What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Jugular Vein Lost or Damaged


There are two jugular veins, found in the right and left jugular furrow of the lower third of the side of the neck. The jugular veins carry blood from a horse's head back to its heart.

A jugular vein can be damaged by poor intravenous (IV) injection technique, or irritation from an IV catheter used during veterinary treatment. A hard or "corded" jugular vein indicates blockage of the vein by a clot (thrombosis). If you try to hold off a clotted vein, you will notice no normal fill upstream. Over the long-term, a clotted jugular vein becomes less and less obvious. Someone trying to hold off the vein will simply not see anything.

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your role


What To Do

Assess the horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to whether the horse also has a fever. Examine the area. If the area is cord-like, hard and non-painful, veterinary treatment may not be needed. If however, there is heat and swelling in the area, or your horse exhibits a pain response when the area is pressed, your vet may need to examine your horse. Regardless, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

your vet's role

Your vet assesses this area using physical exam. Ultrasound is very helpful for visualizing the specific nature of the problem. Horses can survive and thrive having lost a single jugular vein.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is there heat, swelling or pain in the area?
  • How does this area compare to the other side?
  • Do you notice any swelling of the head?
  • Does the horse have a fever?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

Very Common
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Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP