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Durango Deb 07-18-2008 12:04 AM

Horse sick - problem unknown - anyone seen this before?
At a morning feed our 13 yr old gelding didn't come into the barn. We found him walking painfully slow to come in. He had strange, random swellings on his abdomen and chest, hard muscles, and one back swollen leg. The vet gave him 2 antihistamine shots that day and ongoing Bute, Banamine, and Tucomprim. The next 3 days he was better each day but the 4th day he was hardly walking again with some new swellings and now all 4 legs swollen. We think it is an allergic reaction but can't find any bite marks or sores and nothing had been changed that day before in his feed or pasture.

One week before we got a new load of coastal hay but we have 2 horses and the other, older one has no problems.

We rode in a field the night before and this horse was sluggish but beyond that was fine.

We are stumped as to what this could be. Any clues from anyone would be much appreciated. There are two photos from that first day - one of some swellings on one side and the other of the misshapen and swollen chest area.

Thanks for any clues you may have,

barefoothooves 07-18-2008 07:53 AM

I'm not a vet or qualified to say. But I'm willing to take a guess.

Seems like edema like that could be related to a heart problem. He's lethargic, the swellings could indicate circulation problems. Did your vet listen to his chest to see if he could detect a murmur or something. If you have heart issues, heat could really sap you and make swelling worse. I'm totally guessing, of course.

I've just not really seen that kind of swelling in multiple places. Sometimes a bug bite will cause a strong local reaction around the site, and legs swell up from poor circulation when a horse is confined, but if he's older and swelling on lower portions (below his heart) that's all I can think of..the heart isn't working well enough to keep all his fluids moving. I'd keep him cool and hydrated, maybe provide a fan but not confine him, but definitly not force any exercise. Ask your vet about heart issues just to be sure.

Hopefully someone here will recognize the symptoms and can offer better advice?

kickshaw 07-18-2008 09:13 AM

Looks like a snake bite (or in this case snake bites) to me. Do you have snakes in the area?

Are the swollen places hot? Itchy? Does he have a temp.?

I don't know that I'd work him until the symptoms go away...but that's JMO

I'd also continue to treat him with the bute and tucoprim to help with pain etc.

hotreddun 07-18-2008 09:59 AM

Maybe hematoma(s)...could he have gotten in a kicking match with someone else in the pasture?

I think you can rule out bee stings...I've had a horse have an allergic reaction to bees and they were little quarter sized hives all over the body. Seems like if it was a snake it would have a pit in the center of the lump where the actual bite occurred...same with a spider I think.

Are there ponds in the area...maybe he is wading in and having a reaction to something in the water?

kim_angel 07-18-2008 12:01 PM

Cocoa had a hematoma once, looked just like that. I had to put hot compresses on it. Eventually it started to ooze and got better.

Ryle 07-18-2008 03:21 PM

Has he run a fever? Has your vet run a CBC to see if it's an infection or an allergic reaction?

One of the concerns would be something infectious like Pigeon Fever.

Gingerrrrr 07-18-2008 04:13 PM

omg. poor horse :cry:

brittx6x6 07-18-2008 10:31 PM


Originally Posted by Ryle
Has he run a fever? Has your vet run a CBC to see if it's an infection or an allergic reaction?

One of the concerns would be something infectious like Pigeon Fever.

It sounds alot like Pigeon fever...I would have the vet run some tests and test for that to see what is going on.

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