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Post-choke care?

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    For those who have horses getting soaked feed, how soggy is too soggy? She's been getting increasingly dissatisfied with her mushy grain and this morning ate not even half. I have been putting the grain in a 2 gallon bucket, then adding an equal amount of water (grain is about 3 inches deep, fill until water is about 3 inches over top of the grain/6 inches from bottom of bucket). I let it soak about 15 minutes and it's slop when I give it to her. Can I get by with less water, or will she just have to deal?
    that
    ETA: She otherwise seems fine. Bright, cheerful, her normal self. No temperature or other indication that there is anything wrong.
    Last edited by SpicyMolly; Apr. 9, 2013, 11:53 AM. Reason: additional info.

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    • #22
      OP, I've seen a lot of recs for soaked feed but as an FYI, I think it is standard to feed a choke-prone horse on the ground as well, not in a bucket on the wall. The low positioning is helpful in preventing choke.

      My 3 year old has choked on both TC Senior and TC Lite which is a pellet. Some horses are just choke-prone. It is clear that in the case of my colt, he eats too much too fast and it gets stuck, whatever it is. I soak his TC Lite for about 5 minutes until it is mushy and feed in those black rubber pans on the floor. I do not put water over the top of the grain level -- just up to the top of the grain level. Mush is apparently more palatable than soup. My other 3 horses have no problem with TC products, just the one -- and he will get fed this way as long as I have him.

      For both his episodes, I administered Banamine right away, then left him in the stall for 24 hours with nothing to eat. After that I let him out to eat grass (hard for you to do this time of year, probably -- his episodes were both in the summer).

      I would reintroduce hay very slowly and in a slow feeding net so she can't get big mouthfuls at a time.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by SpicyMolly View Post
        For those who have horses getting soaked feed, how soggy is too soggy? She's been getting increasingly dissatisfied with her mushy grain and this morning ate not even half. I have been putting the grain in a 2 gallon bucket, then adding an equal amount of water (grain is about 3 inches deep, fill until water is about 3 inches over top of the grain/6 inches from bottom of bucket). I let it soak about 15 minutes and it's slop when I give it to her. Can I get by with less water, or will she just have to deal?
        that
        ETA: She otherwise seems fine. Bright, cheerful, her normal self. No temperature or other indication that there is anything wrong.
        For the truly choke prone horse (eg Oesophageal stricture), we feed "slop" (a wet mash).... just thin enough to pour it out of a bucket.

        For some picky horses, we use tricks to entice them to eat their slop, like a couple of tablespoonfuls of molasses drizzled over the top (horses with no metabolic issues that can't have sugar). Some horses like their slop warm like hot cereal (but not so hot as to burn their mouths!).

        Sometimes a small hand full of sweet feed sprinkled over the top will do it.

        Sometimes one needs to find a different feed altogether to make their mash out of.

        I know many barns that feed all their horses wetted feed every day. These are horses with no choke history, they are just fed wetted feed as a preventative. In my experience, the standard for feeding wetted feed to non-choke-prone horses, is to add warm water to the feed in the pail, until the water level is about 1/2 inch above the level of the feed. The consistency before feeding is something like oatmeal.

        Note that I once had a horse with an Oesophageal stricture, choke on oatmeal consistency mash! The horse had to be tubed to remove the blockage, and the vet siphoned nothing but mash out of that horse's esophagus. That horse was fed grain watered to the consistency of "SOUP" for the rest of his life.

        It may take a horse some time to adjust to eating wetted feed.

        I think feeding on the ground is best.

        Some horses that bolt their feed may do better if a one uses one of the large sized rubber ground pan feeders, and spreads the wetted feed out thin so the horse can't get a large mouthful all at once.

        Some people put large round stones, or some other kind of safe objects that a horse can't swallow in the feed tub, to slow the horse down and prevent them from bolting their feed.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by SpicyMolly View Post
          For those who have horses getting soaked feed, how soggy is too soggy? She's been getting increasingly dissatisfied with her mushy grain and this morning ate not even half. I have been putting the grain in a 2 gallon bucket, then adding an equal amount of water (grain is about 3 inches deep, fill until water is about 3 inches over top of the grain/6 inches from bottom of bucket). I let it soak about 15 minutes and it's slop when I give it to her. Can I get by with less water, or will she just have to deal?
          that
          ETA: She otherwise seems fine. Bright, cheerful, her normal self. No temperature or other indication that there is anything wrong.
          It's got to be slop. It sounds like you have the consistency about right. I've found that BOILING water produces a lighter, fluffier slop than soaking in cold water, and my filly was far more fond of the stuff soaked in boiling water.

          I also switched grain when I had to feed slop. My filly really liked this stuff soaked, better than the Triple Crown Senior I offered at first.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by SpicyMolly View Post
            For those who have horses getting soaked feed, how soggy is too soggy? She's been getting increasingly dissatisfied with her mushy grain and this morning ate not even half. I have been putting the grain in a 2 gallon bucket, then adding an equal amount of water (grain is about 3 inches deep, fill until water is about 3 inches over top of the grain/6 inches from bottom of bucket). I let it soak about 15 minutes and it's slop when I give it to her. Can I get by with less water, or will she just have to deal?
            that
            ETA: She otherwise seems fine. Bright, cheerful, her normal self. No temperature or other indication that there is anything wrong.
            My horse gets her lunch and dinner soaked to a soupy mash consistency. I put about double the amount of water in her tub, so if there's 3" of grain, I put 6" of water in there. It has all day to soak.

