Draining Tract Under Chin - What Is It?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Draining Tract Under Chin - What Is It?!

About three years ago I found my gelding with his fly mask off and a lump under his chin:



We figured it was a bug bite or a splinter of sorts. A couple days later the lump turned into this:




A month later the bump was completely gone but the draining tract remained. It's literally just a hole under his chin that drains a small bit of non-smelling fluid every day.

He has no discomfort under saddle, takes the bit, eats no problem.

I have had three different vets check him including a full set of x-rays, an ultrasound and a biopsy of the skin tissue with nothing of concern found.

The most obvious explanation would be a tooth root abscess but nothing is showing on the x-rays or during oral exams that provides any evidence of that.

Every vet has been stumped! They basically told me to just pretend it doesn't exist until it causes a problem... has anyone seen anything like this?
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 09:09 AM
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If you would have told me that there was a nasty little bug living in his skin, I would have believed you! It totally looks like a cuterebra! But the fact that his skin hasn't completely healed is weird! Sorry, I haven't seen anything like it!
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palfrey View Post
If you would have told me that there was a nasty little bug living in his skin, I would have believed you! It totally looks like a cuterebra! But the fact that his skin hasn't completely healed is weird! Sorry, I haven't seen anything like it!
It's the craziest thing!

Here's what it looks like now:



There's some swelling that appeared yesterday around it, first time in 3 years so I am hoping someone has some ideas that I can suggest to the next vet.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 10:14 AM
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I wonder if there's a tiny foreign body (like a teeny little splinter) stuck just beneath the skin that didn't show up on radiograph or ultrasound.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 10:17 AM
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A piece of wood would not show up in an x-ray so it's possible he has something in there. I would definitely think about having a dentist look at it though. It could very well be a bad tooth.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 12:19 PM
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I have seen many tick bites morph into those fotos ——- unnnntillll the foto in post #3.

1. He has either rubbed a tick bite clear into big time infection.

2. Or he has a splinter or something in there, that x-rays aren’t showing.

3. Tooth infection as others suspect.

Regardless, IMHO “that” is at the point where the stumped vet’s need to pay attention, tranq the poor fella, go digging, and follow up with antibiotics, depending what they find.

3.1.1. And while they are at it, they need to check his teeth.

3.2. If that is a tooth gone rotten, you can smell his breath and his nostrils for the presence of a most foul odor. If a tooth were to be causing that abscess, you smell something awful.

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post #7 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 01:49 PM
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Not sure if this is even relevant, but my mare had a little round black lump on the inside of her thigh for many months. I don't think she always had it, but one day I just sort of noticed it and wondered how long it had been there. Even though she's black and not grey, I was scared it could be a melanoma because that's what it looked like.

Then one day after a ride I saw something white protruding from it. So I squeezed and yup, it was THICK white pus. Got it all out, treated it with antibiotic ointment and it healed up nicely.

I don't know if that has any relevance to your horse, since it's been going on for so long, but I totally wouldn't be surprised if there is something small in there that just festers and festers and maybe one day it will actually drain out and it will heal. Has the vet opened up the hole a little and flushed it out with something.........diluted betadine, peroxide or something like that? I'm kind of inclined to think there is a foreign body in there. BUT, I've never had a horse with a tooth abscess either, so I don't know how those present. That would make sense too. Best of luck! At least it looks a lot better than it did. But it has to be really frustrating!


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post #8 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 09:47 PM
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As I was reading the replies I happened to remember an ordeal my niece went through with one of her horses. Weirdest thing I'd ever heard...

Her mare had an infected bump right below her ear that kept oozing pus and wouldn't heal even after 2 courses of antibiotics, etc... Vet said it was time for a closer look so went digging and found a tiny tooth. He told her fetuses sometimes develop more teeth than they need and normally these teeth float to somewhere and encapsulate and never cause a problem nor do you even know they are there but on rare occasions they float close enough to the surface to produce an abscess that won't go away until the foreign body is removed. He called it an ear tooth but if they can migrate up in that area I don't know why the jaw area would be out of the question. Maybe something to ask about anyway.

I don't remember the exact age of her mare when this happened but was fully mature and not a youngster. I estimate she was probably in early double digits so obviously can take years before it becomes apparent.

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post #9 of 12 Old 05-31-2020, 11:09 PM
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@JCnGrace , I do expect a remnant of a baby tooth would have shown up on radiograph and ultrasound. That is absolutely wacky - I've heard of it before but never known someone who dealt with it.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-01-2020, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your feedback so far! A couple answers:

1. The draining tract was ripped open and poked at then injected with something that I can't remember, followed up by many weeks of TMS antibiotics with no changes.

2. Two of the vets said that anything foreign that is small enough to not show up on an ultrasound should work it's way out or have broken down by now. I'm not 100% sure that it's NOT something foreign up there, it would make a lot of sense given that my guy took his fly mask off that day and the barn we were boarding at the time had fencing that splintered incredibly easy.

3. I never considered the tick option. I did see a tick bite image last night that looked a bit like the 3rd image I posted with the fur all gone around the wound. Will definitely discuss that option with the vet! I did not see any tick on him at the time, but of course he could have rubbed it off.

4. One of the vets is also a respected equine dentist and they had no concerns with his teeth not did they suspect a tooth root abscess. Nothing on the images nor in his mouth to indicate such. :(

I'll keep you guys updated! :)
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