Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Thumps or Hiccups, Jerking Movements of the Side

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

    “Thumps” are jerking or pulsing movements of the rear part of the rib cage that are said to look like hiccups. Thumping is abnormal, repetitive contraction of the diaphragm in rhythm with the heartbeat. It is a sign of overwork and electrolyte disturbance.

    This abnormal condition is usually seen in exhausted horses, and results from excessive loss of calcium, magnesium and potassium, in combination with dehydration and lowering of pH of the blood.

    WHAT TO DO

    Affected horses should be allowed to rest. They should be cooled out, watered and fed. If the signs do not promptly disappear, then veterinary involvement is recommended.

    WHAT YOUR VET DOES

    Your vet assess the signs of exhaustion and treats symptomatically. Blood analysis of hydration and electrolyte status informs the choice of therapies.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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