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TOPIC: Swollen Horse

Swollen Horse 20 Jun 2009 20:41 #1

  • irishcas
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Hi All:

I saw something today I haven't seen before.

Went to look at a new laminitic case. Just a little background first. We have had rain for 14 days straight. Except for Tuesday and today the rain was all morning and then hot, humid afternoon sun. The two exceptions were just gray and rain.

Saw a Paso Fino today, gelding 11 years old, skinny can see his ribs, barefoot his whole life.

10 days ago he had an acute laminitic attack, now he is on the mend. I saw him today for the first time, not much to trim, soles are flat but not as bad as I would have thought.

But, his nose is swollen, very puffy and gooshy. Swollen sheath, huge crest, swollen under the jaw line and at the neck. Owner says this all appeared about 7 days ago.

He no longer has DP's, and she has him on an appropriate IR diet.. now. Was on grass and Legend.

I'm used to the fat pads on the neck, over the eyes, and even a swollen sheath but not the muzzle and just two edema like pockets below the loins.

Is this just another form of fat pads?

Thanks
Kim Cassidy
"I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence." Doug McLeod
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RE:Swollen Horse 20 Jun 2009 21:55 #2

  • Katy Watts
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Kim,
I and many other owners of laminitic horses see this. Have also discussed with Pete R, and he has seen this edema line too. It's like horses shrink and swell within days. Like subcutaneous edema all over the body literally overnight with a change in diet. See edema line just about marking. I see this happen just about the time they get sore, although I have also seen it, freaked out, did something (increase exercise or soak hay) and they didn't get sore footed.
http://www.horseshoes.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=234&pictureid=1617

This happened to one mare after a week of bad weather in winter when I couldn't ride.
http://www.horseshoes.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=234&pictureid=1616

also the flap of skin at the stifle filled up with fluid. I took her to the vet right away, and had him draw off some serum and look under a microscope. No fat cells. Just serum. A week later, it got firm, just like fat.

My younger mare has had fat pads pop up over her loins almost simultaneously with getting sore feet, so I have discussed this with Dr. Philip Johnson. Which comes first: inflammation from fat, or fat from inflammation? He thinks that that pain=cortisol, which causes the fat to form. There's a whole lot of chicken or egg stuff with this metabolic syndrome. Even the experts do a lot of guessing.

No clinical studies to confirm, but as someone who watches EMS horses very closely on a daily basis, when they start get get puffy, and they aren't already sore, DO SOMETHING fast. Never did hear about swollen muzzle tho. Usually around eyes, stifle skin flap, udder, sheath or all over subcu.
Are you feeding your horse like a cow?
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 14:18 #3

  • mwmyersdvm
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I would view this as possibly something not associated with the laminitic event or a part of his immune system being deranged which is likely a part of his laminitic problems. One thing that comes to mind is Equine Viral Arteritis which can cause these signs. A variety of protein loss problems may cause this as well. Laboratory work is in order.

M. W. Myers, D.V.M.
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 15:20 #4

  • Katy Watts
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mwmyersdvm wrote:
I would view this as possibly something not associated with the laminitic event or a part of his immune system being deranged which is likely a part of his laminitic problems.

Dr. Myers,
Kim and I spoke on the phone, and she told me that since the heavy rains there, they have massive swarms of biting insects. Horses all bloody. I have heard others say that laminitis seems to be associated with onset of heavy biting insects. Could this cause a system wide inflammatory state, that includes endothelial tissue in the laminae? This is Paso Fino. The researchers I have spoken too recently say that in horses with EMS, enodothelial tissue is more predisposed to damage from inflammatory toxins.
Anxious to hear your opinion.
Katy
Are you feeding your horse like a cow?
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 19:02 #5

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Definitely could be a system wide inflammatory state. Equine Viral Arteritis causes such a state as well as any overwhelming inflammatory process. If this progresses a step or two further, purpura hemorrhagica can set in and this can be deadly.

M. W. Myers, D.V.M.
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 21:31 #6

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I will try and go next week when I get back from GA and take some pictures. Owner says it has not progressed any further than what I saw yesterday since the onset.

Thanks for the info :)

Katy's and the Dr's sound plausible.

Ugh if it can believed the bugs are even worse today Katy. The greenheads have moved in and the HUGE bombers which we usually don't get til the end of July are here.

