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RickisSweetSmoke

Part 2 Of The Snot Nosed Beast

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So last night I got a phone call that my boy was not interested in grain and had minimal gut noises. Its a 40 minute drive unfortunately but I got there as quickly as I could.

Last night: He ate some hay but was very picky about his grain, he had no fever, he had good gut noises and I got him to poop so I was not overly concerned.

This morning: He would not touch his grain, he had no fever, he had good gut sounds and he had pooped over night and drank some water but he just did not seem himself. He was in cross ties and gave a good cough, snot with grain and hay in it came up. I called the vet because I suspected choke.

The vet came and tubed him and of course we got the choke resolved. This is the root of the problem, I think. My theory is that he was dehydrated (drinking less water in the winter), he could not produce enough saliva to swallow properly, hence he choked. It is beyond strange that he was so asymptomatic. My theory continues with the choke preventing him from eating and drinking hence not enough water and food to help move his gut causing the impaction colicky symptoms. So like I said, we tubed him, and she also did a rectal and resolved the impaction. The final step was giving him water, electrolytes and mineral oil through the tube. He took most of the fluids no problem, he was still pretty sedated and was hanging his head when about a cup or two of the fluid came dripping out of his nose. He gave us a big cough and some of the fluids came back up! We know the choke was resolved so the theory continues that the problem is localized to his distal esophagus and the opening of his stomach. When we scoped him this past December, EVERYTHING looked normal, down to his stomach. Furthermore if things run back down his neck and out his nose, this explains all the **** sinus infections. However I have known this horse 3 years and owned him half the time, what caused this to start happening now? Why now the dysfunction?

The plan moving forward is obviously a limited diet and moving him back to his normal diet. I do plan on switching grains to see if that helps. We are also going to put his hay in a nibble net, so he has to eat with his head up, we're also going to put his grain in an elevated bucket to help him eat with his head up too. I also started him on electrolytes to help keep up the water intake. My other horse has never had a problem drinking and last winter this horse was just fine so it did not strike me as something I had to do.

Daily life: He is a slow eater in general, he has hay and grain 2x a day in his stall, then he has turn out with a herd of five where he is #2 in the herd and has access to free choice hay. He is only ridden 1-3 times a week and functions mostly as a trail horse. He is a capable jumper and mover (low level dressage) but the demands of grad school prevent me from riding more.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions...he was scoped in December and structurally everything looked text book, his larynx is asymmetrical but he has good closure when he swallows. We could not find evidence of scar tissue or strictures. We took dental and sinus x-rays and there were no signs of an abscess or anything abnormal.

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My only suggestion is a heated water bucket. Studies have shown they drink more water if it's heated. That is, if it isn't already warm where you are.

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Why can he not have full time turn out?

I almost never had an impaction colic in the horses that are turned out full time. Movement is key to digestion efficacy.

For some reason, horses also prefer to drink out of a trough or stock waterer than a pail

What are you calling 'grains'? If it is some pelleted feed, then they are implicated with a higher risk of choke

Choke most commonly occurs when horses either eat too fast or don't chew their food sufficiently. This is particularly dangerous with pelleted grain and unsoaked beet pulp, both of which expand when moistened (by saliva) and thus risk getting caught in the esophagus. (Dry hay cubes can cause a similar problem; wetting them before feeding solves it.) - See more at: http://practicalhorsemanmag.com/article/eqchoke396#sthash.4wqUrhI6.dpuf
Choke most commonly occurs when horses either eat too fast or don't chew their food sufficiently. This is particularly dangerous with pelleted grain and unsoaked beet pulp, both of which expand when moistened (by saliva) and thus risk getting caught in the esophagus. (Dry hay cubes can cause a similar problem; wetting them before feeding solves it.) - See more at: http://practicalhorsemanmag.com/article/eqchoke396#sthash.4wqUrhI6.dpuf

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He gets breakfast (hay + pelleted safechoice senoir feed) around 6 am and gets turned out around 830/9 am, he stays out until about 6/7 pm when he comes in for dinner. I could ask for 24/7 turn out, there is a mare who would keep him company. My other gelding (and 2 other horses) would stay in at night though, 2 of those 3 have a history of founder and we like to limit pasture time in the spring/summer.

His teeth are current and in good shape, we did x-rays to check for an abscess or any abnormalitiles but everything is in good working order.

Inititally when I got him he was a hard keeper with a bad attitude, a huge part of had to do with a latent case of lyme disease. He has been treated and while his weight has come up to where the vet and I both think it should be. I have not tried to reduce his grain for fear he will drop. I am currently looking to change grains, something he is less likely to choke on. He will eat soaked grain but only if there is no hay around. He prefers dry grain but this may be the cause of the choke.

He has been eating small soupy mash since the vet visit, he isn't passing as much manure as I would like, but he is improving and the vet wants to avoid tubing him again, as do I. He is not in distress and definitely has an appetite. We want to see some water intake increase before adding too much more back into his belly.

In 11 years, he is my first colic case, so I feel overwhelmed and nervous.

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so I think this guy maybe a chronic choker, he shows no signs of distress and I think he generally resolves it on his own. The reason I think this is, he coughs in a dusty barn, he coughs in a clean barn, the cough, in my best guess is his way of resolving choke. And I would guess he resolves it 98% of the time, twice in the past six months though he has choked noticably and required veterinary intervention. He was scoped in December and the scope showed all of his anatomy was in good working order, no evidence of damage or infection. He has had on again off again sinus infections.

