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Swollen Lymph Node no other symptoms?

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  • Swollen Lymph Node no other symptoms?

    Just wondering people's experiences with swollen lymph nodes in throat latch area. My horse showed up with hard swelling in throat latch area this weekend and no other symptoms (eating, drinking, no fever, or runny nose). Horse has not travelled anywhere in 4 months. I called Vet and she said it was lymph node, so she pulled blood work and aspirated the node to send off for strangles test. Blood work is already back and everything was normal; again suggesting to vet its not Strangles. Vet expects horse to be negative for strangles, as there are no other symptoms. Just curious have others had swollen lymph nodes like this (that was not starngles) and how did you get it to resolve? What caused it? Vet thinks my horse's swollen node may be due to neck wound she got in pasture about a month ago that has been slow to heal, possibly causing local infection in the lymph node which is about 6 inches from the old wound. She is suggesting when we get Strangles test back as negative we put horse on antibiotics. Just wanted to find out about others experience with this. Thanks
  • Original Poster

    Oh and a little more details on the swollen area itself; it is fairly hard and reminds me in size and texture of big over-cooked hamburger patty mis-shapened into more elongated shape under the skin. Doesn't seem to bother horse when touched.


    • #3
      Are you sure you are not feeling the thyroid?
      Charlie Piccione
      Natural Performance Hoof Care


      • Original Poster

        Vet says it is not Thyroid, as that was her first thought when I called her about the swollen spot I found, but when she examined horse she said it was definitely Lymph node.


        • #5
          Is it over the jowl? Has he been out at pasture? Maybe "grass mumps".
          Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


          • Original Poster

            Its underneath the jaw, behind/underneath her right cheek bone. If you look at horse profile from the right side the cheek bone looks a little longer than normal as the swelling extends below the bone slightly when looking at it from side view. Does go in pasture usually but since we found swelling Vet has confined horse to stall until we definitely rule out Strangles just to be safe because the horse is at boarding barn; horse has been inside 5 days now with no change better or worse; my understanding with grass mumps is that if removed from pasture swelling should go away within a couple days so do not think it would be mumps.
            Last edited by Char0308; Mar. 7, 2012, 11:39 AM.


            • Original Poster

              So do Antibiotics sound like the normal next step?


              • #8
                Originally posted by Char0308 View Post
                So do Antibiotics sound like the normal next step?
                No. No. No.

                What came out when the vet aspirated the node? Is it being cultured (grown to identify pathogens) or just tested for strangles?

                Swollen nodes can happen in a normal response to something minor (maybe a virus that he's vaccinated for or an otherwise minor virus). The immune and lymph systems are doing their jobs and keeping the horse healthy (even according to blood work!) I would personally not be giving prophylactic antibiotics in this case. Could upset the GI tract causing the immune system to redirect focus (aka be stressed) and not do as well as it is now. To be aggressively treating, I would simply give the horse 5-7 days off, watch any signs of illness (take vitals 1-2 times daily), and rerun the blood work in a few days to see if WBC count changes or inflammatory markers go up. To be least aggressive, just ignore it and reevaluate in a week.

                Don't expect the swelling to be gone in less than 2-3 weeks.

                If you want to really get after a diagnosis, have cytology and a culture done (if not already) and have it checked for cancer cells. If all comes back negative you really want/need the node smaller I would look into a local steroid injection.


                • #9
                  FWIW, my boy had an abscessed lymph node about 6 years ago and it sounds identical to what you're dealing with. Before we found out what it was I really thought it was Strangles but really couldn't figure out the lack of fever, lethargy, etc. He never had a temperature or anything and I was conversing with the vet about it daily. We decided to leave it alone and not give antibiotics.

