Mini cannot chew/swallow his hay - again! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 09-30-2012, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Mini cannot chew/swallow his hay - again!

Exactly one year ago, just after having his teeth floated, my 18 y/o mini suddenly began slobbering and was unable to adequately chew and swallow his local grass hay. He was also unable to chew/swallow finer grass but could eat some coarser grasses and herbs. Of course, I blamed the floating. Four months followed of vet visits, xrays, tubing w/camera, maalox, omeprazole, banamine, dexamethazone. Nothing helped. His soft palate was swollen but no reason could be found. My vet consulted with other vets and with professors at Oregon State University and Washington State University and no solutions were forthcoming nor had anyone experienced a similar situation. I offered and soaked a variety of hays; alfalfa was easiest for him but he still left most of it. He could eat pelleted feeds, though the bottom of the feed pan looked like soup when he finished. In February, the condition began to resolve on its own and since then he has been just fine, aside from a bout with laminitis unfortunately brought on by all the unusually rich feed.

To my dismay,four days ago I noticed quidded hay in his stall. This time there was no dental work involved or anything else out of the ordinary. From then on, every day he has gotten worse until once again he is unable to chew and swallow his hay, even though he tries very hard. He is still able to graze, though grazing appears to be becoming more difficult as well. It has been very dry here. My pasture is very small and not very good; my horses are primarily hay-fed (the other two are having no problems nor did they last year). Since this occurred almost to the day from the problem last year, I now am thinking time-of-year-related toxins/allergies but I can find no information online that fits his symptoms.

Does anyone have any experience with something similar?
I hate to call the vets in again since the condition didn't seem to respond to anything they did. Nor do I want to bring about more laminitis by offering inappropriate feed. I just can't stand to see him struggling like this. He's a very sweet little guy.
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-01-2012, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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vet says it must be an allergy

Spoke to my vet and she says it must be environmental/allergy. Am going to pick up hydroxazine (?) capsules to hopefully reduce any swelling in his mouth and throat.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-01-2012, 12:47 PM
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I don't have any ideas on what is going on but have you tried soaking straight hay pellets for him to eat until this resolves? We feed soaked Timothy pellets to a couple old horses that can't chew, it's not rich so there aren't issues from that and although they took a day or two to get used to eating a sludgy soup, they now love it.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-01-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for replying! I am actually now feeding him a complete pelleted ration - Nutrena Senior w/o molasses - and he is eating it. He continues to attempt to eat his hay but most of it comes back out. He will be kept off pasture because we think he must have ingested something that is causing this reaction - perhaps some leaves that fall at this time of year, or some kind of weed. He has had his first does of hydroxyzine which I hope will help.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-02-2012, 03:00 PM
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I am sorry to hear that hope you find out what is going on..

Mom to my 6 little clowns on 4 legs my French Bulldogs .Mom to 2 miniature horses Pixie,Blaze & Clydesdale Suzie!
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-06-2012, 10:16 PM
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This might be random...but thorns/splinter in his pallet?

Be wary of the horse with a sense of humour. - Pam Brown
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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That was what we thought when this same thing occurred last year, so complete head xrays were taken then and they showed nothing. Vets could not find any foreign objects in his mouth either visually, by xray, or by scope.

He has now begun salivating excessively.

I'm reading online posts about humans with swollen soft palates and they all seem to involve allergic reactions, with the swollen soft palate accompanied by itchy lips and a feeling of gagging when swallowing. One person states that it occurs every year around the same time, which is exactly what happened here! She rinses with a warm saline solution. I'm going to begin rinsing his mouth with a warm saline solution to see if it helps.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 12:04 PM
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Were his teeth done with a power float? I ask because sometimes vets get too carried away & make the grinding surfaces too smooth to chew properly.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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We wondered about that last year, but that wouldn't explain why it has suddenly become a problem again this year with no dental work having been done.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 09:32 PM
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Muscle/jaw problems? Perhaps some cranio-sacral work or TMJ work may be in order?
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