My horse spits out part of his food in these slimy hay balls. What is that?
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a horse will be uncomfortable or painful when eating. As a result, he might start to collect these (usually little) wads of hay in his mouth. You may find them around his feed area, you may see one come out when you remove his bit, you may notice that his pellets or grains are dropped all over the place. The problem with quidding is layered - what’s the cause, eating causes pain, quidding can lead to choke.
Look at what your horse leaves behind. This is where you might find the results of quidding!
This is called quidding - and it’s definitely a sign that something is going wrong in your horse’s mouth and/or body. There are many culprits, which will take some investigating alongside your Veterinarian. Possible reasons for quidding are:
- Bad chompers! A horse with a hook or chip or rough edge have trouble eating. It could be from sores caused by these tooth problems, or it could be that the teeth are not lining up at all.
Bad chompers (like this huge hook) make chewing properly next to impossible. Not to mention painful.
- A fractured tooth. The ailing tooth may not feel or look out of alignment, but it’s pretty much broken and causing problems!
- An abscessed tooth. Talk about ouch. When a tooth becomes infected, your horse will have pain, and often a horrible smell in his mouth. Most abscessed teeth are removed.
- Neurological diseases, such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) can result in neurological signs and paralysis that cause quidding. For more on EEE and other mosquito diseases, read this.
- Arthritis can often play a part in how comfortably your horse eats. Horses get TMJ issues, just like humans!
- Is there a foreign object lodged in your horse’s mouth? Wouldn’t surprise many Vets to find a stick or something wedged in your horse’s mouth.
- Is there some sort of injury to your horse’s face or jaw? A puncture, swelling from an insect bite, a fracture, a kick, a bruise? All things for the Vet to investigate.
Some are large, some are small.
Finding the reason why your horse quids is the first step to getting him pain free and back to normal. It might be the case where you are soaking his forage and grain meals with plenty of water until his underlying issue is resolved. It might also be the case that soaking his forage and grain meals continues well after the issue is resolved.
Don’t overlook forage options such as cubes, pellets, and chopped hay to help your horse have shorter pieces of forage to chew.
Take quidding seriously and help your horse have a comfortable time eating. It is his favorite thing to do, after all!