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Dr. Hinson
Dr. Hinson, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1855
Experience:  11+ years experience in the veterinary field. Former trainer of show and race horses.
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My horse is having a lot of mucus coming out of her nose.

Customer Question

My horse is having a lot of mucus coming out of her nose. When she drinks water that is coming out of her nose too.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 7 years ago.



I'm sorry your horse is having this issue.


Has your vet been out to check her?


Is she eating OK? Does she have any food coming out of her nose?


If you feel down the left side of her neck in that "groove" do you feel anything hard like a lump?


How long has this been going on?


What color is the mucous?


Have you had her teeth checked recently? When were they floated last?


What do you feed her?


Dr. Hinson

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hi Dr. Hinson:


The mucous is clear but when she eats it does turn greenish color. It seems that what is going in her mouth is coming out of her nose. She had her teeth floated earlier this year. I feed her timothy, alfalfa/bermuda pellets and Integrity senior. This is the third time this year she has had something similar. The other two times my vet did come out. He is recommending that I take her to go get scoped which posses some difficulty since I don't have a trailer and the hospital is about 45 minutes I am working on it. I really appreciates what your thoughts might be on this. Oh, I have not felt the side of her neck yet...but I can.

Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 7 years ago.

It really sounds to me like she has choke.


Choke is a condition in horses in which the esophagus is blocked, usually by food material. Although the horse is still able to breathe, it is unable to swallow.


Horses may develop choke if they do not chew their food properly. Therefore, horses with dental problems (e.g. acquired or congenital malocclusion, loose or missing teeth, or excessively sharp dental ridges) that do not allow them to completely grind their food are particularly at risk. In addition, horses that swallow large pieces of food (such as large carrot or apple slices), or greedy animals that bolt their feed and do not take the time to chew properly may suffer from choke.


Signs of choke:

  • Difficulty swallowing (horse may try to swallow without success)
  • Disinterest in food
  • Coughing
  • Extending the neck and head, usually in a downward direction
  • Discharge from the nostrils. usually green in color, although it may also be yellow or clear, often looks like vomit
  • Increased salivation, saliva drooling from the mouth
  • Heart rate may increase slightly, due to the distress of the animal
  • Occasionally, a lump on the side of the neck is visible or can be felt, where the esophagus is blocked. This is normally most obvious on the left.

If a horse is suspected of choke, a veterinarian will often pass a stomach tube down the animal's esophagus to determine if there is a blockage. Failure to access get the tube down into the stomach indicates a complete obstruction; difficulty passing the tube may represent a narrowing; or a partial obstruction. Radiography (xrays) and endoscopy are also helpful in diagnosis.


I would strongly recommend getting her scoped and having xrays done if needed.


Anytime food and water is coming out the nose it means the esophagus is blocked. If you can't get her scoped just yet, have your vet out immediately and have them try to pass a tube to see if the esophagus is blocked. Sometimes the blockage is not from food but it could be a tumor of the esophagus (that is why the scoping is important).


I hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions!


Dr. Hinson

Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 7 years ago.

Do you have any additional questions?

DR. Hinson
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 7 years ago.

I saw you read my reply but I never heard back and you didn't accept my answer. Is there any specific reason why? I'd like to know if there was any better way I could have helped you.

Dr. Hinson