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April 25, 2008

Swollen Cheek

  2009 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

 

Hi Cherry,

Can you give advice sight unseen on a situation with my co-worker’s “pet” horse. She thinks it was bitten by a snake (unknown type) as the horse’s cheek is swollen, foam is coming from mouth and he has trouble chewing food. Other than call a vet is there any way she can treat this situation?

Thanks - Barby

 

 

Hi Barby,

Horse Health Care by Cherry HillYes, she should call the vet immediately.

It could be from a snake or skunk bite but the symptoms also could be connected with many other things such as a dental problem (such as a broken tooth, teeth need floating etc.), something like a stick or thick hay stem caught in the gums or even rabies.........so a veterinary exam and diagnosis is definitely needed.

In the meantime, if it were my horse, first I'd do a complete oral exam to see if there was a foreign object in the mouth. The foaming could be a response to something stuck in the gums or soft tissue - excess salivation and foaming could be the body's reaction to attempt to remove a foreign body.

I'd rinse the mouth with warm water. You can put a tablespoon of salt in a one gallon bucket of warm water and using a large syringe with the needle removed, you can flush out the mouth, aiming the stream of water at any areas that look like there is debris or inflammation. This would be similar to rinsing your own mouth out with warm salt water if you had sore or bleeding gums.

I'd get a "complete feed" wafer or pellet - which contains chopped hay - and feed that instead of hay. There are many brands of this all-in-one type horse feed available. Wet it ahead of time and let it soak so it become like a thick oatmeal - not soupy or sloppy - more like a "mash". That will be palatable and easier for the horse to eat until the problem is corrected by the veterinarian.

Let me know what the diagnosis is OK?

 

To read more about dental care, visit the Horse Information Roundup.

 

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