Last Monday, after she had gotten settled into her stall for the evening, Belle gave the PM volunteers a scare. She suddenly became lethargic and had a large amount of discharge coming from her mouth and nostrils. It appeared as though she was experiencing an episode of choke.

Choke in horses is different than when people choke. Rather than their airway getting blocked and being unable to breathe, something (usually feed) gets stuck in their esophagus and they are unable to eat or drink. They are not in immediate danger, but if left too long they can rapidly become dehydrated. Dr. Lewis from Rainland was the vet on call that evening and she came out to examine her.

When Dr. Lewis arrived, she assessed Belle and verified that we were looking at a choke situation. Dr. Lewis sedated her to relax her esophagus and then passed a nasogastric tube up her nostril to help break up the feed blockage in her throat.

Belle will be on antibiotics for a few days to ward off any aspiration pneumonia caused by the choke, and going forward we will be making her mashes extra soupy to help her get her food down more efficiently. She recovered uneventfully and is now back to her normal, cheerful self.