Windsucking.
   

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Windsucking.

This is a discussion on Windsucking. within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Windsucking big problem
  • Suturing a barrel horse

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    08-07-2012, 07:07 PM
  #1
Foal
Cool Windsucking.

how can I stop my tb mare from windsucking?
     
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    08-07-2012, 07:15 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Is the wind sucking affecting her health at all? If not, I was told by my vet that it's not a huge problem if watched. My mare is a cribber/wind sucker and my vet said the biggest problem with wind suckers is maintaining their weight and then the wearing of their teeth. I just keep a careful eye on her and I've had her to 3 years now and never had a health problem or other related problem from the cribbing/wind sucking.

I'm not saying it will work for your horse but it's worth a shot before buying into all of the collars, supplements, sprays, and such. Every horse is different, I would probably start with a Weaver Miracle Collar or like collar. I've had good results with it on other horses, it just doesn't work on my mare..Then you can move to supplements like Quitt or a spray like No Chew (I think there is also a wrap of this)..I've heard of others say pepper spray works..
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    08-07-2012, 08:16 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
'Wind sucking' is usually defined as a mare that draws air into her vaginal cavity. It is easily 'fixed' by having her sutured. If she has done this for any length of time, she should be infused with antibiotics (the 'shotgun method') or cultured while in heat and then infused with the appropriate antibiotic and sutured after being treated.

The edges of her vulva are removed from each side of her upper vulva (it can be pretty bloody). Most mares need about 1/3 to 1/2 of their vulva open at the bottom of it so they can urinate. The upper part is then sutured together and it literally grows shut.

This will keep a mare from 'sucking air' as she runs or moves around. Any performance mare that is being ridden hard or fast should be sutured. This includes barrel horses, cutting and reining horses, hunters and jumpers, etc. If you expect a mare to perform at a high level, she should probably be sutured.

Once a mare is sutured, she needs to be kept sutured until she is opened up for breeding, sutured back again and opened up for foaling.
     
    08-07-2012, 10:10 PM
  #4
Trained
Cherie, I suspect the OP is referring to windsucking as in cribbing.
     
    08-08-2012, 07:47 AM
  #5
Yearling
I also think cribbing is what she may have been referring to but thank you so much Cherie for the educational information. I had never heard of that before. I love learning!
     
    08-08-2012, 08:01 AM
  #6
Green Broke
I have a friend whose mare cribs, and she can't wear a cribbing collar because it causes rashes on her sensitive skin. So she bought this stuff, puts it on every surface in her stall where her mare can grab hold and crib, and it works wonders! She's the only cribber in the barn now who doesn't need a collar and NEVER cribs in her stall now!!

Hydrophane Cribox - Disinfecting/Cleaning from SmartPak Equine

     
    08-08-2012, 08:37 AM
  #7
Super Moderator
As far as I have learned, cribbing is not that much physical as psychological. It is commonly caused by extreme stress or long periods of it in the past or present, and cannot be completely cured by collars or anti-cribbing creams/sprays/whatevers. To some horses, it is enough stress to start cribbing even if they are kept stalled for too long (to their opinion, at least). Cribbing can be stopped, if the horse is turned out for as much time as possible, the best would be 27/7, but it applies only to the lighter cases.

For example, we have two chronic cribbers in our barn. One is a 5yo Latvian draft horse who spent a year of his life with the gypsies, before his current owner got him. Gypsies here are known far and wide for their cruel attitude towards horses, and it seems that this horse has suffered, too, but is now recovering. He is dealing nicely with his fears, and he now cribs only by feedbins, tying posts and such places, but not in the pastures. He, as all our horses, is 24/7 pastured.

The other is an older warmblood gelding who, as a foal of just a few months, was taken away from his mother and stalled for several days, away from all the other horses, while his mother was takan away for a show. He panicked the whole time and suffered mentally to a great level, and since then he has been cribbing almost all the time, even in the pastures, sucking on tree branches and sometimes even other horses!

