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-   -   Fluid in fetlocks? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-health/fluid-fetlocks-99064/)

atomic 09-27-2011 06:36 PM

Fluid in fetlocks?
 
So I read some advice to feel your horses legs every day so you become accustomed to them and can tell if something feels off, today I noticed my 3 yo gelding seems to have soft squishy pockets on both of his rear fetlocks. They do not seem to bother him at all and were not hot. But I am curious what they are and what causes them? I read about windgalls but they sound more so for an older horse that's been worked most his life, but I could be wrong. Also I can get pictures if they would be helpful. Thanks!
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bubba13 09-27-2011 11:21 PM

Do they look like the pictures of windgalls online? I imagine that's what they are, particularly if he's been ridden even remotely hard or on rough ground. If I recall correctly, it's fluid in the tendon sheath from tendon strain. Generally benign and non-problematic.

Ladytrails 09-27-2011 11:30 PM

I think you're right about windgalls. My vet is always reminding me to check to see if the swelling is the same on both legs. If so, less to worry about if they are symmetrical, it's probably just from exertion. Keep an eye on it and it should go away with rest (if you noticed them after workouts) or with exercise (if they came on after being immobile with stall rest).

atomic 09-28-2011 11:27 AM

Thanks guys, they do appear to look like the pictures. They're circular and like I said soft and squishy. He has 24/7 pasture access so its not from being in a stall. I have started working him more the past few weeks but have made a note to take it easy... Lots of walking though I've been adding more trotting. I have also been lunging a bit. Being young he hasn't been worked prior to me so perhaps its just due to him being unaccustomed to work? I did a bit of reading and it sounds like "windgalls" could also point towards something more serious, which has me worried. What should I do about them? Should I just keep doing our routine and they will go away or should I stop all work?
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atomic 09-28-2011 11:28 AM

Oh and forgot to mention that they are not exactly symmetrical. There is more fluid in the right than the left though both in the same general location. I also read that they are more prominent in hot weather... I live in southwest FL and its been sweltering for quite a while!

bubba13 09-28-2011 12:54 PM

I would not worry about it unless they get larger, hot, hard, or start to be associated with soundness issues. Were the issues you read about something to do with liver failure (trying to remember here)? I doubt that's the case, but then again, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to put a quick call into the vet just to ease your mind.

atomic 09-28-2011 03:27 PM

He did not care at all about me prodding and fussing with them, but is there any sort of maybe a flexion type test I could do to make sure they are harmless? He isn't lame but seems stiffer going to the right which, though may be coincidentally, is the one with more fluid. I've noticed it for a bit but expected him to be unbalanced/unfit and having a side preference, though I do think I will see when the vet is supposed to make another appearance. The vet was out not very long ago for a basic evaluation (long story but basically BO was threatening to kick me out because I feed my horse a ration balancer and she clearly could not understand how they work and decided I was neglecting my horse. She wanted a vet opinion and I am proud to say he had nothing but full marks for my horse and even uses RB himself!) But I had no idea about the windgalls, if they were even there then. I don't recall reading anything about liver failure, but just that windgalls may indicate degenerative bone disease in the fetlock or more serious injury to the tendons. But I also read that the ones that are more "worrisome" are in the back of the fetlock capsule, and ones that are above on the inside are typically the harmless ones. Glad to say these are on the inside but doesn't always mean anything. Hope the vet plans a visit shortly!
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