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  • Choke

    So my boy has now had 2 choke episodes. Not bad ones according to my vet. Each time he just wouldn't finish eating and stood in the corner of his stall. Thank God my trainer takes the time to really know all the horses!!!!! The average person would have never caught it, he just wasn't as happy as he normally is.

    First time he got sedated and he passed the obstruction. This time we just got the sedation together while on the phone with the vet and he was able to pass it again. The sedation wasn't needed.

    So until I can have a chat with my wonderful vet, how concerned do I need to be? I have seen MUCH worse episodes with other horses. I worry because he has never done this before and he is my heart horse so I naturally worry and I am a little crazy when it comes to him !!
    We did just start soaking his grain today, he is not happy about it but my trainer said he is eating it (just making a lot of dramatic faces!! LOL) He gets Triple Crown Senior.

  • #2
    Yes I understand. It is always a concern when they do it again. Makes you wonder what it up doesn't it? Especially since now twice the choke has occured.

    Your vet checked his teeth I am sure....but yes? If not then that is the starting place. Has anything changed? Like his feed or hay? Drinking right and the same amount in general?

    Or has he suddenly decided to inhale his feed vs chew like he once did?

    Wetting feed down is smart. Oil coated lightly on the feed works too. Chatting with the vet about what next is smart.


    • #3
      How far apart were the choke episodes?

      After a horse chokes once, there is often irritation in the esophagus making them prone to choke again. It's good insurance to soak feed for several days after a choke episode. In really bad cases, you often have to make a slurry of feed for weeks afterwards.

      Of course, I'd have his teeth checked, as well as check for any other changes in his behavior/lifestyle as D Taylor recommended.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


      • #4
        My mare had a severe episode in July. The Vet said no hay for a couple of days, and to feed Purina Senior as soup for 3 days, give Banamine for 2 days post episode, and then let her eat normally after that. Vet said it can take a few days after having had a nasogastric tube and lavage for the resulting inflammation of the esophagus to subside. Luckily, maresie has had only 2 mild episodes since then, and none since she was moved to a better quality barn where the horses get their hay first, before grain. (Feeding grain before hay increases chance horse will bolt the grain.)
        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


        • #5
          No words of advice. Just wanted to send hugs to your boy !


          • #6
            Is the TCS a pelleted feed? My mare tends to bolt her grain and had a couple of choke episodes when I first got her. I stopped feeding her pelleted feed after that and now she gets rolled oats (only) with her supplements. She hasn't had a problem since, and I just make sure that people know not to feed her pelleted feed if she's overnighting somewhere.
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW


            • #7
              I just experienced my first mild episode and I feel your pain. Luckily a huge wad of hay flew out of his nose and all is well. But now I worry, waiting for another one. And what if the first I saw wasn't his first? What if it's happened a few times before and no one noticed?

              My horse gets TCS as well, which is mostly beet pulp. He's not a fast eater and I don't know why he choked on hay, of all things.

              Maybe the fact that your horse passed it the second time without sedation is a good thing and it won't happen again. I'll be joining you on Choke Watch.


              • #8
                Check his teeth. Soak his food.
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man


                • #9
                  Soaking feed. Good luck with your guy.


                  • #10
                    do a search on choke.
                    I have posted about it and my experiences, and how to deal with it, but also my mare has other issues which cause the choke.
                    Lots of good advice from posters on a recent thread on how to deal with it.

                    I hate choke, and considered putting my mare down this fall.
                    She has bad, very bad teeth. but we think was having megaesphogus issues.
                    We also suspected ulcers, and sure enough. She has been treated for ulcers, I only use a small hole haynet, and she gets minimal grain. If she needed more, I would give her a cup at a time.
                    She doesn't bolt her food but takes huge bitefuls(she is a percheron mare so also has a big mouth).
                    Management is important.

                    I hated choke and the vets gave me xyzaline and banamine and told me I was on my own, they could not come out, and the hospital said they didn't want her since they had given me drugs and to handle it. It was very uncomfortable since each meal I would freak out she was going to choke again.
                    omeprazole for the ulcers...which I think had some issue in a reflux kind of way(yes, I know horses can't puke, but for those naysayers look up megaesphogus in horses), small hole haynets and a cup at a time of grain is what has worked for us.

                    Wetting the grain, rocks, bucket on the ground, etc...she still choked.
                    So, you have to play around with what will work for your horse. In the meantime, anyone who has experienced a horse with multiple chokes, God bless them
                    save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                    • #11
                      My OTTB gelding, age 6, had a severe choke in October and had to be tubed.... it was a horrific experience....and now we are on constant choke alert. Prior to his severe choke, he had had 3 mild choke episodes that we noticed, but those passed on their own. This last one was terrifying....we had to call the vet in during a blizzard to tube him.

                      his teeth were floated a few weeks after the choke episode and the vet said that while his teeth did have moderate points...he believes our boy's chokes are caused by temperment.

                      he has severe food aggression even while eating his hay out in the dry lot, but with his grain he is a maniac!!!

                      We bought him a PreVent feeder


                      ....and it seems to have slowed him down and he can no longer bolt his food....but we have not become complacent. He is a choke risk, and unless we can figure a way to unscrew his skull and stick a new brain in there, he ALWAYS will be.

                      Having a choke prone horse is certainly no fun...


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks Lisa!! Super D loves to make me worry

                        He is really not liking the soaked grain so my trainer has started mixing it in with his soaked hay cubes. Now he likes it

                        His last episode was in the middle of Oct. So just far enough apart that I thought he wasn't going to choke again. Oh well now he will be forever on choke watch.........


                        • #13
                          My mare cannot have any dry, pelleted feed. She won't choke on Triple Crown Complete, but she will on alfalfa pellets or any other pellet, or on plain oats. My DH forgot and handed her a palmful of alfalfa pellets as a treat, and she got mildly stuck. On a palmful. Took her about 20-30 minutes of doing the flehmen thing, and walking mindlessly/distractedly about her stall before she was right again. A palmful.

                          So she eats wet food. I am thinking about selling her and wish I could just write on her papers SOAK HER FOOD.


                          • #14
                            I know it sounds awful, but witholding food for at least 24 (preferably 48) hours after an episode can go a long way to letting the swelling and irritation subside to reduce the odds of a 2nd episode. I've been told that 3 days isn't too long, but I know that sounds barbaric and I only was able to make it 48 hours with my choker. I do think it is important not to give them anything at all, not even soaked, too soon. Just water.

                            I also employed the old timers' "treatment" of pouring a bottle of cold red wine down the hatch. I'm not sure if it is actually supposed to help or if it's just one of those things to give the owner something to do while they're waiting. It did make *me* feel better and it didn't hurt the horse.

                            And yes, once a choker always a choker, and best practice is to soak their feed and hay. For.ev.er