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Do you know about swollen horses?

Friday Boots was definitely under the weather.  Stayed in her shelter, shook her head a lot, unhappy.

Sat. she was repeatedly moving her head around to nudge her right upper foreleg.  

I took her for a walk and trimmed her front feet.  She seems pleased to be 'doing things'.

About noon it started to swell up seriously.

Got some antihistamines for her.  She's eating and pooing and peeing okay.  Gave it a hose down.

This morning (Sun) it looks like the swelling has travelled across her chest.  She wasn't nudging her forearm as much as yesterday.

Vet said trauma or insect/spider bite from what I told him about the symptoms.  We have white-tail spiders from Aussie that can give a nasty bite.

Have any of you had similar situations?  I've seen trauma induced swelling.  This just seems very weird.


I hope this isn't what you are seeing but check out our Yahoo group.  These horses all started with mysterious swelling.  This is a very painful condition so it doesn't sound like your horse is here.  We haven't been able to find a solid trigger for this condition but it does seem to start out with a bite, wormer reaction, vaccination reaction, etc.


If it is an allergic reaction I would try benadryl.   Bute is a strong anti-inflammatory and I'd put her on it twice a day also.  Other then that, hosing and trying to keep her comfortable.  

We frequently focus on the cause, but treating the symptoms can make a world of difference in their comfort level and how they deal with it.

I thought I'd add, feel for heat.  If there is a lot of heat, it could also be infected.  I've had three friends now that got serious infections from spider bites and had to be on IV antibiotics for several months each.   So, watch the heat and her temperature.

I've known several horses that get a HUGE swollen leg for no apparent reason. I've heard people call it "big leg".

I hope she heals quickly.

I remembered something about big leg, as well.  I think it had something to do with after an abscess, and also after strangles.  I just read up on it though, and it involves the rear legs.  
Sure hope she feels better.  It's been stressful just dealing with Gunner's forever abscess and heel bulb injury.  Seems like he's been off forever, since the end of Feb. You feel pretty helpless when you don't know what's wrong and your horse is in trouble.  What did your vet say to do?  Any cold hosing?  Meds?  Walking or stall rest?  Sure would be nice to know why she's swollen.  How is she doing today?

If you find a spot where there appears to be a 'bite site' I'd dress it with clay & get it started drawing.  I've used this with rattlesnake bite in dogs & spider bites in humans & horses.  The clay will draw toxins out through the skin.  It'll need to be changed as soon as it stops drawing... then over time you can do it once every 2 hours.  I know it sounds weird... what can clay do?  But it works.

Thanks you guys.

The vet gave me some bute on Sat, which seems to have made her more comfortable.  Will continue it for a couple more days.  All those jam bute sandwiches aren't the best for her waistline.  

Yesterday it was more swollen, this morning it seems to be abating.  She seems happy in herself other than the discomfort.

She let me palpate the area today and I could feel a bump like a bite.  She has her winter coat so it wasn't obvious.  She was very protective of the area so i didn't think shaving it was a cool idea.

Most of the swelling is now sitting above her knee, as gravity has pulled it down.

I took her for a walk this morning, then spent about an hour sitting with her and Smoky reading.  She spent quite a while trying to get me to dispense carrots and sort of hung around grazing.  She was fully into smiling as well, and was happy to play the 'tuck' your nose game.  She can now 'tuck' and walk on and halt and back up with it still 'tucked'.
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