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post #1 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Houston, TX
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Question Idea's on What's Up?!?

I have a 14 year old gelding who has been perfectly healthy his entire life. He's in a turn-out... never stalled. He's always been a VERY aggressive eater, downing whatever is in front of him in half the time of my other horses. Yesterday, however, when I dumped his grain, he nuzzled it a bit, took a small bite, chewed for what seemed like forever with lots of sucking and sloping noises. No signs of colic- he's not covered in mud, so I know he's not rolling and he had great digestive sounds. No temp - he came in at 100.4. Shook my head, figured maybe he bit his tongue or something of he sort and headed home for the night.

Today, I went out to feed again and he's still acting "off". He's does not appear to be dehydrated, but he's been in a turnout with a few other horses so I can't really gauge his consumption. Bowl sounds seem decreased today, but still no other signs of colic. He's still trying to eat, but having obvious difficulties. Looked at his teeth, nothing appears inflamed, no foul smell, no nasal discharge, no visual signs of swelling in his cheeks, however, it does appear that his glands in his neck are somewhat swollen. I separated him from the other horses so I can see what he's taking in. Gave him PCN and plan to make a trip to the vet tomorrow. He's due for a teeth floating, but this came on so suddenly, it has to be something more than just a floating issue. My first thought was an abcess, but none of the tell-tale signs are there for that either.

His eye's are bright, but he was shaking while trying to eat. Shaking decreases substantially when he's walked and not trying to consume.

Any ideas? This one's got me stumped!
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:40 PM
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I'd be rushing him to the vet. Going off feed is not something to wait and see about with horses.
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:42 PM
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Vet time. He needs a speculum to make sure he doesn't have something lodged in between his molars or a broken tooth or such. How is she shaking? Like muscle tremors or headshaking? Headshaking says there is something in his mouth or throat bothering him. Muscle tremors says possibly a really big problem. Both need a vet if you cant find anything on a quick lookover.
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post #4 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:47 PM
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My guess is he's choking. But I'm not a vet. Which is what he needs at this point in time.

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with
him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."

-Samuel Butler
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Tremors are more "Whole Body". Pretty much stops when he's not trying to eat... starts again when he chews.

We're headed to the vet first thing in the am. I wish I knew why this stuff only happens on a Holiday when there isn't a vet around!

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post #6 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 07:54 PM
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Good call. Id keep a sharp eye on him tonight tho and if anything changes for the worse, call the vet immediately. I might not even wait depending on how bad it was. Sounds like a potential emergency to me.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)
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post #7 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 10:44 PM
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Good choice to take him to the vet. Hope it's nothing serious. Good luck and keep us posted!
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post #8 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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I have a new theory... I'm thinking it may be strangles. I went back out to check on him and he's still eating, but very slowly. His chewing is fine, but there's swelling at the throat latch and it's hard and rather lumpy. When he's forced to swallow, he does it just like a human would when they have a very sore throat. (It's WAY exagurated) Found out there was a case of Strangles about 2 weeks ago here at our barn too... He still has no fever or nasal drainage, which goes against my Strangles theory, but everything else seems to line up. On a good note, he's no longer trembling. Hoping that was just because he was cold and now he's got his blanket on.

We'll know tomorrow for sure! Thanks for your input!
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 11:19 PM
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very possible. They dont all always have drainage at first. The vet can do a culture and tell.

still no fever?

he may well have been cold. Poor guy. I bet he feels like poo if he does have strangles. Do you board? I cant believe the barn didn't issue warnings if there was a case on the property.

You may or may not already know...Strangles is VERY contagious and can be deadly if not treated properly. No antibiotics or meds till the abscesses rupture. this is very important as treating too early can cause the abcesses to go inward and form on organs. This is also known as b*astard strangles.

I have found that normal healthy horses recover pretty fast if you let the abscess build (heat packs can help) and then lance it when it has a soft spot and start antibiotics then. I used to work at a public riding stables that took auction horses, trained and rehabbed them and sold them for pleasure horses down the line after they were proven to be a safe trail horse back when the market was good. Strangles was always a risk with a load of new auction horses. Lots of them came with it or shipping fever. We got good at treating them over the years. The bonus was that once they had it, they never got it again. I know vets will tell you otherwise but I found it to be true in the many years I worked there. Once one had it, it never got it again even if it lived next door to an infected horse.

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post #10 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 11:25 PM
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We are guessing here, get him to the vet, like yesterday!
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chewing difficulty , horse not eating , swollen glands

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