IF YOU SEE THESE SIGNS, CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY
• Foul-smelling discharge could indicate an infection of some kind, maybe in a tooth or sinus. You may notice swelling on one side of his face. Thin, gray, frothy mucus, which may also be foul-smelling, is likely to indicate an infection of the guttural pouches, the two sacs connected to the eustachian tubes between the horse’s ears and throat.
• Bright-red blood that flows readily and without slowing or stopping within a half-hour could indicate injury within the nasal passages.
• Dark blood draining from the nose has probably been accumulating somewhere in the horse’s head, such as the sinuses or guttural pouches. If dark blood gushes when he lowers his head, the problem may lie in the respiratory tract.
• Thick, yellow, pusfilled mucus may result from a bacterial or viral infection or strangles. In either case, the horse will also have a fever, cough and other signs of illness. In the case of strangles, you may find painful swellings under the jaw and around the throat, and the horse may stand with his head lowered.
• Saliva and chewed food emerging from the nose and/or the mouth are signs of choke, a blockage in the esophagus that is preventing what the horse swallows from reaching his stomach. A horse with choke is also likely to be coughing and gagging, and he may panic as he attempts to clear the blockage. Immediately remove all food and water until a veterinarian arrives.