Background: Thursday I went out to see my horse around 3:30pm. She was turned out and I noticed from a good 50 feet that there was swelling around her head. As I got closer and put my hands on her, I found swelling from ear to ear in a U shape under her neck. It sits behind her jaw, and when she lifts her head it is very pronounced.
I brought her in and within the hour the swelling had gone down about a third. I put a call into the vet and took her temperature (which was normal). My BO watched her and waited for the vet to call back (I had to go back to work) While I was at work the vet called and told us to give her 8.5 cc's of banamine. Went to administer the injection IM at 7:30pm, the swelling was there but minimal. Gave her the shot.
Friday, checked on her in the A.M and the swelling had gone down. I was told by my BO that in the afternoon it swelled up again, they brought her in and at feeding time it had gone down. Night check she had minimal swelling.
Today (Saturday): I went to check on her and noticed the swelling was back and pretty big. Called the vet again, he told me to give her 4 cc's of banamine every 12 hours. We set up an appointment for monday at noon. I am suppose to call him tomorrow morning if it looks worse.
She is eating, drinking, urinating, and pooping all normally. She has no temperature. When it's the most swollen, she seems at most a tiny bit lethargic. I can push on the swelling and she doesn't really seem to mind. While it doesn't feel like liquid, it is definitely firm to the touch.
She has been turned out in the same field since September and has a pasture mate, no one else in the barn has had an issue. No real food changes, the barn did change hay, but that was across the whole barn and no one has had even the slightest reaction. Plus I have changed her hay several times over the last couple years and she has never had even the slightest reaction.
Sorry this post is so long, I just wanted to give all of the facts. Has anyone had an experience with anything like this?
TIA, I really appreciate it.
Proud Mom of a 2005 Nevada Mustang **Mistress X**
Undersaddle Equestrian Services www.undersaddle.com
Well, my horse just had Potomac Horse Fever, and as a result of that, he had extremely low blood protein...which causes edema (swelling). Also, prior to the onset of the fever, etc., he had some swelling in his rear legs only and no temperature. He was slightly off his feed. After a few days, the swelling went away and he contracted hives. A few days after the hives started, he got the fever. Just something to keep in mind...although if your horse isn't off it's feed at all, she most likely doesn't have Potomac.
Not sure what else can cause low blood protein, but you may want to get the blood checked if it doesn't go away soon. I guess it depends on what your vet thinks too. I am just sharing my experience. Hope it helps.
Edited to add: his under belly is still currently swollen, as well as his sheath...but I've been told it will go down soon.
Edited again: I just realized you were talking about "gutteral pouches"...at the top of the throat. There are several horses in our barn that get those when allergens are running high, or after their shots. They usually just go away without using anything.
A couple of years ago my horse developed some strange swellings in the throatlatch area on either side of his head/jaw area. He had no other signs or symptoms of anything being wrong, and the vet couldn't diagnose anything in particular because there were absolutely no other symptoms at all, and said just to watch it and make sure it didn't interfere with his eating and drinking. I did some research and found a number of reports of horses getting that sort of swelling for no apparent reason and then having it go away within a few weeks, again for no apparent reason. My horse's teeth were not an issue, he had no change in any vital signs, and the swollen places were not hot or sore. There was no drainage around the swellings or his nose, and everything went away and never came back. Some people report this every winter or spring in their affected horses, but it always goes away without causing any issue. I still don't know what it was and neither did the vet, but other than making him look like he had the mumps for a couple of weeks, he didn't seem the least bit affected by it. We did not give him any NSAIDs.
I don't really have any answers for what it could be but the swollen area is most likely the lymph nodes. Warm compresses should help lessen the swelling and potentially cause the "absesses" to burst and drain.
My horse, when he was 5, had a very similar swelling. I was thoroughly freaked out but I called my vet and they said as long as he was eating, drinking, no temp, no nasal drainage etc then to just treat the "absesses". They didn't really call them absesses just sort of absesses. In other words, there might be a foreign object (splinter) etc in there or more likely my horse was fighting off a virus so I was just keep an eye on him. They also said he could have eaten something that irritated him but they won't so sure about that.
