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View Full Version : Horse looks like Hamster, swollen head???



Riorider
Sep. 30, 2010, 09:30 AM
Has anyone had there horse come in from being outside half the day and found him/her with a swollen head? Swollen under chin at throat latch and cheeks. Has anyone heard of feeding Tox defy? Or has anyone had this happen to their horse??

SkipChange
Sep. 30, 2010, 09:37 AM
I don't know but I've been dealing with something similar I believe. Has been intermittent for a few weeks. Had the vet out, the swelling was not present that day. His lymph nodes were swollen and vet ultrasounded them to be sure no rupture or abnormalities, looked fine. He's still fine in heavy exercise, no trouble breathing or returning to normal after a workout. Couldn't find anything else wrong with him and told me to call him the next time it swelled up again or if any additional symptoms such as runny nose, difficulty breathing or eating develop. Suggested it could be some guttural pouch disease, but symptoms aren't quite right for it with my guy.

Houston33
Sep. 30, 2010, 09:46 AM
Sounds suspicious of a plant toxicity from the pasture. Talk to your vet about what toxic plants are common in your area. If you are in the west/midwest part of the country it could be a plant called Russian knapweed.

Riorider
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:18 AM
I live in Pennsylvania never heard of that plant before.

Spud&Saf
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:20 AM
Did you check for a fever???

DiablosHalo
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:30 AM
Might be way off base but... I had a TB gelding turned out and he was playing with another gelding over the fence. They were playing halter tag. He actually cracked his jaw on the top of the fence post. I saw/heard it happen or I'd have never thought of it/believed that is what happened. He kept playing so I didn't think anything of it. Brought him in that afternoon and his jaw was slightly swollen. By that night- his entire face/cheek/jaw was a balloon. It went right down with meds but what a shocker that was.
Sad thing is- the owner picked him up on the 2nd day after it happened and shipped him to FL. I felt so bad for him having to ship with a headache!

gusbabe
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:30 AM
I live in PA as well. A horse where we board had a similar problem. The vet said the horse was allergic to a fungus which is on the clover. they kept him in a few days and he was better then. Hope this helps!

Jaideux
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:41 AM
Kinda sorta sounds like "fat head" or "grass head", but those usually happen (around here) in the spring, when horses are starting to get full days of grass turnout because, well, the grass has reappeared. Panicked me the first time I saw it but it resolved on his own overnight, IIRC.

BAC
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:42 AM
I was just visiting a friend's horse at an equine hospital and there was another horse with a swollen jaw. They said he was much improved and had originally come in with a grossly misshapen head, which they attributed to a spider bite.

Hunterlover17
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:47 AM
I had a similar experience with a QH mare two years ago. After turnout she was found in her stall with an extremely swollen head, throat latch, mouth, cheeks, and swelling starting to going down her neck. She was acting normal and eating/drinking. No temperature and no discharge from her mouth or nose. The edema was so bad you could put your finger into her cheek and the hole would stay there for over 10seconds.

I called the vet right away. Over the phone the vet's initial thought was Strangles - eek!! He came out right away. He took blood work but after examining her, he then thought she may have a sliver of hay stuck in her throat and was having an infection but she didn't have a fever to coincide with this idea. He decided to treat her with an antibiotic anyway and told me to call within 1-2 days if she wasn't improving.

The mare was back to normal within 2 days. His final diagnosis, some type of viral infection. It was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen! Good luck with your horse!

Hunterlover17
Sep. 30, 2010, 10:51 AM
p.s. This happened in February in New England so it was nothing she ate in her tundra-like field...unless there was something in her hay?!? However the other 25 horses on the farm didn't experience any issues.

shawneeAcres
Sep. 30, 2010, 12:39 PM
Could be SO many things, allergic reaction, virus, snake or bug bite. I would take temp and have a vet take a look. We had a mare get snake bit and her head swelled up and was horibly huge, luckily did not affect her breathing. She had to be on antiinflammatories for several days and then anitbiotics to prevent infection. It did heal with no complications, altho she did have a necrotic area around the bite that took a while to heal. Have had horses have allegic responses to soemthing in the enviroment and swell in the glands.

jetsmom
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:01 PM
Might be way off base but... I had a TB gelding turned out and he was playing with another gelding over the fence. They were playing halter tag. He actually cracked his jaw on the top of the fence post. I saw/heard it happen or I'd have never thought of it/believed that is what happened. He kept playing so I didn't think anything of it. Brought him in that afternoon and his jaw was slightly swollen. By that night- his entire face/cheek/jaw was a balloon. It went right down with meds but what a shocker that was.
Sad thing is- the owner picked him up on the 2nd day after it happened and shipped him to FL. I felt so bad for him having to ship with a headache!

Jet did something similar, but cracked the top of his head on pipe rail fencing, and wrenched his nuchal ligament. His head swelled to the same size as the base of his neck the next day (in spite of the vet giving Azium/banamine). He couldn't lift his head up, due to the pulled ligament. Jet was having a really hard time breathing, because the swelling was blocking his airway, so the vet had me holding his head up for 20 min every 2 hours. It was awful. He''d groan in pain and his whole body would start to tremble, when I rested his head on my shoulder. I did that for 2 days before the swelling went down somewhat.
I hope your guy gets better.

SkipChange
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:10 PM
Riorider, I'll be interested to hear what the problem is if you figure it out. I'm in a very different area, Alabama. My vet is coming again Monday for routine vaccinations and will follow up on my intermittent swelling problem.

Riorider
Sep. 30, 2010, 01:50 PM
Well my horse after 2 days is fine. Vet said it's a grass gland that when your horse is a pig and eats almost all day he overworks that gland and due to his head being down the edema goes to of course the lowest part while grazing. His head. He had no fever, eating and riding as normal. Just some crazy thing that some horses can get. We are keeping an eye on it but vet feels he will be fine. I never had it happen before but anything can happen owning a horse and it seems if it's weird or odd my horse will get it,LOL

SkipChange
Sep. 30, 2010, 02:08 PM
Ahhh! Never heard of that before. Learn something new everyday, I bet that's what's going on with my guy too as I generally don't notice it on days when I ride at night, usually worst when I ride him earlier, right when he's coming in from pasture.

Isabeau Z Solace
Sep. 30, 2010, 03:26 PM
I'll have to ask the vet about a 'grass gland.' I call it 'chipmunk cheeks' and presumed it was from a poisonous plant of some sort. But 'piggy horse head' sounds just as likely for the equines in question;)

Jaideux
Oct. 1, 2010, 08:26 AM
Well my horse after 2 days is fine. Vet said it's a grass gland that when your horse is a pig and eats almost all day he overworks that gland and due to his head being down the edema goes to of course the lowest part while grazing. His head. He had no fever, eating and riding as normal. Just some crazy thing that some horses can get. We are keeping an eye on it but vet feels he will be fine. I never had it happen before but anything can happen owning a horse and it seems if it's weird or odd my horse will get it,LOL

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but how exciting that for once I was right about a long-distance guess about a horse's condition! I'm so glad that's all it is for you, too.

When you look it up, consider using "fat head" or "grass head", as that is what I've heard it called around here.