alpacasChoking animals drool excessively, because they are not able to swallow saliva, and because they are usually very upset and distressed. You may be able to feel a knot in the neck at the site of the obstruction.

Animals usually become choked when they gulp their food, or decide to spit while eating. Pellets are the food that usually causes the problem.

When they stop drooling, the obstruction has been relieved, but the knot will usually remain and the stomach tube cannot pass into the stomach. This is due to spasm of the muscles of the esophagus.

Torbugesic and/or xylazine (rompun) are used to relax the esophageal muscles. Antibiotics may be given, if there is any risk of aspiration pneumonia.

Withhold food for 24 hours after choking. Small amounts of water are okay. Gradually start back on food that is easy to swallow, such as grass or mash.

Surgery to relieve an obstruction should be considered a last resort.

Animals that are prone to choke should be fed in a feeder off the ground. Large rocks can be placed in the feeder to force the animal to nibble instead of gulping its feed.