I did the compresses for 3 or 4 days, the absesses burst, they drained for another day or so, and I continued the compresses until they were gone. I gave no medication-bute etc. I gave nothing for 2 reasons: no bute as my horse has ulcers and I didn't want to upset his stomach and he didn't seem to be uncomfortable so I figured there was no reason to give him anything (besides, viruses need to run their course).
Now, these absesses came back a few weeks later, I compressed for 2 days, they drained again but only for a day and then they were gone. They came one more time a couple weeks after that, followed the same pattern and now, 5 years later, I've never had it happen again. I was told his lymph nodes may be "bigger" now that they were swollen like that but his are totally normal.
Best of luck! I hope it's mostly nothing like my guy!!!!
I have had the same exact thing happen with my yearling. I think he is allergic to something in the pasture in the fall. When he is in a specific pasture he comes in swollen and then at the night check it's gone. The next day I put him in the dry lot and nothing. Back to the field...swelling. This repeated about 4 times and I pulled him from the field and no more swelling. No fever and no other symptoms.
The same thing happened last fall when he was a weanling.
Other horses are turned out in the same field with no issues.
My horse did this with her previous owner. It was an annual thing almost to the day...late July. I knew her then and actually saw her during an "episode". Swelling just as you described. No other symptoms. She usually only had to give her a dose or two of banamine then it was gone for good. It was decided that it must be some sort of allergic reaction to something that was blooming/growing at that time. This was the first summer that I owned her. I board her at a different barn. July came and went and no "episode". Must have just been something around her old pasture. Hopefully this is all it is with your guy, too.
Happens to my mare every spring and fall, usually accompanied by runny eyes and general lethargy, though never off her feed! Two vets as well as a team at New Bolton decided it was allergies and that was the end of it a couple years later. I still watch her like a hawk though, as she did get a nasty sinus infection once upon a time and needed surgery to flush her sinus. But has not had a runny nose since (touch wood).
I would keep your vet appointment just to make sure it isn't anything more serious, but my experience with swelling like that is allergies.
Hope your girl is feeling better soon! My mare's usually go away with the first hard freeze in the fall - kills off whatever it is that bothers her. Have you had a freeze yet?
The samw thing happens with my gelding in the spring and fall, he swells up while he is grazing and then the swelling is gone overnight when he is in his stall and has his head up. He's a scavenger so it is most likely due to a weed or something that he eats.
I've had a few vets look at him and they all attest it to allergies. A little banamine, or anti histamine during the worst week(s) seems to keep it at bay.
I have several horses that do this in the Spring and Fall. It is not the gutteral pouches, it is the salivary glands. My vet has been here and examined them several times, and there are NO other symptoms. You can try to find the weed that they are sensitive to, but sometimes it's impossible. Ignore it.
\"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo
My horse gets these too. Spring and fall when she is on restricted grazing and so it is probably something she wouldn't normally eat but as she thinks she is so starving .... (yeah right) she must eat something different. She also has had swellings after chiro/muscular treatment so must be lymph nodes draining? I don't bother with the vet. Those abcesses sounded awful though!
First, thank you all for your responses. I thought I was losing it.
So we changed her paddock yesterday, and no more swelling. My vet came out today (and of course she looked totally normal). The vet, my BO, and I walked the paddock looking for anything. My vet took samples of two plants just to check them, but really had no idea what set her off. He wants to pull blood if it happens again, just to see what is setting her off. But all-in-all, she seems fine.
Thanks again for your experiences, it really helped me take a deep breath.
Proud Mom of a 2005 Nevada Mustang **Mistress X**
Undersaddle Equestrian Services www.undersaddle.com
With my girl it's allergies. That is the only place she swells and it has at times been so severe I can't even get her halter on. We have xrayed her head, and fully scoped with nothing to be found. Finally started some feed changes and changed corrals, it's under control. Azium takes it down immediately, but she's a bit of a b%&^$ on azium. It's been at least 8 months since she's had any swelling (and before the feed/corral changes she couldn't go 3 days). We never could find anything in the pen, but she is now in the only pen without vinyl fencing. The vet thinks the vinyl could be a problem.
Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!