Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Bump or Swelling around Anus, Vulva or Tail Base, Non-Gray Horse

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.
  • If the horse appears to be straining to pass manure.

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.

Skin lumps and bumps around the anus, vulva or tail base are not common in non-gray horses. Like bumps in other areas, they can be tumors, cysts, abscesses, granulomas, foreign bodies, bruises, hematomas, seromas, or result from a variety of other conditions.

In gray horses, by far the most common (and usually benign) condition causing bumps in this area is melanoma. In non-gray horses, this is a rare diagnosis. Thus in non-gray horses lumps and bumps in this area raise greater concern.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to their temperature, attitude and appetite. Evaluate the lump or bump. Is it firm or soft? Singular or multiple? Is there heat in the skin around it or pain to pressure? When did you notice it and is it growing larger? Is it “angry” (inflamed, red, painful), or is it oozing blood or other liquid or material?

Contact your vet promptly if the swelling is deep and large or painful, or if the horse has a fever, is depressed or not eating. Consider taking a photo of the mass and sending it to to your vet for discussion.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet uses physical examination, ultrasound and needle aspiration or biopsy of the mass to determine the diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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