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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple weeks ago I went to feed my horses in the morning and found that they had not finished their grain from the night before (very unusual). My younger horse, a quarter horse mare, came over asking for more food, but wouldn't touch the old stuff. I looked to my older horse, a 20-something arabian gelding, and saw his nose and mouth were covered in bits of food. Totally coated. He didn't seem interested in eating either.

I was so scared!:shock: I got him cleaned up and put him in the stall (usually only locked in there for bad weather or if ill). I then fed them each some hay, which they both ate. Later he seemed fine and I have been able to feed them normaly ever since. I inspected the pasture and found an area that looked like coughed up food that had been thoroughly chewed. It looks like he threw up, but horses don't vomit, right?

Have any of you had this happened or know what it could be? I am pretty sure he is okay now, but I just was curious what might have gone wrong and how I should avoid it.
 

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Hi,

Depends what's in the feed. Eg. my horse is fussy with nutrient supps, and if for eg. I add powdered Mg to his feed, he'll usually eat it the first few times, then won't touch it, no matter how much other good stuff's in there. Even the pelleted nutritional supp I now feed, that they love straight, eat like lollies most of the time, they occasionally 'go off'. I put this down to them instinctively knowing what's good for them & if they've got adequate levels of certain nutrients already, they won't eat any more for a time.

But that this only happened once, perhaps the feed became contaminated? Is it possible rats got in & peed on it or such?

BTW, yes, horses can vomit. Speaking from personal - terrified - experience. When I witnessed my donkey throwing up once after worming, I freaked, having been taught that equids can't. Rang a vet, who said it was OK, just keep an eye on him, etc. Didn't believe him & rang 2 other good equine vets, only to get the same sort of advice. It seems that it is very uncommon for horses to vomit, because of the way their digestive tract is built, it is difficult, but not impossible.
 

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Did you recently open a new bag of feed? Could be there is something in it that they have reacted to. I would just keep an eye on them and maybe do a good thorough search and sniff of their feed, to see if you can find, or smell anything that might be 'off' with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, it was a fairly new bag of feed. I had opened up just 3 days previously. They have both been doing fine. I'm thinking that he did vomit, and luckily it wasn't very much. I'm not sure what was wrong with that scoop, maybe it got wet or something. The rest of the bag has been fine and I have now opened new bags since then of the same brand. I'm am very relieved that they are okay. He really scared me. He is in his early 20's and I have never owned an older horse before. I keep watching him like a hawk. I have only had him a couple months, but he is just a sweetie :)
 

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Horses aren't able to vomit, though on rare occasion they can cough things out of their throat through the valve. For this to occur, the horse has to be near dead or struggling greatly, as the muscle around the valve will thus be weak and the food will slip through it.What most likely happened is he was chewing on it, changed his mind, and spat it out :)

Feed bags are not particularly identical. Sometimes the concentrations are different, and the grains used are from a different field. Keep an eye on him and see if he continues to refuse it. If he does, I'd buy another bag instead. It also wouldn't hurt to check his teeth.
 

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Horses aren't able to vomit, though on rare occasion they can cough things out of their throat through the valve. For this to occur, the horse has to be near dead or struggling greatly, as the muscle around the valve will thus be weak and the food will slip through it.What most likely happened is he was chewing on it, changed his mind, and spat it out :)
Interested to know where you get that info from, as, from my experiences(seen it twice, once with my horse, once with donk, both after worming with Ivermectin:shock:) and from a number of different vet opinions, as explained, your information is incorrect. My boys were also no where near dead, and they definitely were vomiting, not coughing.
 

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Ummmm...no offense here but if horses could 'vomit' in the true sense, there is no way we would lose them to colic, and other such disorders that would be helped by a horse being able to vomit. Here's why...

Horses have a band of muscle around the esophagus as it enters the stomach. This band operates in horses much as in humans: as a one-way valve. Food freely passes down the esophagus into the stomach as the valve relaxes but the valve squeezes down the opening and cuts off the passage for food going back up.
Horses, however, differ from us because their valve really works. Humans can vomit. Horses almost physically can't because of the power of the cut-off valve muscle. Also, the esophagus meets the stomach at an angle which enhances the cut-off function when the horse's stomach is bloated with food or gas. Then the stomach wall pushes against the valve, closing the esophagus even more completely from the stomach.

Normally, the mechanics are such that the horse's stomach ruptures before the valve yields. If material does pass from stomach out the esophagus, the horse is dead or nearly so. That's why horses can't vomit and why It's very rare for a horse to throw up.
 

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Ummmm...no offense here but if horses could 'vomit' in the true sense, there is no way we would lose them to colic....
Horses almost physically can't because of the power of the cut-off valve muscle. .....Normally, the mechanics are such that the horse's stomach ruptures before the valve yields. ....It's very rare for a horse to throw up.
Ummmm... no offense, but it looks to me that you have just disproved your own assertion. In your quote, (from a source you havent provided) note the words almost, normally & rare. Also, with regard to colic, it is usually a hind gut rather than stomach issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, it seems I have started a little debate here. This is all very interesting. Something I may not have mentioned before was that the food stuff I cleaned off him was around his mouth and in his nostrils. It seems like it could have even come out of his nose. Maybe the food didn't get all the way to the stomach, but instead got caught partway down then was forced back up with coughing? I am not really sure, but luckily he is doing great now. This happened 2 weeks ago now, so I am pretty sure there are no side affects from this occurance.:D

I have read some resources online that say a horse cannot vomit, but maybe they can cough up stuff from their esophogus before it gets to the stomach? Not truly vomiting, but kind of like it?

