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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1174
Experience:  Solo Equine Practitioner/Mobile Practice Owner for 16 years.
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I have a pony who might be having some colic issues. She didn't

Customer Question

I have a pony who might be having some colic issues. She didn't eat her hay last night, but sometimes she does that. I turned her out to pasture for 3hrs this morning and brought her in for lunch. she wouldn't put her head down to eat her lunch grain. She had bowel sounds on the right, but they were a little more diminished on the left. We walked her and she pooped. Her bowel sounds came back, but now she doesn't want to put her head down, like it hurts her tummy to lower her head. She is also drooling. Is this still colic or is it possible I may be dealing with something else?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
pony is no longer drooling. She is acting fine now except for wanting to put her head down.
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 7 months ago.
Good Evening: My apologies that someone hasn’t gotten to your question sooner. I just logged in and saw your post. I’m hoping that you have received some assistance by now, but if not, I’m happy to help. Sorry to hear about your Misty’s condition, but firstly, this does not seem to be a colic condition. Based on what you are describing, it is most likely that Misty has been experiencing a mild “choke”, meaning that something was partially lodged in in her esophagus. That is why you were seeing the drooling, and the fact that she has been keeping her head down. When a horse chokes, they are unable to swallow their saliva, and the saliva exits through the mouth and very oftentimes through the nostrils. Also, in many instances, the horse will clear the choke by themselves, which sounds as if this is what Misty may have done. Choke can be caused by several differing factors, but is often associated with the rapid eating of grain or some other type of pelleted ration. Other reasons can be associated with poor dentition, where the horse isn’t able to chew its food properly, and causes swallowing to be difficult. In some instances, a choke won’t clear on it’s own, and requires the aid of a Veterinarian to pass a tube into the esophagus to help in breaking up the feed material and push it into the stomach.As Misty still seems uncomfortable and is still keeping her head down, there is a possibility that her choke isn’t completely cleared, or that something is still causing discomfort in her esophagus. It is my recommendation to you that you have Misty checked out by her Vet as soon as you can in the morning. Her Vet will be able to assess of there is still something partially lodged in her esophagus, or if there is some minor damage caused by what was initially there. Some of the common side effects of choke can be a stricture, or tightening of the esophagus where the feed was lodged. Another somewhat common secondary problem is the possibility of aspiration pneumonia; as the horse cannot swallow their saliva, it can often be inhaled into the lungs, causing a pneumonia due to the feed particles contaminating the airways. Even if Misty seems perfectly normal in the morning, I would still recommend that you have her seen. Anti-inflammatories are often necessary to help in reducing the inflammation within the esophagus where the choke occurred, helping to prevent strictures. Antibiotics are often called for as well, to help in preventing an aspiration pneumonia. It is fine for Misty to drink water until she is checked out by her Vet, but I would recommend withholding any feed, just in case there is still something partially lodged in her esophagus.Again, my apologies that your question was not addressed sooner, but I do hope I was able to be of some help to you in explaining her condition and what needs to be done from here. All the best to you, and please let me know if you have any further questions.Sincerely,-Dan C., DVM.