Blech.
Kim Cassidy
"I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence." Doug McLeod
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 21:32 #7

  • Patty Lynch
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Especially with the wet conditions you describe....what about PHF or some form of Erlichia? I have seen laminitis within days of onset before other symptoms appear .... just a thought. Any other symptoms at all... loose stool, fever, depression, appetite loss, etc? The fever can go un-noticed... have her check it. Has this horse seen a vet yet?
Patty Lynch
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Barefoot When Possible, Shoes When Necessary :)
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RE:Swollen Horse 21 Jun 2009 21:39 #8

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Patty Lynch wrote:
Especially with the wet conditions you describe....what about PHF or some form of Erlichia? I have seen laminitis within days of onset before other symptoms appear .... just a thought. Any other symptoms at all... loose stool, fever, depression, appetite loss, etc? The fever can go un-noticed... have her check it. Has this horse seen a vet yet?

Oh yeah vet has been out twice, blood was pulled. T3/T4 and ACTH vet called owner back and said horse has Cushings. I'm waiting to see the blood to share with Katy and a few others to get an opinion (NOT TO DIAGNOSE)

Horse has been put on Pergolide, not sure of dosage, muzzled and hay is being soaked.

As soon as he was pulled from the grass and taken off Legend he started "improving" I think as far as his feet are concerned, he is lucky had beautiful healthy feet. Soles are looking a little flat but I have no previous photos of feet for comparison.

Waiting for vet to email me xrays.
Kim Cassidy
"I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence." Doug McLeod
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RE:Swollen Horse 24 Jun 2009 02:50 #9

  • Katy Watts
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My two are getting an hour of grazing in the evening. Mosquitoes out in abundance, lots of water around this spring. My younger mare, the more sensitive one with higher insulin had one side of her neck completely covered in hives. Think I missed with bug spray that side. Hot to touch, swollen and lumpy around lymph nodes and throatlatch. I threw wet towel over neck, and gave her an oz of Di-histamine and then cold hosed her neck. After 30 minutes, it's going down. She acts OK. I will check again before I go to bed.

I am going to keep these two covered in bug spray this summer. The biting insects are more toxic than the pesticide spray. People say laminitis comes after rain. Grass after rain is lower in sugar. BUT...... that's when the bugs come out. Laminitis trigger theory #47.
Katy
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RE:Swollen Horse 24 Jun 2009 17:44 #10

Katy Watts wrote:
I am going to keep these two covered in bug spray this summer. The biting insects are more toxic than the pesticide spray. People say laminitis comes after rain. Grass after rain is lower in sugar. BUT...... that's when the bugs come out. Laminitis trigger theory #47.
Katy

Katy, have you tried the 4 thieves bug spray? It works wonders on my guys. You have to use it at least daily, but at least you can avoid the toxins.
Karen Standefer
Southern Oregon
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RE:Swollen Horse 24 Jun 2009 18:23 #11

  • KCmicrobiologist
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You can tell a good horseman/woman when they give detailed clinical observations of their horse. I don't know much about metabolic problems but these posts really help shed light on it so we know what to look for. Here's some more tidbits:

A horse can take a laminitic stance when it has a bean stuck in it's sheath.

If a horse has a multitude of bug bites and general inflammation, areas of swelling the vet may give dexamethasone. This will calm down the immune response. If the nose is so swollen the horse is having problems breathing you can use bute if you don't have dex on hand.

A horse can get Ehrlichia from blood sucking insects or ingesting too many insects (mayflies, snails) in the water. The vet can diagnose Ehrlichia with a white blood cell or platelet counts. Start oxytetracycline while waiting for test results, penicillin won't work.

Again this is not advice, diagnosis/ I'm not a vet / just been around infected horses for a living.
Patrick Funk
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RE:Swollen Horse 24 Jun 2009 18:47 #12

  • Clint Burrell
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KCmicrobiologist;163543 wrote:
If a horse has a multitude of bug bites and general inflammation, areas of swelling the vet may give dexamethasone. This will calm down the immune response. If the nose is so swollen the horse is having problems breathing you can use bute if you don't have dex on hand.

Dex can also induce laminitis, along w/ other steroids I believe.

Clint
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RE:Swollen Horse 24 Jun 2009 20:15 #13

  • Katy Watts
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Clint Burrell wrote:

Dex can also induce laminitis, along w/ other steroids I believe.

Yes, and they understand the mechanism now. one shot of dexamethasone will elevate insulin for 2 days. It is contradicted in horses that are prone to high insulin i.e. hyperinsulinemia. I have asked experts, and they agree that anti-histamines are in order for a horse that has hypersensitivity to insects bites, rather than dex.
Katy
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