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GENERAL CULTURE: Esophageal obstruction

26 April 2022

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This term defines an obstruction of the esophagus due to an accumulation of food: the food does not descend into the stomach, becomes blocked and forms a plug.

The horse's esophagus bringing food and water from the mouth to the stomach is long, very long: between 1m25 and 1m50! Once down the entire neck, at the entrance to the thorax, the esophagus loses width, so food passes through it more slowly. In the majority of cases, the plug forms here.
It is necessary to differentiate the esophagus, to eat and drink, from the trachea to breathe. In the case of an esophageal plug, the horse does not choke and breathes normally!

A few minutes after the meal, you can observe these symptoms:
– extension of the neckline / cough
– difficulty swallowing
– regurgitation efforts
– hypersalivation / teeth grinding
– sweating
– food nasal spray

An esophageal plug is not to be underestimated since it can lead to serious dehydration, inflammation of the esophagus, ulcers, bronchopneumonia, among others.
To soothe your horse, adopt these simple gestures:
– walk the horse
– massage the neckline
– administer antispasmodics if possible
It is also often necessary to review the feed given to the horse, bringing more fibre, soaking the rations, splitting the meals, distributing the feed at ground level, adding a stone in the ration to slow down the meal of greedy horses and increase their chewing.
The cork is resolved if the horse is able to eat and drink again within a few minutes.

Beyond 30 minutes, we advise you to contact a veterinarian so that he can accompany you as well as possible. A plug can also be caused by diseases, tumors, cysts, abscesses.

And don't forget to have your horse's teeth checked every 6/12 months!
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