Swollen cheeks? - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Swollen cheeks?

My mares cheeks swell up every once in a while. I was concerned because she gets blood clots in her neck (which are very serious) and her neck swells when that happens. However, when she gets blood clots she stops eating and acts lethargic, and she was acting fine, so I didn't think that was it. I called my vet anyway. He asked if it was her neck AND her cheeks or just her cheeks, and I told him it was just her cheeks. He told me she probably just banged it on something. He told me to put some DMSO on it and to call him if the swelling hadn't gone down in a few days (or got worse). A few days later, she looked perfectly fine.

However... this KEEPS happening. It happens every couple of months. I find it hard to believe she's hurting herself that much... She's not an unintelligent horse.

And this last time it happened, the swelling wouldn't go down. Her cheeks are still a little swollen, and it's been over a week. It's so swollen that her halter leaves an indent on it (and I ONLY have it on when I'm walking her from her stall to the pasture and back) There's no wound or scrape or anything on the cheek. She's eating and acting normally. I've even ridden her several times (my bridle has no throatlatch) and it didn't affect it at all. She last had her teeth done in June, and my vet said they looked really good.

It looks like this (although this picture was taken when she DID have a blood clot, so just ignore the little bit of swollen neck you can see):

Mystique on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Has anybody had this problem, or have any idea what it might be?





Another quick question...

She also has a lump under her jaw. It's pretty centered (both from her throat to her lips, and from one side of her face to the other). It's not hot and she has no other symptoms (other than the swollen cheeks, but I don't know if that's related). Any ideas? Should I have my vet check it, or do you think it's just a fat lump? She already has two other fat lumps - one pretty big one in front of her udder, and one smallish one on her hindquarters (near her thigh).



Thanks so much in advance.
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 09:27 PM
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Hmmmm... I've never had/seen swollen cheeks like that before.

Has she had her teeth done recently? Just trying to think of what could be causing it...

-Melanie
Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by My Beau View Post
Hmmmm... I've never had/seen swollen cheeks like that before.

Has she had her teeth done recently? Just trying to think of what could be causing it...

She last had them done in the middle/end of June. I thought about that, too, but wouldn't she be eating less or more slowly or dropping feed or something? She's been eating completely normally.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CloudsMystique View Post
She last had them done in the middle/end of June. I thought about that, too, but wouldn't she be eating less or more slowly or dropping feed or something? She's been eating completely normally.
Yea, I would think so... but maybe she has something going on in there that causes her to catch herself every now and then while she's chewing?
That's the only thing I can think of...

-Melanie
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 09:50 PM
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Ok, I've been doing some googling... here are some links to people on other forums talking about swollen cheeks - there seems to be a few different causes. Maybe read through and see if the type of swelling they are describing is the same as your mare?

From COTH forums (very good resource!): Off and On Swollen Cheeks? - Chronicle Forums

This one is short, but mentions strangles - worth investigating. Is she vaccinated against strangles?: My horses cheeks are swollen - Horse Forums (HGS)

This one's from England. I didn't read it all, but it mentions grass glands?: Horse and Hound Online Forum: Fat head / grass glands

Let me know what you find!

-Melanie
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by My Beau View Post
Ok, I've been doing some googling... here are some links to people on other forums talking about swollen cheeks - there seems to be a few different causes. Maybe read through and see if the type of swelling they are describing is the same as your mare?

From COTH forums (very good resource!): Off and On Swollen Cheeks? - Chronicle Forums

This one is short, but mentions strangles - worth investigating. Is she vaccinated against strangles?: My horses cheeks are swollen - Horse Forums (HGS)

This one's from England. I didn't read it all, but it mentions grass glands?: Horse and Hound Online Forum: Fat head / grass glands

Let me know what you find!

The suggestions on those sites say injury, infection, allergic reaction, Strangles, air in the gutteral pouch, impacted tooth, and alfalfa intolerance.

Injury - No sign of trauma other than the swelling

Infection - No heat or fever

Allergic reaction - I guess this is a possibility... I just can't think of anything she's being exposed to off and on like that. And it doesn't seem like an allergic reaction would stick around for that long without getting worse or better.

Strangles - I'm 90% sure she's been vaccinated for it, and it's also accompanied by several other symptoms that she doesn't have.

Air in guttural pouch - I don't know much about this one, but I'll mention it to my vet. I researched it a little bit, and it seems like the symptoms include a bloody nose or nasal discharge.

Impacted tooth - How fast can these come about? Is it possible that it wasn't noticeable in June and is now causing problems in September/October?

Alfalfa intolerance - She gets orchid/alfalfa cubes twice a day and has been getting them for a year and a half. It seems weird that it would affect her only every once in a while if she's been eating it regularly for that long...



Thank you SO much for the links.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-15-2009, 09:34 AM
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I've had this happen with my Belgian. First time 2 days after dental work. He's ate fine didn't act like it bothered him at all, just swelled. She had to drug him to put the speculam is him mouth. Second time was when he coliced and had to call the vet and she drugged him, it happened the next day. I thought I might be something in the meds. But with the dentist it was 2 days later. Then it happened a 3rd time and I've chaulked it up to something he ate in that particular pasture. I don't know what it is and it doesn't happen every time he's in the pasture. Sorry I'm not a better help but that's my experience.
The first time it happened it lasted about 3-4 days, 2nd time only a couple of days, last time I didn't hardly notice the swelling. I think he is building up a immunity to what every it is, he hasn't done it since the summer.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-15-2009, 11:04 AM
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Have the vet out to look at it. Have him look inside her mouth - even though her teeth were just done in June she may have cracked a tooth by crunching down on something in the stall or pasture and now has an infection in there - if vet won't do it get dentist back out to examine her mouth. (My mare tried to eat screws when my husband was putting up a feed bin - she figured if it was in the feed bin it was food...horses are not the brightest star in the sky. )

Strangles vaccine is NOT 100% guarantee against getting it - so vet should test for strangles at same time as examination of the mouth.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-15-2009, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Valentina View Post
Have the vet out to look at it. Have him look inside her mouth - even though her teeth were just done in June she may have cracked a tooth by crunching down on something in the stall or pasture and now has an infection in there - if vet won't do it get dentist back out to examine her mouth. (My mare tried to eat screws when my husband was putting up a feed bin - she figured if it was in the feed bin it was food...horses are not the brightest star in the sky. )

Strangles vaccine is NOT 100% guarantee against getting it - so vet should test for strangles at same time as examination of the mouth.

Okay, I will.

Thanks so much for the help, everybody!
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