View Full Version : Swollen Hock, but sound horse WWYD??

Jun. 28, 2012, 08:19 AM
While I wait for the vet to return my call, I thought I would see what the COTHers thought.

It looks like Miss Priss got kicked on the outside of her hock. There is a small cut (1" long) that is really just a scrape and already scabbed over. The hock is swollen and is rather solid looking. Maresie is sound WTC with no tenderness. This happened Monday, and I have cold hosed daily, but only gave bute last night as I expected the swelling to go down quicker.

On the advice of my trainer, I am not riding. Mare is turned out at night for ~12hrs.

Any suggestions? Time + cold hosing? Maybe some Surpass? The swelling isn't really in a wrappable area...


Jun. 28, 2012, 09:05 AM
First of all, do get the vet to take a look as soon as possible. It sounds like you already called so that's great.

I would not ride. Just wait to see what the vet says.

To me, it sounds more like a minor infection. Swelling can be a response to trauma (the kick) but usually there is some serious soreness to the touch or in movement as a result. I have found, however, that sometimes the most pathetically tiny nick can lead to some serious swelling due to infection. Just the tiniest bit of crud in a wound can generate a swelling response to try to heal it. Since it's already scabbed over it's harder to say what to do about it. Frankly, sometimes I pick off the scab and then put triple antibiotic on it but this may not be such a great idea.

In short, talk to your vet. See what he/she thinks about infection. Maybe a short course of antibiotics or a special cream will help. Good luck!

Jun. 28, 2012, 09:11 AM
My marsie just got cast under her pasture fence and scraped up the inside of her hock all the way down to her fetlock.

Cold hosing, sweat wraps, cold hosing, sweat wraps, bute, rinse. repeat.

For the sweat wraps, I used my BOT hock boots and standing wraps with celophane left on for 2hrs at a time. That took the swelling down VERY quickly. She had one knick right on a bony protrusion of the hock, which was the last thing to go down. She got cast on Saturday morning, she was A-OK last night. She was never lame, and the swelling never got hot.

Good luck!

Jun. 28, 2012, 10:10 AM
If it were infected, would her temperature be elevated? Infection in or surrounding the hock does not sound good :no:

Jun. 28, 2012, 10:12 AM
Vet just called back and said to just use Surpass, cold hose and a bit of bute for a few days.

You guys have me panicking over an infection...hopefully the vet is right and that isn't the problem!

Jun. 28, 2012, 01:58 PM
You guys have me panicking over an infection...hopefully the vet is right and that isn't the problem!

Didn't mean to cause PANIC! Sorry about that! There is a BIG difference between a joint infection (which are horrendous) and a superficial irritation from bacteria on a lesion. Both are infection, so to speak, but not at all the same level of concern. And no - her temp would not necessarily be elevated from a minor irritation "infection" because the response could be very local (ie: just some swelling trying to carry away the crud and flush it out).

Think of what it feels like when you get a splinter or some kind of minor cut where junk gets in it. Even when you put the antibacterial cream on it it can feel hot and sore even though it is minor. There is "infection" that your body is trying to fight by sending its own first aide there. You likely do not have a fever or serious injury - more like irritation.

But: I am NOT a vet. And this is an online forum and no one has seen the hock but you. If your trainer and vet agree and you trust them then go with their suggestions.

Jun. 28, 2012, 03:25 PM
Vet just called back and said to just use Surpass, cold hose and a bit of bute for a few days.

You guys have me panicking over an infection...hopefully the vet is right and that isn't the problem!

The horse I ride took a kick to the hock - miner cut, swelling, not lame. Hosed, buted, no riding for a few days, then light riding. Swelling gone in 2 weeks, all's well.

Jun. 28, 2012, 03:31 PM
My filly did this exact thing, tiny scratch and filled, pretty solid hock. I cold hosed and watched it for worsening. She never took a lame step so I didn't panic but did keep a critical eye on her. I kept her to her usual turnout (all night so about 12 - 14 hours) and after time the swelling went down with no side effects or long term problems. I was surprised how long it took for the swelling to go away, several weeks if I remember correctly! I kept in touch with my vet and a friend who is a vet tech in KY and both agreed that the swelling was due to the nick and would eventually go away.

Jun. 28, 2012, 09:17 PM
Last year I lost two months to tiny scratch on the hind ankle, that turned into cellulitis despite much work, hosing, etc. Nothing worked and nothing helped until a consensus from three vets resulted in systemic antibiotic and NSAID treatment and there is still a hard bit around it leftover. That was the hardest "little cut" I have ever treated so I don't take ANY of them for granted now.

Jun. 29, 2012, 08:16 AM
Quick Update: Swelling is down a bit, and lower in the hock. Its sounds like these innocent little cuts can be quite difficult!

I'll be hopping on for a walk tonight (per the vet) and continue to cold hose and Surpass through the weekend.

Thanks for the input!!

Jun. 29, 2012, 11:33 AM
Good to hear, MMax!
Cold Hosing- the almost "cure-all". Kind of like icing for almost all human ailments, ;)

Jun. 29, 2012, 11:56 AM
ehhh I spoke too soon. Swelling is back up above the hock. Another boarder (actually this horses previous owner), was kind enough to cold hose for me:yes:.

I think I was a little too optimistic about hoping to have a lesson early next week. Keep your fingers crossed that swelling goes down!

Jun. 29, 2012, 12:09 PM
Hmm. If it's blowing back up, I'd want to be thinking about making sure there's nothing else going on, like infection, a small puncture under the cut, etc. You may not see a temp in those situations, though there's usually a decent amount of localized sensitivity and/or ouchiness - so the fact that he's not sensitive may point more to having banged himself and is working on a capped hock.

They can do the darndest things to themselves from seemingly nothing. I had one blow up this week (lower leg, not hock) from a quite small scrape on the front of his pastern - he'd been nursing it along for awhile, I made the mistake of picking at it on Tuesday night, and it turned into A Big Deal by Thursday morning, complete with vet visit, antibiotics, and equioxx. Looks much better today, but it reminded me once again how quickly something small can escalate.

Jun. 29, 2012, 02:30 PM
I do think that having a vet LOOK at it - not just call to consult - is a really good idea. Just my 2 cents.

Jun. 29, 2012, 02:46 PM
If the horse is not lame I would ascribe to the "Motion is Lotion" theory.
Ice, bute, and motion is lotion.

Simultaneously under the understanding that if Motion is Lotion does not appear to be doing the trick and the swelling does not decrease in 24 hours (I said decrease, not "go away entirely") the vet comes out and brings along the ultrasound/x ray equipment jic.

Jun. 29, 2012, 04:41 PM
One of my kids horses did thye same thing a month or so ago. Tiny scrape-like cut on outside of hock and stayed sound but the hock BLEW UP. My vet said to cold hose (which u are doing) and to put DMSO on it every day to keep cellulitis broken down. She said otherwise, the hock could stay big like that permenantly due to the cellulitis. It worked like a charm for us. Just gave him a few days off w/ the hosing and dmso and he was back to normal.