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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2012
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    502

    Default Lymphangitis or cellulitis?

    I went out to do chores this morning, and my horse had a huge front leg. He could barely walk, and it was extremely sensitive to touch. I had the vet out immediately, and he administered tons off antibiotics, and gave him banamine. :/ The vet said it was either lymphangitis or cellulitis, and that we caught it super early and expects a good outcome. My question is, with the research i've done, they sound exactly like the same thing. Are they? Or no? They must be treated the same way though right, as the vet didn't do any tests to distinguish between the two. Any info would be appreciated



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
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    10,179

    Default

    While cellulitis can progress to lymphangitis I don't think they're the same think. The latter involves the lymph nodes, whereas the former doesn't. You see serum leaking through the skin with lymphangitis. Here's an article that explains it far better than I can:
    http://www.equinechronicle.com/curre...in-horses.html
    The Evil Chem Prof



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2010
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia
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    3,286

    Default

    I asked my vet what the difference was and I think it was something along the lines of lymphnodes vs cells. My gelding had lymphangitis from scratches, whereas our mare had cellulitis from an infected scratch.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Posts
    3,580

    Default

    I have had vets use the term interchangably. Although, above is correct, cellulitis = cells, lymphangitis= lymph system.

    I think treatment is the same.
    Also, if vet didn't mention it, cold hose, cold hose, cold hose...like as often as you can.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2012
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    502

    Default

    Ya...vet recommended cold hosing and hand walking...he didn't like the idea of an ice boot...i'm not sure why not?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
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    3,715

    Default

    Had this on my old gelding several years ago; Front leg swollen to elbow, AND he had a "man boob" between his two front legs. Lots of antibiotics, hand walking, the more the better. cold hosing. He was back on turnout in a few days, again because the moving is good.

    Not sure re the ice boot, but if yours is like mine, the leg will start to ooze from the fluid pressure, and I can't imagine that a boot will be good on that compromised skin.

    Also, some recommend Furazone (sp?) sweats. I did that for a couple days, and did not see any material difference. It just made a mess.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    470

    Default

    They are different and my vet has told me it can be difficult to tell the difference--the treatment is the same though. That said, she typically considers lymphangitis to be present when it happens multiple times. One weird swelling is typically a cellulitis.

    You may see hair loss and the skin oozing serum, it can look pretty ugly before it gets better.

    I've found surpass cream to be helpful in easing soreness after the major swelling is down.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
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    3,715

    Default

    I have also read that lymphangitis is more common in hind legs...for what that's worth...
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Hi, cellulitis is inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, lymphangitis is inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, a superficial network of which lie in the tissues affected by cellulitis, inflammation of the lymph nodes is ‘lymphadenitis’.

    Cellulitis can be present on its own, or can spread to the lymph vessels, the most common causes are bacterial, but allergens can also cause inflammation. In people it’s easier to spot lymphangitis because the inflamed vessel can show as a red streak in the skin, but in horses it can be harder to distinguish between the two if the area infected is the legs, cellulitis can appear anywhere in the body, but the most common form of lymphangitis originates in the limbs.

    The basic treatment for both conditions is the same, antibiotics, because the cause is usually bacterial, pain relief and anti inflammatories because with lymphangitis, the inflammation of the vessels is what does permanent damage and the need for their use usually outweighs the risks associated with them.

    Cold hosing slows down the blood supply to the limbs, reducing the amount of fluid that’s entering the tissues as part of the inflammatory response. It doesn’t reduce the fluid already there, as this is removed by the lymphatic system (not the blood circulation as frequently but wrongly stated), and the system will attempt to prevent the transport of infection further into the body by closing vessels leaving the lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system and where bacteria are attacked, while they are present. When the infection is dealt with, the system will resume transport of fluid out of the swollen region. Therefore trying to make a horse with an infected leg walk to reduce the swelling is pointless and potentially harmful, and bandaging is also not recommended.

    The risk with the ice boot is that the cold could damage already vulnerable skin.

    It can take a long course of antibiotics to deal effectively with a bacterial lymphangitis, so the horse should never be given any left over from a previous attack as the amount may not be adequate and they may not be appropriate for the cause of the inflammation – and why left over, the whole point of a course of antibiotics is to give them all because bacteria are still present after signs of infection have improved, and this is a great way to breed antibiotic resistant ones such as MRSA!

    Because lymphangitis damages the lymph vessels, a horse may be more vulnerable to further attacks because the system is no longer able to work as well as it did. This may not be until the horse is quite a bit older and the body no longer functions as well as it does in youth, but each attack can cause further damage so even in a symptomless horse, good attention to cuts etc is important. If the history of a horse which develops lymphangitis for no apparent reason is unknown, it’s possible that it may have had it when younger. The horse may be more sensitive to skin complaints, but these should be treated gently, as harsh treatment can dry out the skin and make it easier for bacteria to enter. Enthusiastically picking scabs off mud fever can cause cellulitis/lymphangitis by making a great entry point for infection!

    I know that some of this may go against common veterinary recommendations, and owners should be guided by there vets, but it’s also true that the lymphatic system is probably the least researched and understood part of the horse, and that some very commonly held ideas about it have no basis in scientifically supported fact.


    2 members found this post helpful.

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