QUESTION: Two days ago I noticed my newly purchased 11 year old gelding had a light yellow sticky phlegm around the mouth. He seems to be trying to bring up the goo by moving his jaw side to side until it drizzles out of his lips. He has a bit of foam at the mouth as well and is low on energy. He seems to be eating, pooping properly. He does not seem to be tender at the mouth. His gums look fine. Today I noticed a little white / gray discharge from his eyes. I can not find anything about these symptoms in the home health care books....Can you suggests anything?

ANSWER: If no nasal discharge and/or cough that pretty must rules out most diseases such as Strangles (Distemper), Influenza, etc. The gook from the eyes is often from irritating flies at this time of year. If he is urinating/defecating fine and eating fine and not staggering or having muscle tremors or lethargic/depressed, then that rules out more diseases, etc.

So we are down to the usual reason for this. He desperately needs his teeth floated. The foam and yellow or green mucous (depends whether on hay or grass) around his mouth and the way he is moving his jaws points to bad teeth that must be taken care of so he can masticate his food properly.

The only other reason is "Choke", meaning this horse has a throat obstruction or something else wrong causing this. Choke can be deadly for a horse. Although his symptoms point towards only mild Choke, I would be worried about this.

So find a Vet who does horses teeth and get him looked after ASAP. At the same time, ask the Vet about "Choke" (Choking on food). Horses cannot vomit, that is why it is so serious.

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