swollen sheath on 22 yo gelding
Those of you who have geldings, any experience with swollen sheaths? I switched JT's heavyweight for the lightweight yesterday and because it was light out I took the time to brush him a little and make sure he was still at a good weight (which he is). His sheath is slightly swollen, bigger than two large marbles but not as big as two golf balls. It's not hot and he didn't bat an eye when we were feeling it so I don't think it hurts him at all. There is no weeping or anything like that and he's walking around fine. Any idea what's causing this, and should I be worried?
He's on 24/7 turnout with two other horses so while I haven't been riding in a few weeks (due to work, weather) I know he gets exercise. He's been on Tribute Kalm Ultra since last fall along with alfalfa pellets and grass/alfalfa hay but we've been reducing the amount of alfalfa pellets so I don't know if it's too much protein. The only thing that's different this winter is that the past few weeks he's had access to the run-in shed and the BO has been putting pine shavings or straw in there as bedding. Maybe he's allergic?
I'm thinking I should call the vet tomorrow but for now I wonder if any of you have any brilliant ideas.
When was the last time he had been cleaned?
Sky had a VERY swollen sheath when he was on stall rest. Had him cleaned out and hand walked him (since he was injured) along with 1g of bute and he was fine.
Have you talked to your vet?
I'll probably call the vet tomorrow if the swelling hasn't gone down any. As it didn't seem to be weeping or smelly or hot or painful or anything bad except swollen I thought it could wait until the weekend was over.
Of course I didn't take a picture when I was there, but it looks like this picture I found on the internet:
He hasn't had his sheath cleaned in a while, but I was hoping to wait until the spring vet visit to have that done. I've tried to do it myself before and haven't ever been successful at removing the bean. I do, however, kind of do a brush-off on the outside anytime I'm grooming him or giving him scratchies and he drops.
As for sheath cleaning, you also have to clean out the "pocket". It fills up with smegma.
Harley had a similar thing happen to him. It was due to lack of movement. In winter, even with constant turnout, they don't usually go far from the hay like they do grazing on grass. Harley swelled up on one side of the sheath and it went forward on the abdomen. The vet said he heard of many geldings having that happen to that year. When spring came and they moved around more, the swelling went away.
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Just happened to me. well my gelding. I had him on antibiotics and it did nothing, I cleaned his sheath and excerised him several times and it worked like a charm.
I talked to the vet this morning and she says the swelling is most likely a bit of stocking up due to lack of movement. We are supposed to keep an eye on it and let her know if it gets worse. "You could try lunging him," she said, "but with the ground so uneven and hard right now he might sprain his ankle and that would just make things worse." She agreed that it's not exactly ideal conditions in this part of MI right now for a sheath cleaning (and we don't have a barn or an indoor or anything like that) so we're going to try to wait for that until the spring when she comes out to pull blood for coggins anyway.
Start cleaning NOW. I have had geldings since 1985, and I have cleaned all of them, whenever I think there's any gunk in there. NEVER had a problem, but I have had to train them to it. You don't need any special oils or anything, just do a little bit every day. He'll appreciate it. =D
Clean the sheath, remove the alfalfa from his diet and exercise him. Guaranteed the swelling will be gone.
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