I've been a little concerned about my coming 4 year old Rocky Mountain tonight. He's not really been finishing his hay (which is in a net) for the last couple of days, though he grazes when he's out, and scarfs down his dinner (which is forage and supplements, soaked) normally. I checked temperature, heartbeat, manure, all is normal. He's not showing any colic signs.
When I did a night check, he still had more hay in his net than I'd have expected.
I gave him some loose hay, then observed his behavior. He ate that fine, but he'd chew for a bit, then pause, freezing, for a second. Rather like if I was watching a video and just hit the pause for a second. Then he'd continue. He seems in no distress when he does this. He doesn't tense, that I can see.
Could he have a jaw issue, like TMJ problems? It occurs to me that if he did, it might be painful to pull hay from the net, but easier to graze or eat hay off the ground. Is there any way for me to check this?
I have an email in to my vet, but it'll probably be a couple days before he replies, and this is not an emergency to call him out on a weekend.
If I see him chewing like that tomorrow, thinking of giving him a little bute and seeing if the behavior vanishes, but looking for suggestions on what this might be ("nothing" is an acceptable answer!) and what I can to to confirm or narrow down if there's a problem and if so, what it might be.
Thanks for any replies.
More than likely, he has teeth erupting and depending upon how he's chewing, he's getting a zinger. At 3-4 there are a lot of changes going on in his mouth. The teeth are also soft at this age and he could have some points that need taken care of.
Does he seem alert when he pauses or relaxed?
Some horses pause when they hear a strange noise, listen, then go back to eaating again-- totally normal horsey behavior..
dont most horses with teeth issues always go for hay and not grain, though?
Left Hand's theory that it might be teeth erupting is one that I'd forgotten about. Dentist said he mostly has all his adult teeth, but does have one or two more caps to shed. I'll have the vet check that when he comes out to do shots next week.
If hes getting chaff for dinner, and hay 24/7 with grass turnout, maybe he is just full, or tired of all the hay, lol. :-P
Are you suplementing for lack of a mineral block? What all suppliments is he getting?
He chokes on chaff? How much water is he getting?
He has a mineral block. He's getting a vitamin/mineral supplement, and Bugcheck. I'm supplementing because the grass doesn't appear to supply all of his needs, and because the vet said so :)
I'm not sure forage and chaff are the same thing (though might just be a difference in terms, depending on what country you're from). At any rate, he choked on sweet feed once, and soaked pellets another time. We suspect he's had minor chokes on cubes that weren't soaked quite long enough. I continue to soak all his feed as a precaution.
He gets all the water he wants, and he drinks sufficiently. We don't know why he's choked in the past; haven't had him scoped because it's expensive and wouldn't really change how he's managed.
At any rate, the vet also thinks the chewing pauses might be something dental. He's coming out in two weeks for spring shots so I'll have him take a peek then.
I agree that it could be teeth issues or maybe a sticker or something that could of caused a sore in his mouth. Is he drooling or has he drooled?
I went through this a few months ago. When we moved back from TX one of my horses started chewing funny and doing the same, pausing, chew, pause, chew.
I kept an eye on her for a couple of days then she went back to eating normally. About two weeks later catching her I felt a lump in between her lower jawbones halfway between her jowls and chin. I pulled off a crusty but felt something hard, thinking it was a sticker or a splinter I pulled on it. I pulled out a 1.5" straight push pin without the little plastic head!
I can't prove where it came from but I suspect it came from alfalfa cubes I had bought for the the trip. She might have got the pin in her mouth and it eventually worked it's way out.
Holy Cow, Chick!
As my Grandpa used to say "I would've s**t and fell in it".
I kept the pin to show hubby, he didn't believe me when I told him on the phone. ****est thing I've seen in a while!
Sorry to get off topic, but I am curious as to why the people in a horse feed manufacturing plant would be needing a Push Pin anyway? I think its a little out dated to keep them in a hat, for when the boys get fresh with ya-- especially, since now days, most women concealed carry. :D
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