Air sucker?????

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  • caitc42 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    I have a 12yo QH gelding that after he’s done eating he will go grab onto anything and pull back like he’s sucking air. He will do it for a while several times a day. Doesn’t matter if its hay or grain. Could it be an ulcer problem??

    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 21

    How long have you owned him? Although pain or ulcers could cause a horse to be anxious, the usual symptoms are biting at his sides, irritability and/or colic.

    It sounds more like something called cribbing or windsucking. Cribbing can cause damage to teeth, stalls, colic, yet I did not know that it can start suddenly. Usually it is a becomes a chronic habit and is considered a stable vice.

    Talk to your vet and do more research. There are many theories why windsucking occurs, but being stalled, boredom and not enough forage and turnout are ones I have read about. Some say it can be caused also by mineral/dietary deficiencies so be sure he has access to free choice salt, a trace mineral block and the right amount of grain, if needed, for his body condition. If any of the above are possible factors, address them and see if he improves.

    Are you able to offer several hay feedings throughout the day and increase turnout? Horses who live out seem to crib less.

    If it is cribbing, the affected horse can become “addicted” to the feeling they get biting on the object and it can be difficult to stop. There are special devices called cribbing collars that are supposed to make it harder to windsuck, but I have no experience with them. Good luck!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Cribbing (which is what he is doing) is said to release pheromones (sp?), and horses get addicted to it. It is considered to be an undesirable habit, but I have known several cribbers, and none of them suffered health issues because of it. As Dano said, keeping him turned out as much as possible with free choice hay may minimize it, but I’ve never known one to quit entirely.

    It is never the horse's fault

    bluesmom bluesmom
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I have a AQHA gelding who at the age of 7 began windsucking after meals- it was ABSOLUTELY because of stomach discomfort. I had him scoped for ulcers, and sure enough he had them. The key is that he never did it until right after he ate- it was completely obvious that eating was causing discomfort, and sucking wind helped alleviate the pain. I have done a ton of research on the subject- studies are really supporting that many horses are not windsucking out of behavior issues but because it is giving them relief in the stomach. Unfortunately, it is an endorphin rush for them- so try to solve the stomach issues before it becomes a fun, feel good habit for them. Good luck!

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