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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yesterday, one horse came up from out back soaked in sweat, running in a panic (she is almost never seen cantering so she would need to be really bothered to run around) she had clearly been rolling so I got her out to walk her, gave her banamine and put a call into the vet. Her skin was tight and wrinkled, some minimal hives over her rump, she was shaking and trembling all over, her neck was stiff to turn, her belly was tucked up like it was cramping. She had puffy eyes, her vulva was swollen, her nasal passages seemed swollen too and she sounded like she was breathing through a stuffy nose.
1.5 hours after the banamine and walking her around, letting her stand when she wanted to and petting her she was well over the "panicked" stage and calm but would paw, act uncomfortable and none of the swelling, trembling, shaking, weird skin, tight neck muscles, nose rattling etc had really stopped.. it was just quieter. She had dried off and wasn't soaked in sweat but she had patches that would sweat. Temp 100.5 and heart rate normal, gum color normal.
I called the vet out because I thought that it seems like she ate something poisonous. I'm not sure what else would cause colic, breathing issues, skin reactions, panic and random swelling?
He diagnosed her with minor heaves, gave her a lot of Dex.
When I put her back in the paddock a few hours later she immediately went down and rolled, then just stayed lying down. She was up and down quite a bit then seemed to settle into just standing there during the overnight hours. She is still not better.

Meanwhile, backing up a bit, during this a second horse came up from out back neighing to me. He almost always calls to me if something is wrong with him, I've had him for 16 years so when he hollered upon arrival I went to check him over. His neck and chest is lumpy and oozing serum. (See pictures) I've been around an unfortunate amount of horse cuts, injuries, lameness, swellings from bugs, bee stings, scratches, cellulitis etc but this is a new one for me. He thinks this is very tender, its actually a lot like when he had cellulitis in his hind leg years ago, but leaking lumps on the neck? It hasn't slowed down any since I found it last night and seems more swollen today.
The vet saw him too and thinks he was kicked by another horse or something. Maybe its an injury but hes very much the boss horse, living with just one other horse who is 25 and they've lived together for 10 years. All the fencing is intact and this is the least accident prone horse I've ever met, plus I've never seen a cut ooze 10 or more inches in every direction so I'm just not sure about that answer. You never know though, with horses. I tend to over react but thought it couldn't hurt to ask here if this seems familiar.

I should note I have 6 horses each living in groups of two. These two horses are in different pastures. A few people I've bounced this all off from have wondered about bugs. Maybe but its 50*f and there really aren't bugs out bothering them right now.

What are your thoughts on either? Think the two are related or coincidence? (The pictures do not really capture how swollen and lumpy the gelding is) though since the rest of him seems fine I'm more worried about the mare and what is causing either of these things!

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That all sounds very odd to me too. I definitely don’t see kick in that neck, otherwise you could theorize that the mare was panicked and worked other horses up and he was kicked. I don’t see a kick myself.

How good is your vet? Do you trust this person?

The mare sounds very odd to me too. I considered a bee hive, but I don’t know anything about that either. Really I am of no help, but just thought I’d say I agree something is off here. I would almost consider having another vet look at the horses, if the mare is still unhealthy today. If she is healthy and the gelding’s lumps are improved, maybe I would chalk it up to one of those things you’ll never know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thoughts. This is the local vet.
When we have to, we haul 2.5 hours to a clinic downstate. Which if they're not on the mend in a bit, I will do.

I've locked the mare out of the pasture, so she is just in the paddock with what food I give her.
I'm really thinking for her that she ate something poisonous, we have a lot of weeds out back. Their pasture is sparse and sandy with a lot of weeds. It hasn't been a problem before, they just wander around on about 5 acres, eat what they can and get plenty of hay all year.
I cannot think of what else would cause all of that with her, but maybe someone on here has another idea.

Agreed with the gelding, he hasn't stopped leaking and oozing fluid since I found this and I'm not sure what to do. (Other than give him a hot compress and wash it up)
 

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Wasps, hornets is my immediate thought...
They were near each other and knocked a nest, now being attacked...
Run in panic, thrash and roll on the ground trying to rid themselves of the stingers....
Yellow jackets are very active right now too and live in the ground...again, step on a nest and out come hundreds if not thousands of angry insects in attack mode...they will chase and hit till the horses out run them and get a fair distance away..
Yes, multiple sites of stings will ooze serum...
Those insects attack anything, or part of the body they can.

Not knowing where you live it could also be the horses stumbled on a fire ant nest....millions of carnivorous ants come to attack unsuspecting. At first a stomped hoof in irritation suddenly is overwhelming the pain and amount of pain.
It is surprising how fast fire ants can move on a body...remember those insects can gain the body from face, leg, tail or if they rolled on a nest....oh good grief it can be very nasty.
It is said enough bites can be life-threatening and I believe it from the few I have endured, they truly hurt and drive you crazy. Yes they ooze clear fluid too and then a white pustule forms but doesn't stop the hurt for near 48 hours if you can leave it alone....
Your vet should of been able to administer something to stop the advancing of problems for both horses...
Till you figure out what it was, I would be hesitant to return my horses to that field...
My investigation would be thorough and carefully done over the entire area but this kind of reaction should leave a trail of hoof-prints to follow.
🐴....
 

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I think poison sounds the most likely culprit as well, and that a heat compress and maybe some snake oil would benefit the gelding.
 

