Please, please Cut the Wires off of your Hay Blocks!

We frequently remind our clients that hay blocks in general are very hard on a horse’s teeth….no matter how much some might find them convenient. Horses’ dentition is not designed to “gnaw” and the act of trying to get hay off those tightly packed blocks (and tightly packed hay nets) damages their gums and their enamel…..sometimes beyond repair. But, a much more dangerous aspect of the hay blocks are the wires or strings they are bound with…..they are easily caught between and around horses teeth causing serious injuries. During this time of year, with the increase in hay use, we see horses on a weekly basis with hay block injuries. This photo is a young horse treated this recently…..the wire on his hay block caught on his cap (baby tooth) and in the process, completely fractured off his underlying permanent tooth at the gum line. His permanent tooth was completely destroyed.

But young horses aren’t the only concern and a horse doesn’t need to have caps in place to get caught; the wire and string bindings can get trapped between teeth and wrap around them, even in adults. Damage to their teeth certainly happens, but is not the only concern. Horses frequently break their jaw when caught on the wires. The bone structure at the front of their mouth is pretty thin and when a “trapped” horse fights to get free of the wire stuck there, they can fracture it straight through!

So….our goal is not to debate the use of hay blocks. We truly get the economic aspects of horse care since we own horses ourselves. Just please, please, please….cut the wires and strings off of your hay to protect your horses!

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