Thank you all for all your responses. This is really interesting:think:
 

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Interested to know where you get that info from, as, from my experiences(seen it twice, once with my horse, once with donk, both after worming with Ivermectin:shock:) and from a number of different vet opinions, as explained, your information is incorrect. My boys were also no where near dead, and they definitely were vomiting, not coughing.
I've heard from multiple horsemen that vomiting is a very rare occurrence if it truly happens at all. The function of the valve is basic information. I would need a video from you and some way to validate that it came from the stomach and not the esophagus as I trust your words as much as you trust mine.
 

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A horse's stomach contents also leave the stomach and go down into the intestines about 15 minutes after entering the stomach. So if they were to throw up it's a very narrow window of opportunity.
 

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I've heard from multiple horsemen that vomiting is a very rare occurrence .... I would need a video from you and some way to validate that it came from the stomach and not the esophagus as I trust your words as much as you trust mine.
:lol:Yep, good to be skeptical, huh? Couldn't give you a vid, as I'd have to go back in time to do it. I didn't know what was happening the first time & didn't believe it either, based on common belief. But three different vets asserted to me that horses *could* vomit - as explained, it's just very difficult & therefore rare for them. Now I appreciate that even 'experts':wink: are not always right either tho... That's why I am interested in any scientific sources that may prove either or.
 

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But three different vets asserted to me that horses *could* vomit - as explained, it's just very difficult & therefore rare for them.
I think what is causing debate here is technical terms. Vomiting actually has a very specific definition which is different from regurgitating. Vomiting implies a distinct set of steps and involves contents of the stomach and sometimes small intestine refluxing back up into the esophagus and out the mouth. If the contents have not yet passed into the stomach, they can be regurgitated out of the esophagus and hence not "technically" vomited but most vets will refer to it as such. So, you're both right!

to the OP though, feed aversion can be a sign of something wrong with the grain (as another poster said). It can be mixing error or a mycotoxin, any number of things. To be safe, what I would do is ditch the grain and get a new bag. Yes, it's throwing money away but could save you a ton down the road, even the lives of your horses!!
 

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:lol:Yep, good to be skeptical, huh? Couldn't give you a vid, as I'd have to go back in time to do it. I didn't know what was happening the first time & didn't believe it either, based on common belief. But three different vets asserted to me that horses *could* vomit - as explained, it's just very difficult & therefore rare for them. Now I appreciate that even 'experts':wink: are not always right either tho... That's why I am interested in any scientific sources that may prove either or.
Did you notice that I said very rare occurrence, not impossible? What are you even trying to argue now? I've heard 'my way' from multiple people, you've heard 'your way' from multiple people. I have no reason to provide links for you when you have your own internet to satiate your own curiosity.
 

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I think the biggest thing here is to understand that vomiting in horses IS extremely rare, and that it means there is something seriously wrong with your horse, and to get in contact with a vet, because even if he seems fine afterward, he may not be...the vomiting could cause the stomach and the valve to the stomach to rupture. Plain and simple...
 

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Did you notice that I said very rare occurrence, not impossible? What are you even trying to argue now? .... I have no reason to provide links for you when you have your own internet to satiate your own curiosity.
:?I don't get what bit of my reply to you you are taking as argument?? I know you 'have no reason', unless the fact that I requested it is reason enough. As I said, I'm interested to learn more, that's all. Aren't these forums for providing people with info even tho they can find it elsewhere?

BTW, thanks Tealamutt for clarifying that point.
 

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I think the biggest thing here is to understand that vomiting in horses IS extremely rare, and that it means there is something seriously wrong with your horse, and to get in contact with a vet, because even if he seems fine afterward, he may not be...the vomiting could cause the stomach and the valve to the stomach to rupture. Plain and simple...

yes, thanks mom2pride, let's stick with the issue at hand- these horses should be seen by a vet or at least you should be consulting with one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you for all your concern. I am happy to report that my horses are both doing very well, and have been eating, pooping, and doing all the things good healthy horses should do :). I didn't intend to create such a debate, and didn't want anybody to get offended. I think it is important to note that if a horse is seen or is suspected of having anything come back out the wrong end, being vomit or regurgitation, they should be monitored and a vet should most possibly be consulted. Thank you all for your replys!
 

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If I am not mistaken, feed coming out of the mouth and nose of the horse are signs of choke. In many cases the food block will pass on its own (with help from the horse through coughing and why there is regurgitated food on the horses nose and mouth). But it still might be necessary to get a vet out in case all the food particles have not passed. In this case, it can lead to aspiration and perhaps a lung infection.
Also, to address the "vomiting" topic. A horse can NOT vomit. Due to the steep angle at which the esophagus enters the stomach as well as muscle movement, vomiting is impossible. The only time one will see true vomiting is when a horses stomach ruptures and pressure forces digestive material back up the esophagus. It is possible, however, for food that has not yet left the esophagus to be regurgitated.

 
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