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Discussion on Horse has hiccups for second time today

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cp
Member
Username: cpacer

Post Number: 475
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO, my almost 3-yo has hiccups for the second time today. He was not worked and is not even rideable yet so I'm not sure if thumps, or at least lack of electrolytes & calcium could apply to him, could it?

He was hiccuping about 3 hours ago for 30-40 minutes. I called my vet to see if there was anything to worry about and she said that horses rarely get hiccups and to monitor him.

Now he has them again and I was brushing him when they started. They started off every couple seconds then spread out more--it's been about 20 minutes now.

He's eating and passing, but I often wonder if he drinks enough water. Could lack of water cause it?

He's acting normal, but it's definitely hiccups. What should I do for him?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1961
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 - 7:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi CP Hank use to get hiccups quite often when he was young. It concerned me at first and I asked the vet about it also. I researched it a bit and like you came up with thumps, which I was fairly certain it wasn't. Seems they lessened when he was around 4-5 yo. He still gets them occasionally.

Where I use to work they had a "hiccupy" horse also.

So hopefully in your case it is the same. It didn't seem to bother them. Hank and this other horse turned out to be rather high octane under saddle...I hope it isn't an omen
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cp
Member
Username: cpacer

Post Number: 478
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 - 8:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, my boy with the hiccups is named Hank too, so let's really hope not! He'll be 3 in May, and in the year and a half I've had him he's never had hiccups (to my knowledge) so thought it was strange he'd get them twice in one day.

He only drank a tiny bit of water after his meal this evening, and usually doesn't drink much during the night while he's in his stall. I can't tell what he drinks from the trough during the day although he's certainly peeing in his stall fine.

I went and borrowed some electrolytes from my neighbor and will put them in his bedtime snack just in case that could be what it is.

I'm sure it's nothing -- much worse is being dealt with out there, but of course I just want to be sure.

The first person I asked about horse hiccups thought that maybe his breathing and his heart beat were temporarily out of sync, which sounded possible to me???
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 606
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 - 9:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

With true "thumps," in my experience, the horse's dehydration has been evident by demeanor and confirmed by the pinch test where what is pinched stands up rather than dropping back down normally. Actual "thumps" is a situation that is extremely stressful and threatening for a horse. It seems to me that sometimes horses CAN hiccup without it being thumps though much that is written does not say that.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 20340
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 - 6:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There is a way to differentiate hiccups and thumps (hiccups do to electrolyte problems). It requires that you be able to get a good pulse and then see if the hiccups correspond to the beat of the heart. If it does it is thumps. The only time I have ever seen thumps it is in association with exercise stress.

I suspect cp if the horse has free access to potable water that dehydration is not likely to develop.
DrO
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cp
Member
Username: cpacer

Post Number: 479
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 - 7:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks DrO. Do you think it abnormal that he didn't drink all night or even after his breakfast this morning? The water was fresh, and he eats hay during the night.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 20345
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 - 3:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Not really cp, he may have downed a bunch of water just before you observed him and right after you quit observing him. I get this as a common worry with which in time there is no basis. Just you as a distraction may make drinking behavior less likely. On the other hand that is no assurance that there is nothing wrong and the observation would make me double check the water for anything odd. Taking vital signs as described in Diseases of Horses » First Aid » Taking Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration and monitoring stool production will further help you decide if there are any problems or not.
DrO
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Suzanne Reed
Member
Username: sureed

Post Number: 94
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 - 7:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

CP,

Just a story to tell you that may not be relevant. My TB Alex got hiccups when I was in a natural horse training clinic with him. I poked him with the "carrot stick" (as instructed)to get him to back away from me and it must have startled him because he got the hiccups. I don't know whether he took a gulp of air or what but it scared me to death. Anyway, the hiccups subsided after about half an hour and never recurred. Does your guy startle easily? Just a thought.

Suzanne
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