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Discussion Starter #1
I've read a fair bit on this topic, and also dealt with it previously in a young foal many many years ago. It never happened again with that youngster and now I am in a similar situation but it's recurring and I had the vet out last night as it was quite bad. This happened at 4.30pm.

He was on another emergency call so I had to wait for him to get to me which was at 5.50/6.00pm, I massaged her poll to keep her head low and gently stroked the sides of her neck, by then she had cleared most of it as she tried to eat a bit of hay that was left, I pulled that out (I cleared all the hay out but a few strands were left) you could still see a bit of a lump up just at the top of her throat. He gave her a shot of sedative and that was that. I went back up to check on her at 11pm and she seemed fine, followed me down the field to see if there was anything for her to eat!

I would appreciate any hints or tips anyone can offer as I really don't want this to happen again and I know that when they take it once they generally take it again.

shes approx 2 and a half years old, shes a connemara x. (She's due to have her teeth checked at the end of this month).

She took a mild choke on two occasions over the last 4 months because she rushed her food. I placed a large mineral block in her feed which seemed to help and cut out the safe and sound. I always put my hay in first before they get any hard feed. Even though I do this she will barge through my donkey and try to eat his as well!

I recently once again started adding a small quantity of D&H safe and sound with her spillers hi fi.

I'm grasping at straws here but it seems every time I add the safe and sound to her feed she seems to develop choke. So I am removing that completely and will be thoroughly soaking the hi fi from now on to a nice slurry.

I will be waiting on tenderhooks now just in case she aspirated anything; although the vet did check her I still worry.

He's coming back out in a fortnight anyway to check a blocked eyeduct but still any suggestions/insights would be brilliant. Has anyone else fed chaff-type feeds and had the same problem?

Thanks
 

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how often does she get her teeth checked ? young horses should have their teeth checked out every six months.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I haven't had her long, so I haven't had them checked yet.
The equine dentist I use is pretty busy hence I am having to wait a little while longer, but she is good and I've used her before.
The vet did take a brief look at them and didn't remark so felt it would be ok to wait until I got the dentist I wanted. If I can get a cancellation or something sooner I will.
 

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Try feeding her Safe Choice and always wet it, form almost a mash.
Also break up the mineral block into smaller pieces, biggrr then bit size.
They even sell a special feed bucket for horses that eat really fast, I will see if I can find the link.
Also, soak her hay in water. Get one of those tubs they sell that's about knee high with the rope handles on both sides. Let the hay soak for a good 30 minutes before you feed it to her. I would never allow this horse to have dry hay ever again, and I would wet her food year round.
It is going to take work to keep this up but if its not a teeth issue then it is something you are going to need to do for the rest of her life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will look into changing her to safe choice although I only feed in the winter time, she's a native so should be a good dooer. She is out on pasture 24/7 and I'll be cutting down on her hard feed pretty soon anyway till she's on none.

She doesn't rush her hay which is good and it's definitely not the hay that seems to be the problem, it only happens when she gets her bucket. I am not sure if I could get away without any hard feed at all with her during the winter. I do rug her and can very happily give her as much hay as I want as it's not that expensive rather than hard feed. But as she's growing I am not sure if that would be good for her in the long run.

I am going to contact the dentist again and see if I can hurry her along a bit in the hopes it is just her teeth.. I would rather it was something simple like that than anything else.

I will break the mineral block up too, she gets a bit frustrated with it lol.

Either way I'll do whatever needs done to keep her happy and healthy! thank you so much for your responses :)
 

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Your welcome, I still think you should try what I have suggested.
You may.not think it is they hay, but it could very well be causing it.
Good luck and keep us posted :)
 

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Definitely getting her teeth checked is the first thing to do. She may be choking on a "cud" of hay because she has difficulty chewing it thoroughly.

However, based on what you've said above I suspect she *really* likes getting the hard feed in the winter time and tends to bolt it in excitement.

That's great that she's on grass half the year and you only have to deal with this when feeding concentrates in the winter.

I will leave specific feed recommendations to other posters, but there are lots of other things you can do to deal with a food bolter.

Wetting the feed is an easy one, feeding small quanitities throughout the day rather than one big feed is another but may be impossible for you. Tack shops and catalogs here in the US sell a feeder with a wire ring installed around the inside; it keeps the horse from opening its mouth all the way when their head is in the feeder so they have to take small bites. A really low tech method to acheive the same goal is to put rocks or blocks of wood in the feeder so she has to eat around them, again, forcing small bites. A narrow, deep bucket rather than the traditional flat feeder helps as well.

If it's feasible for you with your schedule, I would leave her in her stall with her hay for a period of time before feeding her the concentrates as well. 20 - 45 minutes with her hay *may* blunt her urge to bolt her feed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Definitely getting her teeth checked is the first thing to do. She may be choking on a "cud" of hay because she has difficulty chewing it thoroughly.

