Crib biting and Wind sucking in Horses.
Causes. A crib biter can generally be detected by the warn off appearance of the outer edges of the front teeth of the upper or lower jaw, or both, which is caused by the unusual wear due to the more or less constant grasping of the edges of the manger, or other hard substances, with these parts of the teeth.
Symptoms. In the act of "cribbing" the horse grasps an object with the teeth, fixes his head, curves his neck, and some say eructates gases, while others say he swallows air. The last seems more probable because, if allowed to go on, the belly of the horse gradually becomes distended, and he has an attack of wind colic; while if a strap is put around the throat and buckled sufficiently tight to prevent him from swallowing, no such distention takes place. The horse may carry this bad habit to such an extent as to injure his digestion so considerably as to make him unable, by loss of general strength, to do the full work of an animal of his class, besides which he must either wear a strap or constantly be subject to an attack of wind colic 'That may cause his death; such an animal is unsound. In cases where the act is simply confined to "biting," and in which no air is swallowed, the act is simply a vice, not an unsoundness, but it renders him of much less money value than he would otherwise have been.
Treatment. The only thing to be done is to do away with the manger or any other hard object which the horse bites, or by constantly keeping him muzzled, except when he is eating, drinking, or at work. Windsuckers must constantly wear a cribbing strap, unless it is found that the habit is prevented by the first named measures. Some windsuckers get so that they will swallow air without first grasping an object with the teeth. It is said that the habit is often contracted by example, especially in young horses. It is not a disease, simply a nervous habit.
Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA
and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.
Always consult your professional health care provider.
copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071