Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Swelling, Anywhere on Body, Generally

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

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

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

  • If you notice lameness in addition to this sign.
  • 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 Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you consider this a chronic and relatively mild problem that is not changing rapidly.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

I included this record to provide you with more information on the process of swelling itself.

Swelling occurs for a variety of reasons. Trauma, inflammation, infection, cancer and hernias are just a few reasons for swelling. Keep in mind that swelling is the body’s normal response to a variety of insults. Swelling from injury occurs because vessels are damaged, allowing fluid out into the tissues. Swelling from inflammation occurs when vessels become leaky and blood flow increases to an inflamed area.

Swellings over the abdomen have the potential to involve breaks in the body wall (hernias). Large hard swellings may be hematomas or abscesses. Soft, fluid containing swellings may be seromas. Swelling that has the consistency of dough and pits with digital pressure is likely an edema.

The key to identifying the potential causes of swelling is the location and anatomic structures involved.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) and assess the affected area. When assess the swelling carefully compare one side of the body to the other for reference. As you feel the swelling, consider it’s consistency: Is it jiggly, firm, or doughy? Does the horse respond in pain when you press on it? Does the skin around the area of swelling feel warmer than other areas? Send a photo to your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet evaluates a swelling in terms of its location and anatomic structures involved. By careful observation and palpation of a swelling, vets can often determine the nature and potential severity of a swelling. Needle aspiration and ultrasound are two diagnostics that are of great help in determining the cause of any swelling.

POSSIBLE TREATMENTS or TherapiesTo Lessen or Resolve the Sign

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