What to do
The blockage often passes of its own accord with no intervention as the horses’ constant production of saliva softens the material that is stuck. In refractory cases we usually administer muscle relaxants and sedatives to try to relax any spasm of the oesophagus around the blockage. In stubborn cases we can also place a tube up through the nose and down into the oesophagus to flush the material away with water.
Once the obstruction has passed the horse will be instantly much brighter. It is now safe to return water to the stable but only introduce food once the animal is drinking normally.