Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Drainage from Site on Lower Limb or Leg

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 severe lameness accompanies this sign.

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

  • If you do not notice any lameness or stiffness.

Drainage or pus from a site located on the lower limb is of great concern because of the number of vital structures (joints, tendons, and tendon sheaths) located right under the skin. If these structures are involved in a wound or injury, it could be a life-threatening problem.

Tiny wounds involving critical structures can appear minor but can result in severe, life-threatening lameness if infected. Once that happens, treatment is often very difficult and expensive.

The presence or absence of lameness is helpful in determining the severity of conditions affecting the lower limb. If the horse is not lame, in many cases, it may mean that important anatomic structures are not involved.

WHAT TO DO

Assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to the presence or absence of fever, lameness and swelling of the area. Check other limbs to see if similar drainage exists elsewhere.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet must determine whether the problem is potentially serious. The equine lower limb is a sensitive and important region and there are critical structures right under the skin. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat a problem in this location appropriately could result in severe and permanent lameness.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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