swollen sheath, from being dirty or something else? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation swollen sheath, from being dirty or something else?

Today when I went to feed the boys I noticed Blue's sheath was very swollen(I'll post pics at the end). I admit it has been long time since I cleaned it. So I decided to clean it while he was eating. It was disgusting! I got so much crud out and I somehow managed to locate his penis(even tho he refused to drop it) and got out 2 fairly large beans and one smaller one(I flicked them all to the side but found the larger 2 when I was done). Is it likely the swelling is caused by the crud and beans or should I be worried and contact the vet tomorrow? A few years ago he swelled like this and the vet(not our normal equine vet but a small animal vet who used to work on horses that is a friend of the family) said that there is a condition that causes swelling(can't remember what she called it) and it might be a chronic problem. Ever since then he has been larger then normal but today it was very very swollen.








And for size comparison
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 07:46 PM
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My horse had something like this happen once at a 'rescue' she was briefly boarded at. One day I went to see her and her udders were enormous! I have seen lactating mares with smaller udders. She was only a yearling at the time and I was so worried that I had the vet come out the next morning. By the time the vet got there she was perfectly normal again and the vet had no idea what had caused it.

The barn owner later told me that this happened all the time to his horses. The gelding's sheaths, and the stallion's other parts, would get very swollen in the summer. I looked at a few of them and they looked just like your pictures if memory serves me right. My best guess was that the combination of heat and being stalled was the culprit; maybe it was kind of like stocking up? I haven't been able to find any information on the internet about it.

Those are huge beans! I didn't even know that they could get more than one. It makes me glad that I have a mare ;)

I am here to learn! :)
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 07:54 PM
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Unless the horse is straining to pee, it is not from being dirty. It is from too much protein in the diet. Swells up from standing around, & being fed too rich of food. The beans will just block the flow of urine and cause them to be itchy. That looks like an overload of protein & not enough exercise to burn it off.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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He is turned out 24/7 so it's not from him standing around too much, he's in his mid 30's and retired so more exercise isn't an option but he does chase the younger guys around the pasture. I don't think it's from too much protein either as nothing has changed in his diet and his diet isn't really that rich in protein, just the recommended amount of triple crown senior(can't remember how many lbs off the top of my head) and about 6lbs alfalfa pellets.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 08:11 PM
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I would just watch him for a couple days to a week to see if the swelling goes down. If it doesn't then I would call a vet. The cleaning may have taken care of it. During the winter, one of our geldings gets swollen from lack of movement and goes away in the spring. The vet said it was fine as long as it didn't seem to bother him
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Rachel1786 View Post
He is turned out 24/7 so it's not from him standing around too much, he's in his mid 30's and retired so more exercise isn't an option but he does chase the younger guys around the pasture. I don't think it's from too much protein either as nothing has changed in his diet and his diet isn't really that rich in protein, just the recommended amount of triple crown senior(can't remember how many lbs off the top of my head) and about 6lbs alfalfa pellets.
This is from being older, and from the alfalfa. If I were you, I would cut out that feed & switch to him to a senior pelleted feed, if needed. It is definiately from too much protein and not burning it off.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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This is from being older, and from the alfalfa. If I were you, I would cut out that feed & switch to him to a senior pelleted feed, if needed. It is definiately from too much protein and not burning it off.
He is on a complete senior feed, the alfalfa pellets are because he needs the extra calories, he's become quite the hard keeper in the last few years when he started loosing his teeth. When this happened before he was just on grass and timothy hay so it was definitely not from too much protein then. He also doesn't have swelling anywhere else. I will keep an eye on the swelling and it it doesn't go down I'll have the vet come out.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 11:03 PM
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It is too much protein, protein is not neccessarily calories. You want to give him something that is more carbohydrates, beet pulp is good (soaked for at least 4 hours with 2:1 ratio water/BP). I know this because I have seen this condition dozens of times on older, idle, horses, mostly Arabs too for some reason, but there was a welsh cross & an appy as well. One was just eating hay, no grain, but the hay was an alfafa mix. A super easy fix for his condition is to ride him or lunge him a few times a week then you can keep the diet the same.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-08-2011, 03:26 PM
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this happens to our geldings in the summer when these little no-see-ums (haha idk what they're actually called) bugs bite. Appropriate fly/bug measures will keep them at bay.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-17-2011, 03:59 PM
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This happened to a good friend of mines gelding except he eventually started swelling all through lower belly and into front and hind legs. They had to clean his sheath every day for three months. The vet said it was from laying in a dirty stall.

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