Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Swelling on Top of Hip, One Side or Both

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 any lameness or have any other concern.
  • If the area seems painful to the touch.

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

  • If you do not notice lameness or pain, only a swelling.

Changes to the appearance of the top of the horse’s hip can indicate one of several common injuries. The loin (lumbo-sacral area) is critical to performance and comfort as it represents the horse’s “transmission”, the linkage between the motor (hind limb) and body.

Injury to this area can be visible and associated with chronic lameness. A prominent, hard bump on one or both sides of the highest point of the hip is known as a “hunter bump” and is the consequence of (a usually old) strain of the sacro-iliac joint. Old, cold and hard hunter bumps are usually no more than a blemish and do not cause pain. Generalized painful swelling in the area may indicate a more recent injury.

WHAT TO DO

Assess the horse at the walk and trot, especially watching the arc of flight of hind limbs, and symmetry of hind limb movement. Press the area, looking for a pain response. Always compare the normal and abnormal sides for reference.

If you have questions about whether swelling here is significant or not, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses the area and performs a lameness exam to determine whether the abnormality could be causing lameness.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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