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Well if it is "poison" be darn sure my horses would not be returning to that pasture location till every plant dangerous is removed...
Obviously the sparse may have become the ingested they normally would ignore, now they are eating....
And with it being in one field, my guess is it may be in all your fields so careful inspection of all needs done.
Best of luck....scary this is to watch your horses endure.
🐴....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! She hasn't been returned to that pasture. My husband wondered that as well and the vet, both mentioned wasps or ground bees as an option. I wouldn't rule it out however am not convinced. I've been all over out there and not found anything, bees or reactive hoof prints. I'm going to go investigate more today when my little one is napping. While the mare came running up to the barn, after we'd gotten her out and walking I left her with my husband and went out back to the other horses. They were not running just because she was, when that gelding saw me he neighed and came up. His buddy stayed out there eating hay and the rest seemed content.
The horse who lives with the mare is a 2 year old who is afraid of his own shadow and sticks to her like glue, he was powder fresh and happy as a clam. He did follow her up but unbothered. If there were bees I think the other horses would be in on it. And if something happened I think they'd act suspicious about going out there? I did ride into some ground bees once and the horse hopped around, we got out of them fine thankfully but after that the next few rides near there the horse was all "stink eyeing" that spot. So given all of that, I tend not to think bees or bugs but I could be wrong, its not un-possible by any means. Also, its 50* so everything is pretty quiet bug wise. We have no fire ants.

Either way, they're up front in the paddock so I can watch them. And she isn't right enough to leave our sight.
 

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I knew of a couple of horses that were killed by Killer Bees, this was in the Rio Grande Valley when I lived in McAllen Texas, they were both staked out and could not get away from the Killer Bees. The way you are explaining/telling this about your horses this makes me think Killer Bees could have came threw and swarmed your horses, but maybe not but it really seems it could have been. I live where we have swarms come threw and swarms of Honey Bees when they are looking for new territory. If any live stock is in the way of theses bees the bees will swarm. I myself have been attacked by these bees as well as other friends, one died. So to me this could be a possible.
 

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The thing with these killer bees and wild honey bees that dont stay in one spot very long when looking for new territory, they will rest a night are two and move on. Sometimes you will see them on trees as a blanket of bees and when you see this you stay clean of them,I see this ever so often while shredding pastures..
I dont see where a kick could have caused all this. I think these are stings from something pretty powerful in my opinion.
 

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We live in Northern Michigan, I have never heard of killer bees being here or being an issue.
I googled and your right no Killer Bees in Northern Michigan..
Boy Howdy we have them here unfortunately and they are dangerous to human and animals/livestock.
Do you have pictures of you horses with the whole body of them not just the close ups? So we can see how they looked.
 
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My husband told me to ask you if you have had any recent freezes. Some plants after a recent hard freeze become killers. Here a friend is doctoring bulls who were poisoned by yellow mustard because of a hard freeze last night.
 

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My thought if it isn't ground hornets would be stinging caterpillars. Not sure what you may or may not have up in your area but they are nasty and if allergic can be serious.
 

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Deer and horse flies are starting to appear now, they’re capable of panicking a horse - we had one who damaged herself quite badly when she got herself hysterical about a couple of deer flies that were harassing her.

Some horses seem more allergic to bites and stings than others.
 

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Watch for other GI symptoms later...it's not recommended to give steroids and NSAIDS together at the risk of GI bleeding. Banamine can stay in their system for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
It was too cold for deer flies and horse flies this week, especially in numbers that would panic.

I'll get a picture of the gelding tomorrow. After washing it in hot water and scrubbing his neck its slowed down on the leaking. The swelling seems to be traveling down to his chest now and hanging off from his body down there so I think its all going down. He enjoys a hot compress or hot water.

The mare is a lot better. She is eating hay up by the barn, not out back or out of eye sight. Her breathing is 50-60% better, her eye lids are just a little puffy but her CHEEKS are really fat and squishy so the swelling from around her eyes must be settling down there. Her skin doesn't seem wrinkly and weird now, she stopped the shaking some time last night and hasn't acted colicky today. Just tired.

My husband told me to ask you if you have had any recent freezes. Some plants after a recent hard freeze become killers. Here a friend is doctoring bulls who were poisoned by yellow mustard because of a hard freeze last night.
Yes! The last couple of nights it has been cold enough to cover the plants. Last week it was 90, this week its been 50-60 during the day and dipping down to freezing at night. I went out in the pasture, took pictures of a lot of weeds and looked them up.
Evening primrose, sulfur cinquefoil, st johns wart, thistle, field pussytoes, knapweed, sheep sorrel (that I am finding is toxic for horses but the symptoms don't match), a couple more that I'm having trouble identifying. The weeds are just coming up. I'll have better success identifying next month I'm sure. A lot of wild raspberries and blackberries. It was an old red pine plantation that was cleared out, very sandy acidic soil so there is not much for grass, just space to roam.
I feed hay year round and plenty of it. I have other thick, lush grass pastures to hand turnout for an hour or so but I prefer to feed hay and limit good lush grazing so I barely use them.

Watch for other GI symptoms later...it's not recommended to give steroids and NSAIDS together at the risk of GI bleeding. Banamine can stay in their system for a long time.
RIGHT.

Thank-you all!
 

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I know at least one of the bulls went blind, and they are in bad condition. Some plants are fine to eat until they hit a hard freeze. Don’t ask me why, but that is the rule.
 
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