I have learned a lot about horses in the past two years. But there is one ability that continues to amaze me: the agility of the horse’s tongue.
Above is a friend of mine, Simby. He has Cushing’s disease, which is treated with a small pill, Prascend.
I give the same medicine to my mare in a handful of pellets. She eats her pill, eagerly. I figure the tasty morsels hide the pill of similar size, and it readily eaten and swallowed.
So, when my friend asked me to give Simby his pill while she was traveling, I agreed. After all, I’d just give him his pill in a handful of pellets, right? My friend warned me he would spit it out, but how could he with such a big tongue pick out a small pill from among all those pellets?
Well, big tongue aside, Simby had the dexterity to pick out the little pink pill from the midst of the pellets and spit it out! He didn’t waste any pellets, either.
Their tongues do have twelve different muscles, and the top has protuberances called papillae to provide traction. This is important in moving food into the mouth and, apparently, in removing unwanted pills!
Every day is an adventure with horses.
Book Note: Kids on summer break? Why not give the gift of a fun adventure tale that weaves the science of the animals, plants and ecosystems into the story? Making science education fun is my goal as a retired-scientist-now-author, because science sticks when it’s fun.
#horsetongue #horsepills #elaineapowers #lyricpower