Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Heat, Swelling or Pain at Injection Site

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

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

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the swelling is large, painful or growing rapidly.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp >101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.

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

  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.
  • If the swelling is mild or moderate, and not increasing rapidly.

Your horse has been injected with medication or a vaccine and now there is a painful swelling in the area. What should you do?

Swelling and pain at an injection site most commonly occurs in response to a vaccination reaction, or to improper injection technique. Tissue inflammation can occur due to an allergic type response to a substance or vaccine, or due to the irritating nature of the injected substance. In rare cases, tissue infection or bleeding may result.

Mild reactions require little treatment, while more severe reactions may require pain management and other treatment.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and share your findings and concerns with your vet.

If the swelling is very recent (several hours) you can try applying ice to the swelling. NSAID drugs like phenylbutazone and Banamine® (flunixin meglumine) may be helpful, but should only be given under your vet’s guidance.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will assess the horse’s general health and carefully evaluate the area to determine the need for local treatment. In rare cases, abscess drainage may be required.

If the reaction is the result of a vaccination that you gave, tell your vet. They will keep a record of this reaction to prevent similar problems in the future. They will also discuss vaccine alternatives with you.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending