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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning, I tried searching for threads about this issue, but didn't see any. Sorry if I overlooked them.

So, to make a long story short, I recently started feeding new round bales to my horses. Apparently it has foxtail seeds in it. I noticed one of the mares was drooling and her lips looked bloody.

The vet came out this morning, sedated her and flushed her mouth with water. Then the vet looked at her mouth and showed me the seeds in her lips and gums. They said there is nothing else to be done, except stop feeding that hay and wait for the seeds to come out.

I asked, but the vet said no there is nothing else that can be done. Nothing to treat the sores, and no way to help remove the seeds. This doesn't sound correct to me. Is this true? There's nothing else that can be done to help her heal?

And I am sure if she has it so bad, the other three probably have it to some degree as well. I am currently removing the round bale and for the moment getting some square to feed. Any further advice on how to treat it?
 

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Yep. That's true. If the foxtails are harming your horses, you need to stop feeding it and get other hay. Aside from flushing her mouth and removing the seeds, there's not much you can do other than wait for her to heal. If she struggles to eat, soaking her feed and/or feeding soaked hay cubes may make it easier for her to eat and help insure she gets water into her system.

Watch your horses for signs of colic over the next few days, too. Sometimes foxtails can embed in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines as well as the lips and mouth.

Foxtail-free hay is essential for horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I am definitely getting rid of the round bales I have left, and looking for other options for round bales. For the time being I am feeding square. And trying to figure how to remove the partially eaten round bale from the other pasture.

My main question was is there really nothing else to do for her/them besides just removing the bad hay? No mouth rinse/wash I can use? No way to remove the seeds that are there?

The vet I had out did rinse her mouth with water, and did remove some, but it seemed like there were still some left. And it seems like a saline rinse, or something like Listerine, would help heal the lips/ gums? I just don't feel like I'm doing enough....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just a little more clarification. My usual hay supplier is out of rounds, and I bought 4 from a new supplier. I didn't actually pick them up, my neighbor who has a tractor, trailer, etc picked them up. So I didn't get a chance to look at them prior to purchase.

Looking at them once he unloaded them, they looked green and smelled good. I didn't notice the foxtail on the outer layer. Digging through the open round bale, I can definitely find them tho. So yes, that hay is leaving. I will be feeding square for now, gotten from my old supplier, until I can possibly locate better rounds.
 

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They are barbed so removing could add additional insult. Salt water is a good rinse. There are commercial products if you feel the need but plain salt water is often what is recommended by vets here.
 

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Everyone else is on the money - I'd suggest not to rinse anything if your vet says not to. They're the ones who went to school for years, not us ;)

I'd like to add, though, I would highly suggest trying to get your money back. It may be the yank in me but I'd be fighting that person for my money back for the bad hay as well as vet bills, if they advertised it for use for livestock.
Just after a quick google foxtail does the same thing in cows it does to horses, so it's a danger to other livestock owners in your area.
Food for thought.
 

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They are barbed so removing could add additional insult. Salt water is a good rinse. There are commercial products if you feel the need but plain salt water is often what is recommended by vets here.
Yes. You could buy a turkey baster in the kitchen department at Walmart and use that to squirt tepid salt water into the mouth:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Everyone else is on the money - I'd suggest not to rinse anything if your vet says not to. They're the ones who went to school for years, not us 😉

I'd like to add, though, I would highly suggest trying to get your money back. It may be the yank in me but I'd be fighting that person for my money back for the bad hay as well as vet bills, if they advertised it for use for livestock.
Just after a quick google foxtail does the same thing in cows it does to horses, so it's a danger to other livestock owners in your area.
Food for thought.
Vet said other than rinsing with water, and removing the ones visible, there was nothing else they could do. Although they seemed a little unsure about how to handle it themselves. That's why I was asking for any info from someone who has perhaps dealt with it before.

I was thinking saline solution would be gentle enough, but also help draw out the seeds and dry out the wounds. Constant drooling and wetness can't be good for healing.

As to getting the money back....my neighbor is actually the one who bought it, he actually bought a whole trailer load. 11 or so round bales. I bought 4 from him.

I let my neighbor know what's up with the round bales. He is being reasonable, taking the 2 rounds I have left back and getting me some square bales. It would be up to him if he wanted to pursue trying to get his money back from the person he bought them from. But I agree, they will cause any livestock problems.

Hopefully my neighbor will not sell the ones he has to anyone else, or hurt his horses using them. But that's up to him, I told him what's wrong with the hay. I can't control what he does.

As for vet bills, I'm out of luck there... I don't feel right asking my neighbor to cover it, I found the hay for sale, even though he went and looked at it and bought it himself. And I never dealt with the guy who he bought it from, so....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They are barbed so removing could add additional insult. Salt water is a good rinse. There are commercial products if you feel the need but plain salt water is often what is recommended by vets here.
Yes. You could buy a turkey baster in the kitchen department at Walmart and use that to squirt tepid salt water into the mouth:)
Yes, thank you for the idea. I was thinking salt water would be a good rinse, mild but still helpful to the healing process.

I've read different schools of thought. One says leave them be, remove the hay or wherever they are getting access to the seeds, and it will clear up on its own.

The other says that leaving them can cause more damage, bigger wounds, and the best course of action is to remove as many as possible, and use a saline solution to rinse the mouth every 8-10 hours until healed.

The second makes sense to me but I don't claim to have vet training, so idk...
 

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Unless you can clearly see one and the horse is co-operative, I would leave them alone, in terms of removal, hold my breath and hope they fester then come out on their own. That’s what your vet wants.

I had one horse get one seed inside his lower lip. It came out and healed with no help from me. I did not use salt water but it was only one.

Had he had more than one seed, I would have got the turkey baster out — which is also good for washing mouths if a horse has to have a tooth removed. I learned that from a vet when a senior horse needed a tooth pulled years ago:)

Keep an eye on them while you’re basting with salt water:). If the redness around the seed expands, infection may be setting in and the vet may have to re-examine go to whatever Plan B is:)

Ditto others to see if you can take that hay back and your money refunded:)

What part of Tennessee? I hope you were not affected by the tornados on Tuesday. That was a complete nightmare from Benton County to Putnam County:(
 

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If they are close to the surface you can make a small slice and open it up along the line it entered and pick it out but if embedded deep then it is like pulling a fish hook back the way it came it. Better to let it fester or work it's way. The barbs are tiny and cover the tip. In the mouth unless it was in the lip and the horse extremely tolerant and I just won't go there with a sharp instrument. The only time I have been told they will surgically remove is in small animals where they are in danger of them penetrating an organ. I've never known a vet to do that. They give antibiotics and you hope the body encapsulates, they degrade or they work their way through. It can be ugly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Unless you can clearly see one and the horse is co-operative, I would leave them alone,


Keep an eye on them while you’re basting with salt water:). If the redness around the seed expands, infection may be setting in and the vet may have to re-examine go to whatever Plan B is:)

What part of Tennessee? I hope you were not affected by the tornados on Tuesday.(
Thank you for your advice. If it were only a couple seeds I wouldn't worry so much, but it's all around her muzzle and gums, on her tounge as well. And the other 3 have it as well, just not as bad.

I will be looking for a second opinion, if I can find another vet that would be able to make a farm call.

I live about an hour or so south of Nashville. Luckily we were not affected by the tornados, but the rain has turned most everything into mud.
 

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Oh boy:(. Sounds like that hay is full of Foxtail:(. Whomever cut that has no regard for the livestock that’s going to eat it:(


I sent you a PM, including a nearby hay recommendation. The hay isn’t cheap but in this area, I learned the hard way, you get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The hay I usually buy is $50-60 for a round. It's net wrapped, good quality horse hay. However, they are out for the year until the first cutting this summer.

This hay I found was the same price, also net wrapped. Advertised as high quality hay, barn kept, etc. I still have a screenshot of the ad. However, since I didn't buy it myself but the neighbor did idk what my options are.

I've got another vet coming out to see them today. Hopefully this one will be more help. Thanks again for your advice.
 
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