Also, cribbing might mean that the horse has ulcers or that the rider is too tight on the reins, because cribbing sometimes comes with a noticable tension in the neck, shoulders and poll, and the horse has discovered a way to ease the tension, as extra oxygen intake serves as a way of getting a bit "high". Thus, it sometimes cannot be treated even if all the causes are eliminated, because the horse has gotten into this rather pleasurable habit.

Thus, to find the best treatment, all possible causes must be evaluated. How is his health? Do you know his past, has he suffered from stress, anxiety, fear in prolonged periods of time or in extreme levels? What kind of a rider/handler you are, how long is he stalled daily, what have you done up to now to change something about cribbing?

Something that has to be reminded, although I hope that to most people it comes naturally - cribbing should never, never be punished. It is just a way how a horse shows that something isn't quite right.

And, as another member already mentioned, the teeth of a cribber have to be monitored carefully, because cribbing changes the way how they are worn out.
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    08-08-2012, 09:15 AM
  #8
Trained
What Saranda said.

I have also heard that cribbing can be caused by copper deficiency.

I would address any possibility of ulcers, look into copper deficiency, and THEN (and ONLY then) put a cribbing collar on. I would also pasture the horse 24/7 and put in a hotwire around 3' from the pasture fence, paint any surfaces I can't fence off (ie gates and sometimes trees) with one of the various cribstop products (but NOT VINEGAR, horses love it) and keep it painted.

The determined horse will learn to windsuck which is cribbing but without grabbing things... that's what the collar is for, to hopefully stop that from happening.

If all else fails, an operation can be done where a hole is cut in the horse's cheek so it can't get the suction to suck down the air. It sounds pretty drastic, and I don't know how they drink (but obviously they do), but making it physically impossible will fix the problem if the horse is absolutely determined it WILL no matter what you do. HOWEVER this operation is not failsafe either as the hole can grow over! (you know, like when you get your ears pierced, and if you leave the piercing out for too long it grows over? Same thing)
     
    08-08-2012, 09:17 AM
  #9
Super Moderator
That hole cutting method sounds absolutely awful. I can't even believe that people would do such a thing!
     
    08-08-2012, 09:34 AM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
'Wind sucking' is usually defined as a mare that draws air into her vaginal cavity. It is easily 'fixed' by having her sutured. If she has done this for any length of time, she should be infused with antibiotics (the 'shotgun method') or cultured while in heat and then infused with the appropriate antibiotic and sutured after being treated.

The edges of her vulva are removed from each side of her upper vulva (it can be pretty bloody). Most mares need about 1/3 to 1/2 of their vulva open at the bottom of it so they can urinate. The upper part is then sutured together and it literally grows shut.

This will keep a mare from 'sucking air' as she runs or moves around. Any performance mare that is being ridden hard or fast should be sutured. This includes barrel horses, cutting and reining horses, hunters and jumpers, etc. If you expect a mare to perform at a high level, she should probably be sutured.

Once a mare is sutured, she needs to be kept sutured until she is opened up for breeding, sutured back again and opened up for foaling.
What?? I've never heard this one. Wind-sucking is a stereotypy where horses bite onto some thing (stable door, fence post, feed or water bucket) and swallow air. Often goes hand and hand with crib-biting. Or, at least, that's the only way I've ever heard it referred to ever before, and I've met and dealt with wind suckers (unfortunately it's a behaviour that other horses often end up copying...).

It's not a particularly nice behaviour, but other than painting your stable door and fence posts with something that tastes foul, there's not much you can do about it. It doesn't actually do the horse that much harm, and they find it something fun to do. Best way to try to avoid it though is to turnout as much as you can, if possible with electric fencing inside of your post and rail, and when stabled to make sure they have plenty of hay and stable toys to prevent boredom (the main initiator of this behaviour). However, don't expect it to stop completely, especially if the horse is bored and/or stressed.
     

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