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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
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    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default Swollen Sheath? Causes?

    On Sunday I noticed my gelding's sheath was mildly swollen. We've had black flies/gnats out lately so I thought that maybe he was sensitive to them. I got him in November, so don't really have any idea how he is during fly season.

    Monday, it was more swollen. Tuesday, still more swollen. So I cleaned his sheath. Today, even MORE swollen.

    I did put in a call to the vet after hours, but since everything else is normal (temp, pulse, resp, appetite, behaviour), I told the receptionist that it wasn't an emergency. The vet *should* call me back first thing in the AM so hopefully I can bring him down for an appointment.

    Cold hosing 10 minutes per side brought it down slightly but it puffed back up again. I would say the edema in sheath (swelling is near the opening, primarily) is about the size of a tennis ball, I guess. There is mild swelling to his belly button.

    The only other things I can think of that are not normal is that he has a wicked case of scratches that is finally clearing up, and that since December (maybe before) he occasionally has kind of a whistle/wheeze when he exhales. It is not all the time, and can happen when he is forcibly exhaling and can also happen when he is exhaling normally. It does not change with exercise, and is there some days and not others. It is very quiet. I could be making a mountain out of a molehill (I am the type of person that panics over embarrassingly small things--once my pony's left nostril was flared slightly more than the right. I was sure he was having neurological problems. He wasn't.).

    He does have a 2nd degree AV block that resolves with exercise, per his PPE.

    Thoughts??? I'm obviously, freaking out a bit here.

    Oh, he's on 24/7 turnout, so I don't know about his urination patterns. Nothing has changed in his pasture or his feeding or anything. DH and I are his sole caretakers so nothing slips by us.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
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    1,802

    Default

    Are you using any products to repel the flies/gnats? He could be having a reaction.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
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    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    Yes. Repel-X that was diluted to some concentration (don't know) last fall.

    He is wearing *blankets* so I've only been spraying his legs/underbelly/neck, so that could be it. I saw the most drastic increase in swelling today after I REALLY sprayed the sheath area last night, assuming it was bugs.

    That could be a factor. However, I don't think I bug sprayed him on Saturday as the bugs weren't out and about yet--and there was mild swelling on Sunday.

    Oh, wanted to add he's 12 years old, and exercise has not reduced the swelling.

    --Waiting anxiously for 7:30 am to arrive!--



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
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    Default

    Any updates?

    Coincidentally, I called my vet out today for my pony's swollen sheath. It was a bit swollen yesterday, and worse today so I called. The vet's theory is that he was bitten/stung by something and since the belly/sheath is the lowest part that's where the edema was.

    She's having me ride him to get his blood flowing and cold hosing the area for 20 min. Hopefully that will do the trick!

    Best of luck to your guy.



  5. #5
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    Mar. 31, 2004
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    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    SMF11, here is an update!

    The vet didn't call me back. I finally called them at 8:30 and by then the vet had her day booked. We are 2 hours away (YES she's the nearest large animal vet), but I had been ready to haul out at a moment's notice--truck hooked up and everything!

    It took me until 10:30 to get a phone consult and then it was done through her assistant, which was really frustrating because I didn't tell the assistant the "whole story!"

    The vet/assistant said to get some dexamethasone (they called in a prescription to a small animal vet) and to give 5cc of 2mg dex orally for 3 days. The assistant was unclear as to the "diagnosis" but kept saying "protein is in his sheath" which was baffling to me, how she'd know that based on the info I gave her (black flies, normal vitals, normal behavior). The assistant was also unclear as to rest or ride him. She hemmed and hawed and finally said "rest him or work him lightly, don't let him break a sweat."

    Anyway. When I got to the farm, he was dingling his weenie out a bit and I could see red irritated/oozy/bloody spots all over his poor penis! I think that some black flies chewed the crap out of him. The swelling had gone down a little. TPR all normal.

    I had my neighbor come out and she listened to his heart and lungs (she's people heart and lung savvy, but not horse) and she said that as far as she could tell things were fine. She even picked up his 2' AV block without me mentioning it, which is good. Anyway, she compared him to my other four horses and said that his sounds were right in line with the others.

    So that made me feel better. And the fact that he's got what appear to be bug bites makes me feel that it is indeed bug bites! He's never been exposed to this type of nasty gnat/black fly/noseeum before so this could just be a reaction.

