Swollen lymph nodes with no other symptoms - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-06-2012, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 45
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Swollen lymph nodes with no other symptoms

There's quite a bit of backstory to this... I recently got a 20 year old TWH gelding from a friend, he was a rescue that she rehabbed (severe founder from gorging on walnuts - he was in a bare lot with nothing but a tree, no grass) and needed to rehome. She also had another rescue who had strangles 2 or 3 years ago - these horses were pasturemates for two years. Anyway, the gelding had his annual vet check and vaccinations in March, and I brought him home about 3 weeks ago. Since I knew where he came from, know the woman, and knew he had JUST had a vet check, I only kept him separated from my mare and mini donkey for a week before letting them in together.

Yesterday I noticed he was acting kind of "depressed", just standing with his head down rather than grazing, not sticking quite as close to my other two as usual, etc, and while grooming him noticed that he had swollen, tender lymph nodes at the juncture of jaw and neck (throatlatch area). He also has swollen lymph nodes under his jaw, but those are still "soft" and the ones on the throatlatch are hard. No fever, still has appetite, has clear, watery nasal discharge. Called my vet to see what she thought... She said number one differential diagnosis when you see swollen submandibular lymph nodes is strangles. But since there is no fever and he has a great appetite, I don't know... She is planning to come out Monday afternoon to check him out and hopefully tell me it is NOT strangles!!!

I decided to feel my mare and mini-donk's lymph nodes as well, and my mare's lymph nodes at the throat latch also seem to be somewhat swollen, though soft and non-tender. She also has clear, watery nasal drainage. She is not acting depressed and is her normal piggy self. Mini-donk does not have any swelling, no discharge.

My mom, who actually owns the gelding, thinks that since he does not have a fever and is eating, we should tell the vet not to worry about coming out. That it would be a "waste" of money. I think it'd be best to KNOW what the heck is up, especially since the mare has some swelling as well. What would you do? Have any of you had horses with similar symptoms?
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-07-2012, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Palmyra, Wisconsin
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It could be a number of things, some no big deal, others worse.
I'd rather have a vet out than not. It's never a waste of money to find out what is going on with a horse.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-07-2012, 09:14 AM
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I would just follow closely the temperature of both horses. If it is strangles or another infection, it is too late to stop it. With no fever, he could be a 'carrier', but again, your other horse has been exposed and you will know very quickly.

If you have the Vet out, I would opt for a CBC. An elevated white count would tell you more than an exam.

[My Vet lets me bring a Blood sample in to them and I save the Vet call and just pay for the CBC. Is that an option for you? You would just have to get a purple top blood tube from them.]

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post #4 of 5 Old 05-07-2012, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: MN
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
If you have the Vet out, I would opt for a CBC. An elevated white count would tell you more than an exam.
For strep they check the fibrinogen levels.

its use in Equine Medicine

Contributing Author: Terry C. Gerros, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM

Fibrinogen also provides
information regarding
treatment efficacy,
prognosis and length
of treatment, especially
considering such conditions
as strangles, pigeon
fever, pleuropneumonia,
omphalophlebitis, septic
arthritis, endometritis,
clostridial myonecrosis,
cellulitis, and endocarditis,
to list a few.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-07-2012, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 45
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I was planning on having her run a blood panel and possibly culture the nasal drainage, depending on if she thought it necessary and what the cost would be. I will be sure to ask about fibrinogen!

This morning I also noticed that he has dark, concentrated urine... I don't see how this would be related to swollen lymph nodes all the way up at his head, but maybe a systemic infection? Who knows. I'm just going to go ahead and have her come out, better safe than sorry.
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