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Clayton Taffy 11-03-2012 09:42 AM

What is wrong with him?
Last Wed when the farrier came to put new shoes on pilgrim, as P was cross tied for two hours I was able to closely observe him and something was not right, some observations I made:

He was salivating more than usual. Nothing dripping but when he licked his lips you could tell he had a lot of saliva in his mouth.

He had an itchy tongue, itched it about 5 times, never have I seen him do this before.

He chewed on the crossties at least 3 times, he has never done this before, and when I got the crossties out of his mouth they were caked in dripping saliva.

He stretched his neck, then opened his mouth about 2 “, twice, not a yawn.

He was eating fine, no dropping of grain head tilting, and not a blade of hay left in the stall. He would stretch his neck at the very first bite of grain then not again at all.

Felt lymph nodes and he has always been thick in the throat latch area, but the same on both sides.

Temp was normal.

Someone who did not know the horse probably would not have noticed, everything was very subtle. I probably would not have noticed one of the observations by itself.

P had his teeth done by a DVM specializing in dentistry, in April, so I figured teeth were not on the top of the list of concerns. I talked to the farrier about my observations and he helped me look in P’s mouth with a flashlight. We didn’t really see anything.

I called the dentist and told him my observations; he said it sounds like he might have a stick wedged across his upper molars, if you have ever had a dog get a stick there the dogs go crazy.

My husband, a DVM but not an equine specialist, looked in P’s mouth, his practice doesn’t have one of those fancy speculums that crank the horse’s mouth open. He used the old ones that you put the big knob on one side of the jaw in between the teeth.

Well he did not see a stick or anything in P’s mouth. Husband did observe that the back of P’s tongue looked thick, hard and swollen. Hubby also said he wasn’t even sure how the back of a horses tongue should look or feel. So we got out another horse to compare. Deduction was that P’s tongue was a bit thicker, and harder that the other horse.

I called the dentist back with hubby’s findings, and dentist said that he was not going to be on my side of the state for about 4 weeks. He told me he might have a puncture on his tongue and an abscess forming and to give him a gram of Bute for 4 or 5 days, and if no better take him to be seen by an equine DVM.

Today, after 3 days of Bute, he is still eating fine every morsel of food gone, this morning I gave him half of an apple, he ate it but he stretched his neck out, and then popped it up about 6 inches. That is something new.

I called the university and have an appointment for Monday am, to have him checked out.

Anyone had anything similar happen with any of their equines?

Do you think I need to make an emergency visit this to the Mizzou vet hospital?

He is alert,and seems happy and content in the pasture and in the stall.

Celeste 11-03-2012 10:02 AM

I have seen horses that would salivate a lot if there was something odd in their pastures that they were eating. One horse was reacting to excess clover. I once saw a horse that salivated excessively for a few hours, then he seizured and fell over as if dead. All this happened the day that he was put in a new pasture. He was moved back to his old pasture as soon as he got up. We never could find anything wrong. It pretty much had to be a toxic plant.

churumbeque 11-03-2012 10:15 AM

Try messaging his throat and neck. Something could be lodged furth down.

Boo Walker 11-03-2012 10:18 AM

A toxic plant was my first thought as well. Since Fall is upon us perhaps a stickery weed or cockleburr?

Celeste 11-03-2012 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by churumbeque (Post 1742540)
Try messaging his throat and neck. Something could be lodged furth down.

Like maybe in his esophagus. Can he eat ok?

Clayton Taffy 11-03-2012 10:19 AM

Thanks Celeste, Dentist thought this also, but I have worked here for 30 years and never had a problem with anything in the pasture, the dentist also said that there is something horses eat this time of the year that turns the horses tongue black, so color was not a big issue. P has been on this pasture for 8 years. If it was just a salavating issue I would not be concerened, I would also contribute it to pasture or hay.

Clayton Taffy 11-03-2012 10:27 AM

I have watched him swallow and felt his neck as he swallowed and there doesn't seem to be an obstruction.

I will try massaging his throat though. No swelling between and under his jaw, and his breath is not bad.

he is eating fine and everything.
He is in no way salavating like choke, nothing is discharging from his nose, and no saliva is dripping from his mouth.

To me it seems as if it is a thorn, burr or sticker.

Elana 11-03-2012 10:35 AM

As you note.. he could have a thorn or something back there. Another thought is sometimes animals develop allergies and things they were fine with all along they are no longer fine with (just like some people).

A last thought on this is if you have ANY Alsike Clover anywhere.. in his hay or in the pasture. Alsike clover can make a horse salivate and so forth. Cows eat it fine, but horses not so much.

Clayton Taffy 11-03-2012 10:48 AM

I don't think there is clover in my hay, I have had the same hay man for 10 years, but the hay is very poor this year, very stemmy.

My big question is, am I bad if I go to Girls weekend at the Lake in 45 min, or should I take P to the university. I will be back tomorrow at 1pm.

Hubby will be feeding and checking on P 3X a day.

I want to go to girls weekend!!

Clayton Taffy 11-03-2012 11:29 AM

I called hubby and the dentist, they bith said go, P is going to be the same in 24 hours. Good. I will post here what university said after appointment Mon.

Thank you for your replies and suggestions.

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