Monday, January 9, 2012

Something's up with Gwen

Gwen gave me a scare last night. I was almost through my nightly feeding routine: the Quarters had eaten their feed and supplements, I'd take a bale of hay out to the feeders, and I was busy filling the slow feed bags to hang in the run-in.Normally by the time I'm half done filling the bags, my horses come over and start grazing a bit on the hay I've got out. It keeps them occupied until I can get the bags hung and then I escort them back into the pasture.

Well last night, Gwen wandered over and started eating. I was bent over a bag, stuffing in hay, when suddenly flakes of hay started flying around me. Then a bale flew by! What the heck?

There was Gwen, madly pawing into the hay and flinging it behind her like a wake, looking TICKED OFF! I rushed over to her to see what was wrong and she opened her mouth and half chewed hay fell out. She reached down for another mouthful, and then angrily spit it back out. At that point, I freaked out a little- the only time I've seen that was with a 38 year old pony with no teeth. I was thinking, "OMG, my mare lost her teeth!"

Have I mentioned I'm dramatic?

I got her halter on and took her into the pasture so I could examine her head. There was no swelling, no heat on the outside. I reached inside her lips to feel her front teeth (she wasn't too keen on that) and they were all fine and I didn't see any evidence of blood. I reached in over her bars and felt the tongue and that was alright. At this point, I took her halter off and hung up one of the hay bags to see what she'd do. Of course she commenced eating normally, looking at me quizzically every once in a while as I hovered over her for the next ten minutes making sure she was okay. Apparently a big mouthful of hay was a problem, little bites from the slow feeder bag were okay. (Same bale of hay, btw, I did initially think that something could have been off with that bale.)

The only thing I could think was that she could have a sore inside her mouth that made big mouthfuls uncomfortable. I called my vet just in case and she agreed with me, saying to just keep an eye on her. Gwen was okay this morning but she'll be getting the raptor treatment for the next few days- I'll be watching her like a hawk.

Horses, the world experts on making your heart jump into your throat...


  1. Wow. I'm dramatic, too. Very. Could she have choked and then got it down?

  2. It's possible. Though she didn't cough at all and she didn't have any snot coming out of her nose (I asked the vet about that and was told that was a symptom of choke).

  3. Could have been an insect sting/bite, although the time of year makes it less likely.

  4. She might have taken too big a bite and couldn't handle it. Could have had a stick or hard piece that poked her. Could have been playing with it. Could have been any number of things just to make you crazy. I'm sure she'll be fine whatever it was. And dramatic is fine, I do it all the time.

  5. Kate, it could have been a bite. As in she could have bit herself, I do it all the time. It was about 30F here yesterday so insects are out.

    GHM- yep, it could have been any one of those. And it did make me crazy.

    She was so funny when I was standing there watching her eat though. Like, "what's up with you, human?"

  6. The British Horse Society just published the results of research into the health benefits of having horses - exercise, being out in the fresh air, the feel good factor of companionship etc - but nobody's ever done research into the health risks associated with having horses (we won't mention serious physical damage as a result of falls or being trampled): elevated blood pressure, anxiety attacks and heart-in-throat syndrome.
    Yesterday morning I found Cassie grinding her teeth like mad after breakfast. Like you, I had my hand in her mouth checking teeth, tongue, inside cheeks until she nearly gagged. Nothing! Probably a case of greedy gullet...

  7. I have no idea, but I'm glad she's doing better now! I think they make up things to do to us so they can see our reaction...

  8. twohorses- the first half of your comment made me LOL! I'm glad Cassie was fine, these mares should do know how to shake us!

    in2paints- sometimes I think you're right about that one.

    Fortunately she seemed completely normal tonight, I parked in front of loose hay just to make sure. No mad pawing, no dropped hay, mare back to normal :)

  9. That is really weird. Whatever happened, she was mad at that hay!

  10. Well, I am glad she seems ok!

    My mare will often fling her slow feed bag around, upside down, and then it somehow gets unhooked and ends up on the ground. I think her problem is that she cannot get the hay fast enough for her. When I first got the slow feed bag, she refused to eat from it. At first I thought she was sick, I was checking her teeth, listening to her gut, and just being so worried! Turns out she went on a hunger strike to show she was not happy with the bag! And this is from a Haflinger!

    Oh mares. . .they love keeping us on our toes!

  11. Strange, but absolutely deserving of dramatic response. :-) I'm with in2paints....I am sure that Gwen and Coriander had a chuckle after you left.

  12. I wonder if there was a sticker in that giant mouthful of hay? Or a stick, like GHM said...

  13. Val- I don't think I've ever seen her that mad!

    Allison- that's an opinionated haffie you've got!

    Wolfie- absolutely, a problem eating is HUGE in my book.

    Funder, it's possible. I've been finding burdocks in some of these bales, so something sticking her in the mouth wouldn't have been out of the question.