Sam had to be put to sleep recently. My daughter's beautiful horse, only a teenager, with eventing and dressage and fun years ahead of him, but he got "choke".
Horses cannot vomit, so any obstruction results in fluid and partially digested food and saliva and so on pouring out their noses. Sometimes they breathe it in and get pneumonia, but basically, it needs clearing, and the longer it is obstructed, the worse it is, and the greater the scarring. Sam was choked for five days. He seemed right, but then got repeat attacks, and even though we fed him energy rich liquids, and looked down his throat with a camera, in the end, there was no further treatment possible except surgery. The obstruction was at heart level, so it would mean opening his chest. Mega money, and he was already getting painfully thin.... plus there was the mention of cancer....his chances dwindled to zilch.
Sam was put to sleep at home, standing near his paddock mate, who helped him to stay calm to the end. His passing left a hole in our hearts after many years of him in the paddock next to us. A horse may be, but part of the family and a huge part of my daughter's life.