            The biggest issue I have with this arrangement is that she gets it all over her nose and face and looks like a mash monster . I feed her in a tub on the ground. She doesn't eat quickly so I don't bother putting a rock in her tub or anything, but if she did scarf her grain, I would not hesitate to add something to slow her down.
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            • #26
              We had a broodmare who choked. She was worried the other horses would take her food, and ate too fast. We got her an extra large ground feed tub, and put three round..ish river rocks 4-5 inches in diameter in the tub. She had to take smaller bites and think about eating, not the other horses.
              Did your vet check your horse's teeth? They can loose a tooth or two and that will really affect their ability to chew. In their twenties teeth should be checked every 6 months.

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Thanks again for all the helpful replies! When she choked, she was eating dry TC Senior & 30% out of a bucket hung on the fence about knee level. When graining her, I took her out of the pasture and tied her in the grooming area, so no competition from other horses. Since this incident, I've started slopping her (heh, I now "slop" my horse the way you "slop" pigs, I guess) out of one of those black rubber tubs on the floor of the wash stall - easier cleanup, she's a messy eater (ditto "mash monster"!!). She drooled food all down the front of me this morning. I also put three good-sized rocks in there to slow her down, although she doesn't really eat super fast.

                She is missing a right-side upper molar, but that was pulled several (8+) years ago and has never caused an issue with eating before. She is floated twice a year, and was just done less than two weeks ago. I may get a second opinion on her teeth though, just to make sure something wasn't missed. I have had this mare since she was 3 and she has always been the horse that dropped grain like crazy and swings her head around when she eats (you have to spread the carnage as far as possible, you know ), so her eating/chewing style doesn't seem to have changed.

                Going to have to look into adding some kind of yummy treat, I think. Molasses sounds like a good idea. I will consider switching grains if the "icing" doesn't change her opinion. She has no metabolic issue, so a bit of extra sugar should be fine.

                For those that soak and feed powder supplements, do you put the supplements in before you add the water or top-dress the mush? Does it matter?

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by SpicyMolly View Post

                  For those that soak and feed powder supplements, do you put the supplements in before you add the water or top-dress the mush? Does it matter?
                  When we add the dry supplements, oil, or even regumate to the grain, it all goes in the grain first, and then we add the water.

                  For things like SMZ's that most horses don't like the taste of, we dissolve them in a glass of water first, and then stir it into the "slop" with a wooden spoon.

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                  • #29
                    I soak first and then put supplements on top of the mush. Since one of the horses doesn't love his supplements, I mix it up a bit with my hands.

                    I have to add after soaking since I dunk a bunch of nosebags in a muck bucket all at once. If I added supps first, they'd probably get diluted and float away in all the water.
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                    • #30
                      There was a horse at my barn who choked recently. He apparently had
                      been sick for 2 days before I found him (inexperienced barn help didn't catch
                      this). He caught strangles from a new horse, and the swollen lymph
                      nodes caused him to choke. Not sure how long he was choking but
                      he didn't eat for 2 days prior to when I found him - that's the amount of
                      untouched hay I found in his paddock.

                      Anyway, this little gelding was on grain soup and no hay for about a week.
                      Then we could start adding soaked hay. He didn't like his regular feed
                      made into soup and refused to eat it, but he did like alfalfa pellet soup
                      so that's what he got for a while.

                      He was treated as if he had aspiration pneumonia because he had some
                      congestion in his lungs and we were not sure how long the choke was
                      going on.

                      The vet gave him banamine and a muscle relaxer that first night, then we gave him
                      bute after that for a few days. He also got 3 doses of Exceed (I think), a long-term antibiotic.

                      About 2 weeks after the initial choke, he was able to go back on his regular
                      feed & unsoaked hay. The vets do not expect him to be more prone to
                      choke as this incident was related to the strangles swelling.

                      Anyway, good luck with your mare and I hope she recovers just fine !

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        My horse had a very mild choke episode about a year ago. It was caused by a huge blob of grass; he eventually blew it out of his nose. How do you prevent THAT from happening again??

                        He eats TC Sr. without a problem......so far.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by pony baloney View Post
                          My horse had a very mild choke episode about a year ago. It was caused by a huge blob of grass; he eventually blew it out of his nose. How do you prevent THAT from happening again??

                          He eats TC Sr. without a problem......so far.
                          Sometimes horses just choke as a weird, freak thing and there's not a whole hell of a lot you could have done to prevent it from happening, and there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do (or even should do) to try to prevent a recurrence.

                          That said, if I had a horse wad up and choke on a bolus of hay, my first call would be to the dentist, to make sure everything was copacetic in his mouth. If you get the green light there, it's a shrug and move on sort of thing (at least for me! )

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Miss Mare seems to have recovered just fine. She is also back to loving her grain since I reduced the amount of water it is soaked in. Thank you to everyone for all the advice, experience, and well-wishes! Hopefully, it's not a topic I'll ever need help with again.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Oxytocin is the drug of choice for choke cases. If you have a horse with the tendancy to choke, might be good to see if your vet will let you keep some on hand just in case. Though it usually does resolve, it is horrible to watch. We had an arab gelding that choked occasionally on sweet feed. Started wetting his food down and never had another issue. For him, it was better safe than sorry. Suspect he developed scar tissue, thus the reoccurent choke events.
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