                  A couple days later during one of my daily palpations to check for anything different it ruptured and had a really nasty hard white hard clump come out of it that resembled a cattle grub. I took it to my vet promptly and she determined it was just a clump of white blood cells. After seeing it, she determined it was an abscessed lymph node and I just flushed the hole daily and it hasn't come back since.
                  "Be the change you want to see in the world."
                  ~Mahatma Gandhi


                  • #10
                    my horse gets hard lymph nodes UNDER his between the widest part of the jawbones. they are called the submandibular lymph nodes. they have never gotten so swollen that they were visually obvious just hard and enlarged to the touch...

                    this usually happens when:
                    A: he stays in a high dust area
                    B: is stressed more than usual.

                    nothing has ever come of it.... I usually toss him outside or make sure to give him a couple days off to make sure he gets enough healing time (with turnout of course...just to chill)
                    *Member of the Quality Free-Choice Hay/Pasture Feeders Society* Member of the As Much Turnout as Possible Group* FEED by WEIGHT not VOLUME*


                    • #11
                      I had a boarder whose horse had this like once a month, usually lasted 1-2 days, vet was unconcerned.

                      My horse had a similar occurence just 1x, lasted less than a day.

                      It can signify some bigger issues, but if your vet isn't worried try not to panic--it can just be "one of those things."


                      • Original Poster

                        We ruled out strangles with test of tissue from the lymph node, so now Vet just wants to wait a week and see what happens. Wound on neck is also almost healed now, so we are waiting on antiobiotics. After a week if no change she wants to ultrasound and re-conisder a course of antibiotics. Ugh! This horse is training fabulous and feeling fabulous. We have an entry in for a show the first weekend in April; and I am not sure what to do about it. I am just not sure how show management will feel about me competing with a horse that looks like chipmunk on one side :O(


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Char0308 View Post
                          Its underneath the jaw, behind/underneath her right cheek bone. If you look at horse profile from the right side the cheek bone looks a little longer than normal as the swelling extends below the bone slightly when looking at it from side view. Does go in pasture usually but since we found swelling Vet has confined horse to stall until we definitely rule out Strangles just to be safe because the horse is at boarding barn; horse has been inside 5 days now with no change better or worse; my understanding with grass mumps is that if removed from pasture swelling should go away within a couple days so do not think it would be mumps.
                          One of my horses had very similar symptoms to yours. Enlarged lymph node under jaw, no fever, no change in appetite, etc. Test for strangles was negative. It turned out to be an abscessed lymph node, a month of SMZ's cleared it up.


                          • #14
                            Sounds like no concern. My guy gets swollen glands in the exact same place particularly when the seasons are changing. Vet says no worry.

                            Currently he's had swollen glands for several weeks. Vet just did a blood test for non-related concerns. He is the "perfect vision of health."

                            Glands/nodes swell when the body is fighting something. Could be seasonal allergies, something new in the grass or hay. As long as they are not having trouble swallowing nor showing other symptoms, it's no worry.


                            • Original Poster

                              Well its only been a couple days, but near where Vet originally needle aspirated for tissue sample, there is now huge looking pimple like spot with no hair (the diameter of quarter), so we think its going to burst. Now just crossing my fingers it does it soon so we can starting flushing it daily and this can be done. Wish me luck.


                              • #16
                                My mare has one; started out as a large swelling, then the head appeared and it drained pus- it has been about 7 weeks and the pus comes and goes- one vet said she might need surgery to take out the lymph gland? I don't think so- I am going to hot pack it again and see if it softens up and then have it lanced- one vet said she has seen many of them- she did not have a temp- it is sore but she has never quit eating or feeling rather frisky in cool weather- the pus is a bit gross!!!!!!


                                • #17
                                  Could it be a bite above gland or is it gland?

                                  I posted about this last year sometime-COTHers said spyder bite on neck. He still has a hairless hard place but it is slowly getting better.
                                  Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Peter Drucker


                                  • #18
                                    I had something similar, even to the point of developing the head you're now describing - which eventually burst. Everything else was normal. We did a course of SMZs and it went down in size. I have no idea if the SMZs helped or if it was just a timing coincidence. A couple months later, and it's completely gone. I would still plan on going to your show since your horse doesn't seem to be bothered by it.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks for all the feedback. It did Burst but not much seemed to come out. So we decided to put on Antibiotics (we used Excede) and its already 30-40% smaller one day after first shot of Excede; not sure how much is meds and how much is because it burst, but so glad its seems to be starting to go away. Then it will just be the process of getting the wound area from the rupture/burst to heal up and look decent in time for the show which I think is do-able since I have 3.5 weeks. Thanks again to everyone.