My gelding came in from the pasture today with swelling behind his jaw. Equal swelling on both sides, soft and squishy. He's acting completely normal, no temp, gobbling up his feed, and being obnoxious in general. I'm going to call my vet tomorrow if there's no change since they were already closed by the time I found it, but I'm hoping someone on here might have some ideas. I'm thinking its some sort of allergy since it is spring. Plus he only goes out in this particular pasture 2x a week so maybe that has something to do with it. Any thoughts? TIA
I bet if you search for grass allergy, you'll find some other threads. I've had a couple of horses that do this -- something about the new grass, or perhaps the pulling up of the roots on the new grass, that makes the glands behind the jaw puff up. With mine, they'd come in from paddock/pasture like that, be in the stall overnight, and by morning the swelling would all be gone. The first time I saw it, I freaked out thinking my horse had strangles or something, called the vet, and he talked me off the ledge. I bet with your horse, he'll be fine tomorrow.
my 15 year old mare came in from pasture with huge nodes behind the jaw and a bit swollen in poll area. took her off pasture and swelling went down. they are still a bit larger than usual three weeks later. she has no change in anything else. this happened when frost hit. i was thinking of having the vet out but must be an allergy. i keep her in a paddock now and she can reach and eat some grass. i am wondering if this is going to go away. never happened to her before. i had a mare a long time ago that swelled everywhere due to buttercups. the only experience i have had with allergies. yours seems to have happened in spring. is it gone yet??
OP: I moved to Florida 15 years ago and have experienced this 2x per year every year I've been here, however it does not happen to all horses. The first time it happened I called the vet, mine presented exactly the way you described. My vet said it was an allergy "of unknown origin", likely a plant, not life threatening, said some horses could have a clear discharge from the nose as well. He also said some horses react to the allergen and some don't. He doesn't treat the symptoms unless they persist for more than a week.
I typically see this in the fall and again in very early spring, it always happens during cool temps followed by a "heat wave" for several days. My vet said he thinks its due to an annual type of plant that dies out quickly when it gets cold, but is also quick to sprout if it warms up.