Choke is the common name for an obstruction of the oesophagus of a horse.
A horse or pony with choke will be in an acutely distressed state, coughing, spluttering and struggling to breathe and swallow properly.
One of the key features of equine choke is the appearance of food materials at the horse's nostrils. This is beacause the arrangement of the palate prevents food that is regurgitated from re-entering the horse or pony's mouth.
A prolonged episode of choke can cause scar tissue in the oesophagus and pneumoniacan occur as a result of fluid or feed getting into the lungs during an attack.
Although the muscles in a horse's gullet are strong, their strength is not limitless.
A greedy pony or horse may get Choke when he gulps down a large mouthful of dry hay, sugar beet, pony nuts, carrots or other dry and absorbent food.
The waves of contraction in the muscular wall of the horses's oesophagus may only succeed in carrying the food down part way.
The contractions may run out of steam somewhere in the lower neck or chest of the horse.
Another swallow will simply pile up more of the food at the site of the blockage.
Once the process has been clogged up the jammed mass of food material will soak up the lubricating secretions from the lining of the horse's oesophagus. Then the gullet will become dry and thoroughly impacted.
If the attack of choke is not cleared by the initial bout of of coughing and heaving the horse will move into a quieter phase of choke in which the reflex stimulation to cough is lost
The horse or pony will become depressed and stand about with food debris and saliva coming out of his nostrils each time that he swallows.
Homeopathic remedies for Ringbone | Advice about using a lungeing cavesson | Horse and Hound - Choke