is a horse that is a repeat-er at choking, he still gets
    TC Senior!

    Good luck!



  20. #20
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    Oct. 1, 2004
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    Magnolia, TX
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    Default

    They can choke on pretty much anything. If it becomes a recurrent problem, you can wet the feed to a loose mash consistency... if the horse will eat it.

    A few years ago, I had one choke on alfalfa pellets. It took 4 hours to finally clear the choke, at which point the attending vet at the equine hospital transferred me to Texas A&M for further treatment due to aspiration. She stayed there a couple days and then came home to 2 weeks of a gruel diet, which she hated and mostly refused to eat. Fortunately, she's been fine ever since. I do not feed alfalfa pellets anymore, nor have I had any more incidents of choke.

    A friend of mine had a mare that routinely choked on hay. Never could figure out why, but it got to the point where if she didn't choke, she'd have impaction colic instead. That horse ended up on a diet of One N Only and, for the most part, did fine afterward. She still had some issues with colic and impaction and passed away a couple years ago, though it's unclear if the digestive history was a factor.
    Jer 29: 11-13



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