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Swelling in UPPER legs???

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  • Swelling in UPPER legs???

    I'm dealing with a few different health issues in my otherwise healthy 18y/o Paint gelding and one of them is swelling in all 4 UPPER legs- from the knees/hocks UP. He is sound, normal temp, no tenderness- but very swollen joints and above. His lower legs are fine- totally normal until just below the knee joints. Has anyone ever seen this before???

    My vet is involved, she was out yesterday to do a biopsy on some suspicious spots on his nose (white face with history of squamous cell carcinomas in both eyes) and coincidentally he had broken out in full body hives overnight Thurs, so she gave him dexamethasone for that. But we can't figure out the swelling.

    I lunged w/t for 15min yesterday and it didn't do much to reduce it. Vet recommended exercising today and I'm checking back in with her later. Thoughts? Suggestions?? So confused.

  • #2
    That’s definitely super confusing. I was going to suggest pigeon fever or some other form of a bacterial infection until I read it was in all four legs

    I guess if it were me I would cold horse, hand walk, and possibly give some Bute to try and bring down the swelling.

    You could also try to make a sweat wrap with dmso/furazone but seeing it’s the upper leg that may be tricky. If he has sensitive skin that may also not be the best course of action.

    i hope you and your vet will be able to figure it out for your boy!

    Keep us updated and sorry I couldn’t be more help!


    • #3
      Gravity is going to affect the location of edema. I would suspect the swelling is secondary to some sort of systemic disease, condition, or reaction and is gravity-draining into the upper legs. I also guess it will likely dissipate downward with time.

      Did the vet recommend any bloodwork?
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


      • Original Poster

        Tex, vet has not recommended blood work yet but what you mention is what I am worried about. I'm monitoring him and staying in touch with the vet, so if it doesn't resolve in another day or so I think we will be looking at doing some diagnostics to get to the bottom of it. Was hoping someone would chime in who has seen this before (and of course that it's some minor issue that will resolve on its own!!)


        • #5
          That doesn't make sense as gravity effect on edema?
          The swelling would go on to the bottom, not stop below the knee on all legs.
          Is there any ventral edema also, under the belly and on to the back, on the sheath?

          When something out of the ordinary shows up, our vets consult with other vets on VIN and their contacts at their vet university and get all kinds of ideas to test for and treat.

          See if your vet, if not sure what is going on, could do that and get other eyes on that, send videos, etc.?


          • Original Poster

            Bluey I didn't notice any swelling anywhere else but also didn't specifically look for it. I'm away from home for a couple hours but will check when I get back home and ask my vet if she can check in with others, even just from the group (it's a multi-vet pracrice with some more senior than others).


            • #7
              One of mine once came in with edema all over his body, except below the knees and hocks, and his head. He was also overly sensitive to touch and fussed about being groomed, which he never did.

              It was winter and our best guess was he'd eaten something, like a weed, that got baled in his hay and he had an allergic type reaction. We dosed him heavily with antihistamines for a couple of days and the swelling went away and never returned.