Horses, like other animals, have been known to eat things they shouldn’t. Why, for example, would a horse eat a plastic bag? No one knows for sure, though maybe the horse didn’t see it, thought it was food, etc. However, if the horse has eaten a plastic bag it can cause some medical issues for the horse.
Plastic Bags are Dangerous for Horses
A horse may swallow a plastic bag, which pass through their digestive system without any problem. However, plastic bags are extremely dangerous to horses because they can cause suffocation, or even lead to an intestinal blockage.
Many people don’t realize that this is a common problem for ranchers, farmers, and others who keep horses.
Intestinal Blockages in Horses
This is a very common problem in horses and can occur in any part of their digestive tract. A plastic bag, for instance, can lead to an intestinal blockage. This means the bag causes the food to stop moving through the intestines and could even stop blood flow in the area. A plastic bag, or other foreign object, can even damage the intestinal tissues within the horse’s digestive tract.
Blockage of the intestines can be caused by foreign objects but are also caused by feeds, parasites, dental problems, inflammation of the intestines, and more. In addition, the condition can lead to gas and fluid building up in the stomach and intestines, causing a condition called colic.
Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in a Horse
The most common symptoms of an intestinal blockage include:
- Painful abdomen
- Kicking or leg raising
- Swollen stomach
- Rolling around in discomfort
- Lying down
If you know for sure that your horse has swallowed a plastic bag, then try to check his mouth and throat to see if you can safely remove the bag. If the bag has been swallowed, then you’ll need to call the vet immediately. This could be a life-threatening medical emergency.
Treatment of Intestinal Blockage in a Horse
The vet will conduct a physical exam of your horse and may also order some lab tests. If your horse has recently swallowed the bag, the vet may use a nasogastric stomach tube to treat your horsy fur baby with mineral oil. This may help to get the digestive tract moving again. However, it is possible your horse may need surgery to remove the bag.
In most cases, horses that receive prompt medical care will make a complete recovery. Recover may take a few weeks or months.