However, based on what you've said above I suspect she *really* likes getting the hard feed in the winter time and tends to bolt it in excitement.

That's great that she's on grass half the year and you only have to deal with this when feeding concentrates in the winter.

I will leave specific feed recommendations to other posters, but there are lots of other things you can do to deal with a food bolter.

Wetting the feed is an easy one, feeding small quanitities throughout the day rather than one big feed is another but may be impossible for you. Tack shops and catalogs here in the US sell a feeder with a wire ring installed around the inside; it keeps the horse from opening its mouth all the way when their head is in the feeder so they have to take small bites. A really low tech method to acheive the same goal is to put rocks or blocks of wood in the feeder so she has to eat around them, again, forcing small bites. A narrow, deep bucket rather than the traditional flat feeder helps as well.

If it's feasible for you with your schedule, I would leave her in her stall with her hay for a period of time before feeding her the concentrates as well. 20 - 45 minutes with her hay *may* blunt her urge to bolt her feed.
Ahh sorry think I maybe wrote that in a confusing way, she's out all year round. Theres a shelter in the field which they can go in and out of as there are 4 donkeys in the field with her, and lots of high hedges and a few trees that she can shelter under as well as a semi-circle of brush with trees behind it if she doesn't want to go inside.

The main reason I am not suspecting the hay is because she was getting hay alone for the first month or so that I had her and I only started the hard feed because the weather changed. And it was only when the hard feed was introduced that the problem began.

I am not a huge fan of feeding it but like to give a little throughout the bad weather. This is adjusted in quantity according to whether there is snow/ice or Rain/cold so it's really just a token amount not more than a couple of handfulls at any one time (max is half a scoop). I put about half a bale of hay in, in the evenings and they get a couple of slices in the am. If the weather is worse then I up the hay rather than the concentrates unless it's really cold or I feel one of them is losing weight.
 

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No, the confusion was in the way I responded. I understood you perfectly - she's out 24/7 with access to shelter year round, but you supplement her grazaing with concentrates in the winter months.

So you only have to deal with the choke problem in winter, when feeding concentrates is what I should have said.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Joe I appreciate your input :), I am trying to stay away from course mixes as they have a really high sugar content and the pony is barefoot. I'd prefer to keep her that way as she has really good feet naturally. I've not been able to find any mix that isn't high in sugar or has molasses in it even though in the past I've preferred to feed it.

I'm looking into safe choice which was mentioned earlier although I am tempted to stop feeding her any cubes/chaff of any kind now until next winter and just upping her hay. I don't mind soaking it prior to using it and I'll be doing that with her hi fi cubes from now on.

She seemed fine earlier when I just gave her a little hay to nibble on and I stayed with her until she'd finished. I am going to get on the phone first thing in the morning and do what I can to get the equine dentist out asap even if I have to bribe her! lol
 

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My gelding was 'diagnosed' with chronic, recurring choke by my vet. He's choked on me so many times that I no longer panic (and that's pretty bad...)...

I was told to start simply wetting the feed until it's a soup-like, then feeding... which I do a lot of the time. However, I've also found that if the feed is pellets, and very crumbly/soft, then he doesn't choke... but if the pellets are hard or if it's not in pelleted form, then he chokes.

I've found that alfalfa pellets work well with my boy, though I sometimes soak them just to be on the safe side, as they can be fairly hard... and all stock pellets are softer and easier to 'dissolve'...
 
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My gelding was 'diagnosed' with chronic, recurring choke by my vet. He's choked on me so many times that I no longer panic (and that's pretty bad...)...

I was told to start simply wetting the feed until it's a soup-like, then feeding... which I do a lot of the time. However, I've also found that if the feed is pellets, and very crumbly/soft, then he doesn't choke... but if the pellets are hard or if it's not in pelleted form, then he chokes.

I've found that alfalfa pellets work well with my boy, though I sometimes soak them just to be on the safe side, as they can be fairly hard... and all stock pellets are softer and easier to 'dissolve'...
Do you call the vet out every time? I didn't the first couple of times because she literally dislodged it in seconds, it's likely that most people would not even have noticed or thought they were just swallowing hard...
this time though I'd say it was a mild/medium type choke and she did have discharge from nose and obviously mouth. I'm really fussy about watching them when they eat and always stay with them, even though the first time I'd experienced choke was over 15 years ago. I can still play the video of that in my head!

so many different feeds to choose from.. I really do prefer a course mix but am avoiding them due to the sugar/molasses. So now it's a toss up between alfalfa and the safe choice. But am trying to hold off until I get time to get a really good look at the ingredients and speak to the equine dentist.

I guess I am still freaking out a bit emotionally. lol.. So it's really nice to speak to you guys and hear what you have to say. Trust me it's all being taken on board and I will make my decisions with those experiences in mind. :)
 

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Get a powdered supplement meant for pasture only horses. Use only enough of the textured feed to get the supplements down. Other than that grass and hay.
Seriously go back and read your own posts, this is what I get.

