Choke is a common term for esophageal obstruction. The esophagus is the tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. If a horse does not chew and soften their food properly, food can become lodged in this tube, causing a blockage. This disorder is called “choke”, as the horse can look as if they are choking. They can retch, cough, act colicky, even become violent with pain. Choke occurs more frequently in the winter as more horses get grain, and they may eat faster as they get very hungry. Choke can be avoided by feeding all grain, especially grain that has some pellets or is all pellets WET. Adding equal amounts of water at feeding time can also be helpful. Beet pulp and senior feeds are the most common feeds to cause choke. Soak well!!!!
If you suspect your horse might be choking, take all food away from him and call your veterinarian.