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DrMelJ, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience:  experience in racetrack medicine and general practice; owned and ridden horses throughout life.
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My quarterhorse has not eaten anything all day. He is

Customer Question

My quarterhorse has not eaten anything all day. He is lethargic and is standing over his water trough taking in water, by immersing his whole muzzle in and then slowly allowing the water to trick back out of his mouth. This behaviour seems to be soothing to him. He is usually such a bold personality and has never missed a feed or passed up and offering of carrot or hand feed ever in his 7 years of life. He is also a thick set and muscular build. He has a feed comprising of 1 scoop of Mitavite x 3 scoops of green chaffe, dampened down with water (morning and night). He is rugged at night. He has 3 acres to graze grass on our small acerage on Lake Macquarie.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 2 years ago.

Hi there. Thanks for the question. Let me see if I can help. It is very concerning that your horse is acting this way. One of two things is likely going on.

1. He has a fever. You can check his temp using. A human digital thermometer. If the temp is greater than 102 F then he has a fever and needs to be seen by a vet.

2. Colic. This can be as simple as gas pain or as bad as a twist in the gut. Only a vet exam can help you determine the difference. Colic can be very serious and the longer you wait the worse it can be. If you have banamine At home you can give a dose and see if that helps for a little bit but I still recommend having the vet come out.

I hope this helps. Best of luck.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay - I think I can safely say it is not colic. He is better this morning - having accepted a brown sugar coated sandwich. When I look at this week's history he has had an eye discharge in both eyes. I have been swabbing this with carbonate of soda & boiled water solution. The fact that he had a slight nasal discharge yesterday - thinking it maybe some kind of infection. I will take his temperature - but I only have a rectal thermometer - not a digital.
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 2 years ago.

With a regular Mercury rectal thermometer the same numbers apply...anything 102 F or higher is a fever. Make sure you leave it in long enough to get a true reading. Based on the history you are you giving, it certainly sounds like it could be an infection. Either upper respiratory or possibly an infected tooth. Usually with a tooth issue, they will have very foul smelling breath so you can certainly check that. If the breath smells bad and he's not eating great and perhaps has a fever, he may need a tooth pulled. Call your vet to have that done correctly. Best of luck.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No he does not have a foul breath BUT it may be time for a teeth check. He still has his "wolf teeth" - so I will get our local horse vet to bring his dentistry equipment. Though - if he has an upper respiratory infection we may leave this until he is better. Is it best if you don't rush into antibiotics? If horses were in the wild, I guess they would either get better or die. As you can imagine - he is definitely looked after.
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 2 years ago.

Most upper respiratory infections are viral and so antibiotics are not used. If the horse continues or returns to being off feed or is getting very high fevers then treatment for the fever- banamine and potentially antibiotics may be needed. Most upper respiratory infections run their course in 7-10 days. Take care and don't forget to rate my response. Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What is banamine - where do I get hold of this? Is this only available through a vet?
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 2 years ago.

Banamine is a pain med and fever reducer for horse Tylenol. Yes, it is generally only available thru your vet.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
if I can only get it from a vet and a vet won't give it without coming out... then there is no point in recommending this product.
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 2 years ago.

Some vets will dispense it without seeing the horse if you have an established vet-client-patient relationship with them. Many of our clients buy it from us and keep it on hand for these types of issues so I mention it n case you already had it on hand.