"my horse chokes on pelleted food"
"my horse doesnt choke when I dont give it pelleted food."
Dont give it pelleted food.
 

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Do you call the vet out every time? I didn't the first couple of times because she literally dislodged it in seconds, it's likely that most people would not even have noticed or thought they were just swallowing hard...
this time though I'd say it was a mild/medium type choke and she did have discharge from nose and obviously mouth. I'm really fussy about watching them when they eat and always stay with them, even though the first time I'd experienced choke was over 15 years ago. I can still play the video of that in my head!

so many different feeds to choose from.. I really do prefer a course mix but am avoiding them due to the sugar/molasses. So now it's a toss up between alfalfa and the safe choice. But am trying to hold off until I get time to get a really good look at the ingredients and speak to the equine dentist.

I guess I am still freaking out a bit emotionally. lol.. So it's really nice to speak to you guys and hear what you have to say. Trust me it's all being taken on board and I will make my decisions with those experiences in mind. :)

No, I don't call the vet out hardly at all for choke. I have spoken to him via phone several times about choke, and have had him out a few times, but I rarely get him out when Dakota chokes.

Last time the vet was out and heckd my boy over, he examined his throat and said that there was a bit of scar tissue from choke episodes, but that he wouldn't reccomend a sugical fix, because that could cause even more scar tissue, and as long as it is manageable by soaking feed or softer feeds, then he wouldn't bother with a surgical fix.

I, and the rest of the forum family, don't blame you for freaking out. We prolly all know exactly how scary choke can be!
 
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Get a powdered supplement meant for pasture only horses. Use only enough of the textured feed to get the supplements down. Other than that grass and hay.
Seriously go back and read your own posts, this is what I get.

"my horse chokes on pelleted food"
"my horse doesnt choke when I dont give it pelleted food."
Dont give it pelleted food.
Hi Joe, this is what I actually said; I'm grasping at straws here but it seems every time I add the safe and sound to her feed she seems to develop choke. So I am removing that completely and will be thoroughly soaking the hi fi from now on to a nice slurry.
I am not sure you understand what Safe and sound is, it's not pelleted food, it's a long chop chaff with a few scattered pellets in it. As you can see, I said she didn't choke on the hay or hi fi cubes when I fed those, it was only when I added the safe and sound.

Thanks I'll also check out a few powdered supplements :)
 

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No, I don't call the vet out hardly at all for choke. I have spoken to him via phone several times about choke, and have had him out a few times, but I rarely get him out when Dakota chokes.

Last time the vet was out and heckd my boy over, he examined his throat and said that there was a bit of scar tissue from choke episodes, but that he wouldn't reccomend a sugical fix, because that could cause even more scar tissue, and as long as it is manageable by soaking feed or softer feeds, then he wouldn't bother with a surgical fix.

I, and the rest of the forum family, don't blame you for freaking out. We prolly all know exactly how scary choke can be!
I think I am just worried as she is still a baby and I am wanting to give her the best start in life and now I feel like I've messed it up for her. I just pray she doesn't end up with any scarring and it will heal well.
I am happy to hear that your horse does well even with the scarring in his throat. That gives me a lot of hope for the future for this little lady.

Thank you for your support, it's very much appreciated. It's good to know that you have been/going through the same thing and gotten through it so well.

I am concerned I guess that the vet didn't give her any antibiotics or do the tubing as that seems to be the norm on most of the articles I read on choke.
He did listen to her chest, so maybe he thought she was fine.
So I will play the waiting game and if anything seems off at all with her, the vet will be making a swift return before he's due out in a fortnight.

Many many thanks to all who responded.
 

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update.

Dentist was out and pulled out 2 wolf teeth and 3 baby teeth. She's gummy at the front as her two front teeth are gone and not grown in yet. lol. (you can just see the buds of the new teeth)
She took off some hooks and floated them.

When I said about her choking she asked me immediately if I fed chaff and I said yes but not any more because of what happened and she said she's heard that so many times, so to feed a soft chaff in future if I am going to. She suggested mollichaff.

I am having the vet out in a fortnight about her blocked tear duct (he told me to leave this a couple of weeks to see if it cleared on it's own!) and am going to ask him about just giving her ad lib hay next year instead of any type of hard feed. She's a native breed being connemara so I think she may be okay to just feed hay to, if not I'll be checking out safe choice and asking the vet about it as well.

I've ordered two half bale slow feed hay nets as there are 4 other donkeys in the field so that she can only eat her hay very slowly and they won't have to fight over it (I usually just left out several piles spaced well apart), although she doesn't gobble that anyway. And will be placing them in large tractor tyres so she can nibble away.

She seems okay so far, no temp or snotty nose so fingers crossed she'll be just fine. :)

Thanks for all your support. I will mention supplements to the vet and see what he recommends and her feed will be soup till the spring!
 
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