As you finish brushing your horse’s face, take a moment to give him a quick kiss on the nose. In addition to expressing your affection, this gesture serves the practical purpose of enabling you to sniff his breath.
A normal horse’s breath will have no detectable odor, aside from a whiff of sweet feed or maybe wild onions if he’s recently grazed in spring pasture. Any unpleasant odor is reason for concern. Dental and sinus infections have a distinct “rotting” smell, as do some advanced tumors.
If you smell anything foul near your horse’s nostrils, call your veterinarian. A complete dental exam and, possibly, an endoscopic investigation, will likely uncover the source of the problem.
Note: Limit your muzzle-kissing to your own horse, or one a day. Don't go down the barn aisle kissing horses or you could end up spreading infectious diseases like equine influenza.
This article first appeared in EQUUS (Volume #483)
Don't miss out! With the free weekly EQUUS newsletter, you'll get the latest horse health information delivered right to your in basket! If you’re not already receiving the EQUUS newsletter, click here to sign up. It’s *free*!