My moms young tb gelding developed a pretty tough case of cellulitis this summer, like his whole right hind leg, specifically th hock, looked like a telephone pole and opened up and was pretty much the ugliest thing I or my mother (a RN) have ever seen. It's gotten way better, but is still a far way from healed (vet says next fall he may be suitable for work), fortunately he's a doll and a good patient. She's been beyond dutiful with her care, but we are just wondering about the success rate of success was with these kinds of things? The horse is a CANTER horse, and the woman she got him from would be willing to take him back if needed (we can't keep another useless horse around, already have my retired hunter and 2 brood mares and 2 Clydes for the rest of their lives! Not to mention the riding horses). She absolutely adores this horse and has vowed to see him through this thing, but we'd love to hear from others who have lived through this!
I think it depends on when it was caught and how aggressively it was treated. If you can prevent it from going chronic you should be fine. If not you're in for a long road of worrying and vet bills.
My TB has chronic lymphangitis (similar to cellulitis). He is fine most of the year but he flares up every July or August. It's harder to treat each time. But still, when he is fine, he is 100% sound. So I personally wouldn't be concerned about long term soundness, but the day to day management.
My filly was hospitalized with cellulitis this fall. She was on IV antibiotics as well as having a total of three regional limb perfusions. She was on a months of oral antibiotics when she came home and recovered very quickly.
My ex had a mare who got a small cut and it turned into cellulitis. Stove pipe leg--massive and incredibly painful. Abscessed and finally blew (projectile pus every time she moved...)
We had the vet out 3 times and were about to have her hospitalized. We tried 4 antibiotics that did nothing (excede, smzs an some others). Finally used penicillin and the infection cleared up. This was about a month long process.
Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)
While my horse never had wounds like those in the photos, she did the whole "telephone pole leg" in June of 2011. We think it was from a bunch of tick bites that ended up being nasty little wounds, and then one day, horse had a huge fever and a huge leg... 3 legged lame.
We treated it with antibiotics, and some kind of diuretic, sweat wraps alternating with cold hosing/icing, hand-walks, we're talking like... 3 times a day... It was a long two weeks.
But it worked for sure. The swelling went down and down every day (after the initial 3 days). Brought her slowly back to work (you could tell she'd lost strength in that leg from not putting weight down fully for several days) over the course of about 6 weeks.