Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Burping or Belching

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

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

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

  • If the horse has no appetite and is obviously depressed.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp>101F/38.3C), or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.
  • If you notice signs of colic, along with this sign.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

    It is often said that a horse cannot vomit or belch. In most cases, this is true. Occasionally, however, you may hear a horse belch.

    It usually occurs after a nasogastric tube has been passed by a vet, temporarily opening up the tight valve between the esophagus and stomach. In horses with obstruction of the outflow of the stomach, sometimes there is sufficient pressure in the stomach to force air out through the esophagus.

    WHAT TO DO

    If you hear a horse burp once, take note of it. If you hear it more than once, carefully assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and look for any other abnormalities or signs of illness. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

    WHAT YOUR VET DOES

    Your vet assesses the general health of the horse, paying particular attention to conditions that cause colic.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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