Secreted into the mouth by three pairs of salivary glands situated under and behind the lower jaw, saliva moistens food to lubricate its passage down the oesophagus after swallowing. Unlike many animals, horse saliva contains only very small amounts of the digestive enzyme amylase, but it does provide significant buffering of the acid in the stomach. Production is around 40 liters per day.
Excessive salivation with drooling or foaming at the lips may be a sign of oesophageal obstruction called ‘’Choke’’ or possibly the condition of ‘’Slobbers’’ caused by the mycotoxin slaframine, a contaminant produced by a fungus on white clover, Lucerne, Lupin, or other legumes. Saliva may also be expelled from the nostrils in choke.