    I decided to give him benedryl instead of dex to see if it would affect the swelling, which it did. It came down! Not normal yet, but down. I rode him lightly and he was full of P&V. Swelling came down more with riding. Gave him more benedryl, came down more but not all the way.

    I am going to work/ride him as usual as long as the swelling doesn't go back up again. If it goes back up I'll do the 5cc of dex orally.

    Long reply, I know... but even longer day!

    Under normal circumstances (dealing with our vet directly), I really like her. She pulled my other gelding thru a weird illness last summer. She has tons of knowledge and is very personable, but getting ahold of her in an emergency is basically a nightmare lately.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2009
    Location
    New Jersey / Florida
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    403

    Default

    If it is an alergic reaction to the fly spray or bug bite, you can give your horse an antihistamine like Histall. You can get this in any supply catalogue like Valley Vet. It's relatively cheap and works great. My guy just went through this earlier in the week. I put him on Histall and within 12 hours the swelling was way down and completly gone within 3 days. It's great stuff to have on hand and works for hives too.

    Good luck with it, RiverDance
    Life is what happens when you're making other plans. RiverDance



  7. #7
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Dutchess County, New York
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    Default

    I found out my pony was red and irritated tonight when I fed up where his hind leg meets his belly/sheath. This is a change from this afternoon when there was no redness or peeling skin. His skin seemed to have died and is sloughing off and it is clearly painful for him. But it is not raw where the dead skin is coming off, but "new" pale smooth skin.

    I think it must be the fly spray (what else would have gotten up there?) I used. The patch is about 4" long. And on reflection, I *think* I used Repel-X from last fall too. Hmm.



  8. #8
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    Mar. 31, 2004
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    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    I found out my pony was red and irritated tonight when I fed up where his hind leg meets his belly/sheath. This is a change from this afternoon when there was no redness or peeling skin. His skin seemed to have died and is sloughing off and it is clearly painful for him. But it is not raw where the dead skin is coming off, but "new" pale smooth skin.

    I think it must be the fly spray (what else would have gotten up there?) I used. The patch is about 4" long. And on reflection, I *think* I used Repel-X from last fall too. Hmm.
    Interesting.. I forgot to mention the outside of my guy's sheath is peeling like you described! "new" skin underneath and the blackish/greyish layer peeling off like a sunburn! Yuck! I doused his sheath heavy on Tuesday night (like soaked it) and it was Wednesday morning that the swelling had increased the most. I didn't spray him today as it was in the 40s and no bugs.

    I wonder if the fly spray played a part!?!?



  9. #9
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Default

    Yes, my pony's sheath was the same.

    I think I've figured it out! Someone gave me some Repel-X last fall and I was an idiot and didn't read the label carefully. It is concentrated and needs to be diluted, *and I didn't*. I'm smacking myself about the head right now. I guess it didn't bother the horses where the spray landed on fur, but up by the sheath is where it is so irritated. And just on the pony b/c I made sure to spray him well since the flies bother him more.

    It's the Repel-X, and his idiot owner.



  10. #10
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Default

    PS I'm not sure I would have figured this out w/o this thread by the way. I was struck by the fact that we both used Repel-X, so I was mulling that over in my head a lot. I thought it might have something to do with the fact that the Repel-X was old . . . and when I got to the barn this am, I looked really carefully at the label -- aha!



  11. #11
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    Default

    Did you shake it really well before spraying? If it was mixed that long ago, the concentrate would seperate back out to the botom of the bottle, and the sprayer would be picking up straight concentrate.
    Why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?
    ~ Dave Barry



  12. #12
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    Mar. 31, 2004
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    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    Did you shake it really well before spraying? If it was mixed that long ago, the concentrate would seperate back out to the botom of the bottle, and the sprayer would be picking up straight concentrate.
    I don't recall actually. DH got it for me from the barn and brought it to me in the pasture where I liberally sprayed his poor sheath.

    It may have not been diluted enough, either.

    Today his sheath is still not normal but even less swollen. Gave him a 3rd dose of Benedryl this AM.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Default

    Poor guy. Hopefully it's as simple as that, and if it is, at least he probably won't make the connection and blame his Mommy Every once in awhile we do something that might cause them discomfort, and don't realise it at the time. Then we're stuck trying to figure out if we did it and what we overlooked. Next we wish for it to go away immediately so we won't have to feel bad any longer.

    Last year my horse had a localised reaction from a vaccine that left a baseball sized knot on his neck for over a week. Sometimes I still think I can see it and it makes me feel bad all over again.
    Why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?
    ~ Dave Barry



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