My vet says she has less occurances of choke with horses on sweet feed. I personally hate sweet feed, however I hate choke more. We may try it since he does not cosistently eat wet pelleted grain.

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I would feed straight crimped oats with a vitamin/mineral supplement and your veggie oil. Don't feed mineral oil, its indigestible. I've always felt that when you have a seemingly unresolvable problem like this, go as natural as possible. It often works.

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I hate to burst your bubble, but what you describe after the nasogastric tube is not particularly uncommon in a sedated horse. The tranq relaxes the animal, the nasogastric tube passes through the cardiac sphincter of the stomach and dilates it. Due to the sedatives, typically a hanging head, gravity, often times overfilling of the stomach with fluid, and coughing from irritation of the tube fluid refluxes back out. A normal, non-sedated horse has substantial "tone" to this one-way valve in the stomach, and thus prevents vomiting.

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Thankfully the nasal discharge has stopped, he is drinking well and he definitely has an appetite. We are back to soaking everything and I think because his intake has been limited as per the vet, his output is definitely normal. We are slowly increasing his food intake just to continue to monitor him for choke or discomfort. Today he got some turnout time, he's definitely got energy and attitude. As long as he keeps eating his soaked hay and grain and we can keep preventing future choke episodes, I will be do happy! I am continuing to research the best grain and methods to feed him...so glad we are on the mend.

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Could it be brain fluid? Lol I know...but I just read an article about a guy whose constant runny nose was actually brain fluid...yeah...

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CVM, we have done dental and sinus x-rays. I am not certain if thats a complete enough picture of the skull.

Sereh,

It's not brain fluid. I am convinced he may be resolving small choke episodes on his own and ending up with food/mucus in his sinuses driving an infection. After he was tubed this past week and a fair amount of liquid came back up, I think it worked a nasal lavage-ish. For the 72 hours following the tubing he had a fair amount of nasty discharge and yesterday it all stopped and he has normal clear fluid intermittently now.

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I am willing to do additional tests, such as a second scope, x-rays or ultrasound, but I want my vet to have a stronger game plan. Right now there is too much 'I don't know'. I cannot just dish out money for random tests which may continue to yield more of the 'I don't know' kind of thing. I may pursue a second opinion outside of the current circle of vets. I am not sure what to do...

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I personally would get to a specialty referral clinic or A&M. Once there's been a choke episode, the risk of recurring episodes due to esophageal stricture is certainly there.

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CVM, my vet is a solo practice, and she's affiliated with a much larger (fancy) clinic. We did send radiographs and photos from the scope to the surgeon at New Bolton. Our closest specialty clinics are New Bolton and Cornell.

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The scope in December was prompted by a snotty nose that was not completely responding to antibiotics. A choke episode had occurred in October which had to be resolved by a vet. At the time of the scope no strictures were noted.

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I hope you are able to get the answers you need.

Watching your horse choke or get sick

and not being able to know how or why this happened.

Is both frightening and frustrating.

CVM2002 is a very knowledgeable and talented Veterinarian.

She also has many years of practical in the field education and knowledge of horses.

If she suggests that you take your horse to a specialist.

It is important that you take her advice.

Sending hugs for you and prayers for both you and your horse.

:huggy: :huggy: :angel3: :angel3:

Take care and God Bless,

Kat

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Vet was out today for spring shots...we're trying to get his weight back up but he is eating soupy grain and hay from a nibble net. Lucky for us, no choking and no snot...keep your fingers crossed we stay on this path!

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*crosses fingers*

I'd like to add this:

After my filly choked (bolting her dry feed) we made changes to how she was fed. Free choice hay, water and pasture. Pellets were in a feeder above chest height and something my vet recommended was instead of placing a large stone in her feeder for her to have to eat around (can't bolt feed) use a salt brick. The salt brick served double duty. 1.) Slowed her eating. 2.) Dispensed salt residue onto the feed as she ate, encouraging an increase in water intake.

Just an idea I thought I'd mention.

Edited by Heidi n Q

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I tried the rock thing for a food bolter years ago. Horse would simply flip the rocks out of the feeder. Then bolt her food. What finally slowed her down was to put her hay on a stall mat then sprinkle her grain over all the hay. I wasted some grain that way but it worked for her. She was fed outside only. In a stall it didn't matter what we did. So I put 2 4X6 stall mats together and then speed her food on it. Rain or shine it didn't matter.

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Q would flip the salt brick out of a pan but I switched to a deep feeder hung on a gate that she couldn't get the brick out of.

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Q would flip the salt brick out of a pan but I switched to a deep feeder hung on a gate that she couldn't get the brick out of.

lol I tried that.. if she couldn't get the rock out she would break the feeder. That horse was a total PITA lol

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fortunately, he is not a bolter. We do water his grain down and make mush, which he does not love but he's been tolerating it. I also have them add electrolytes to encourage more drinking and a little bit of oil to help things slide down. He does have free choice hay and plenty of water. If I put his food in a bin that is higher, he will knock it over every time, so I do let him eat his food from a floor level dish. In his stall his hay is in a nibble net to slow him but outside he has access to a round bale. We did try a grazing muzzle but he just pouted in the corner, he would not eat and would not drink, so we ditched the halter. Keep your fingers crossed he is still doing well.

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Unfortunately, no good update, the snot is intermittent, sometimes it smells, sometimes it does not, his weight is a little lighter and I want it to be BUT we are headed to the New Bolton Center tomorrow. It's a division of Penn State Vet school, sooooo fingers crossed we get some good answers!!

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