My Sister's Horse Has Chipmunk Cheeks - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Question My Sister's Horse Has Chipmunk Cheeks

Hello there everyone,

This evening my sister and I were grooming our horses when we noticed something a little strange on her horse Tikki. Her cheeks are really puffy, she literally looks like a chipmunk storing something in its mouth. It's just after the bars of her mouth in the cheeks and we were able to take a peek inside to make sure she wasn't stashing something in there. It doesn't appear to be giving her any pain and she's still her normal bratty self. Tikki will be coming 29 years old this spring, so I'm not sure if it's something that is just coming with her age, or what exactly is going on. My first thought was strangles, but she doesn't have any symptoms and it's not really in the right spot. We took pictures, but are having troubles uploading them. I will try tomorrow and see if I have better luck.

I was just wondering if anyone has seen anything like this before? I did some research and idiopathic parotiditis came up. Does anyone think that could be a cause? I appreciate your input.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 05:52 AM
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first thing came to my mind were teeth. Horses often 'quid' ther food when teeth are sharp or otherwise get swolen from bad teeth. At her age could possibly be losing molars. On average horses need dental attention yearly but oldies may neeed more frequent.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 08:03 AM
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sounds like she needs teeth floating and perhaps more... at that age...

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 08:59 AM
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Yes, I'm with the others. It sounds like there might be an infection going on in the mouth somewhere. Even though she's not showing pain that doesn't mean there is none- she may have 'A dull ache in her jaw' but without the words, you don't know that! Vet needed I think.

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post #5 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking that too. The vet isn't available until sometime next week, so I thought I'd ask here first. I got the pictures to work finally. They aren't the best, but you can see there's some puffiness under her winter coat.

TikkiCheek1.JPG

TikkiCheek2.jpg

Attachment 124192
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Glynnis View Post
I was thinking that too. The vet isn't available until sometime next week, so I thought I'd ask here first. I got the pictures to work finally. They aren't the best, but you can see there's some puffiness under her winter coat.

Attachment 124190

Attachment 124191

Attachment 124192
What's with all these vets that can't get out for a week? Call them and tell them you believe it's an abcess. If they cannot make it out, tell them you want to begin a course of antibiotics. I'd be pitching such a fit if my vet said wait a week. Two times I'm scary, when you mess with my kid or my horse.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Oh believe me I know. You should have seen what we went through to get a vet out when my poor Lilly was walking on 3 legs this summer due to a severe hoof abscess. My parents aren't terribly close to a major center. There used to be quite a few vets in area, but more and more have started to only specialize in small animals.The closest vet clinic only has one vet specializing in large animals and as we get nearer to calving season, they're hard pressed. The next closest one is about 100 km away.

I'm not sure that they're abscesses because it's identical on both sides of her face, like she has a mouthful of gum balls. We took a look in her mouth with a flashlight and there isn't any oozing or abrasions and no heat (from the outside). I was able to feel and put pressure with my finger and it's smooth skin inside and she didn't flinch. I read that swollen salivary glands can cause this and so can allergies. When I went to see her again today, the swelling had gone down considerably. I'm going back out tomorrow. My plan of action is, if it hasn't gone down more tomorrow evening, I will get her to a vet, come hell or high water. If I have to drive a few hours, so be it. A close friend of mine also has the contact information for an equine dentist and I'm going to see if I can get her in to see him as well, depending on what the vet has to say.

The other side of the coin, which I tried to very gently bring up to my sister, is how much time and money do we want to put into an almost 29 year old mare? While we love her to bits and want her to live out her life happily and comfortably, at what point are we only prolonging the inevitable? That is a question I will be asking the vet as well.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-05-2013, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Glynnis View Post
Oh believe me I know. You should have seen what we went through to get a vet out when my poor Lilly was walking on 3 legs this summer due to a severe hoof abscess. My parents aren't terribly close to a major center. There used to be quite a few vets in area, but more and more have started to only specialize in small animals.The closest vet clinic only has one vet specializing in large animals and as we get nearer to calving season, they're hard pressed. The next closest one is about 100 km away.

I'm not sure that they're abscesses because it's identical on both sides of her face, like she has a mouthful of gum balls. We took a look in her mouth with a flashlight and there isn't any oozing or abrasions and no heat (from the outside). I was able to feel and put pressure with my finger and it's smooth skin inside and she didn't flinch. I read that swollen salivary glands can cause this and so can allergies. When I went to see her again today, the swelling had gone down considerably. I'm going back out tomorrow. My plan of action is, if it hasn't gone down more tomorrow evening, I will get her to a vet, come hell or high water. If I have to drive a few hours, so be it. A close friend of mine also has the contact information for an equine dentist and I'm going to see if I can get her in to see him as well, depending on what the vet has to say.

The other side of the coin, which I tried to very gently bring up to my sister, is how much time and money do we want to put into an almost 29 year old mare? While we love her to bits and want her to live out her life happily and comfortably, at what point are we only prolonging the inevitable? That is a question I will be asking the vet as well.
Prayers for a good outcome!
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