Reveal A Secret: Can Horses Throw Up?

Vomiting is a vital mechanism for the survival of many species. It is the ability to get rid of the toxic substance that disturbing your stomach. But horses don’t own this advantage. Can horses throw up? It’s almost impossible. Discover the answer in this writing!

can horse throw up vomit

​Why do humans vomit?

There are several reasons that humans and almost all vertebrates we know of vomit.

When vomiting, a sequence of motions occurs. Your body is signalized to produce more saliva to coat your teeth from stomach acid. As you begin to puke, the respiration muscles force the digestive contents up against the path it went through. And your face will go pale to focus more blood on the organs.

Throwing up after eating will leave you with an empty stomach which may ache until you can consume more food. The process will wear you down after barfing for using too many forces.

If the case is serious, you’ll need a consultant on how to stop vomiting from a doctor.

But why can’t horses throw up?

Horses, on the other hand, don’t have this function. “Can a horse vomit” is a common question from any horseman. There are some theories to decipher this behavior.

According to scientists, the esophageal sphincter muscles in animals are more powerful than in humans. It plays a role in preventing the cut-off valve from opening. The valve stays relaxed when the horse intakes food but will squeeze its way out under the backward pressure from the stomach.

Equine esophagus

Equine esophagus

Furthermore, the angle that joints the equine esophagus to the stomach locates lower than in other animals.

When the horse’s stomach is bloated with food and gas, the stomach then presses against the valve causing it to close more tightly. This particular function ensures ingesting food takes a one-way trip only.

Regurgitating otherwise is considered “vomit” but it’s a different concept. While vomiting is a defensive reaction, regurgitating in most ruminants is for further chewing. Nevertheless, only extremely ill horses could regurgitate.

Though there are several records reporting that horses retch themselves, the cases are rare. If the situation happens, it’s possible that the spew came from a blockage that dwells in the esophagus, not in the stomach. The horse may suffer a choke even to death if it’s not able to eject the obstacle out.

What keeps horses from having this ability?

The aforesaid demonstrates how evolution has picked this inability for horses. Though the reason is unknown unsure, the theory said that the horse’s digestion system is designed to support the full gallops from predators in wildlife.

When a horse gallops, the intestines shift like a piston that hammers the stomach. This back-and-forth motion may trigger a human to vomit but not a horse.

A clue has claimed that perhaps horses have evolved this muscular esophageal sphincter in exchange for the speed that values them in races with wild enemies.

However, horses miss the capability of ejecting poisonous substances or stomach-aching particles which can be lethal.


It’s almost impossible for a horse to vomit due to the influential bands of muscles around the esophagus to prevent food from returning trip.

The aforementioned is why colic is the leading cause of death in horses due to intestinal necrosis. While the mystery of this manifestation remains unknown, the question about it may dwell for longer.


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