Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Swelling on Outside of Carpus (Knee)

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If you notice lameness in addition to this sign.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • Even if the horse does not appear to be lame to you.

A bubble of swelling of the upper lateral carpus is usually swelling of the carpal canal, which is the structure through which the all-important flexor tendons run as they traverse the carpus.

This swelling may be seen in an otherwise sound horse, but could also be indicative of disease or injury. Of course, direct traumatic injury can cause generalized swelling (that is not as well-defined) in this area.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse carefully for lameness, noting that this swelling may be a possible cause. Feel the area. Do you notice heat here or pain to pressure? Flex the carpus to assess range of motion. Determine if the horse’s range of motion in the affected limb is the same as in the opposite limb, and whether flexion causes a pain response. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will assess the area and may perform a lameness exam to determine whether lameness accompanies this observation. Ultrasound and radiography are the most common imaging modalities used to assess this area.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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