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What is this?! Update: Cancer - not Cancer....post 50

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  • What is this?! Update: Cancer - not Cancer....post 50

    May: Thought horse had been kicked in side and bruised ribs.

    June: Took to vet for ultrasound since the area on the girth behind his elbow was extremely sore. When I took him to clinic also showed a large chest muscle which didn't concern anyone there.

    Ultrasound showed no broken ribs - told it will take 6 mos to heal and to stretch horse daily.

    July: Then had another vet chiro and acupuncture to help with pain. Second round of acupuncture was with electro-stimulants. Helped with painful side some. But seems to have moved (?) something from shoulder (which is now collected between front legs and was soft). A few days later that disappeared.

    Aug, Sept go by - still incredibly sore and shoulder (pec) huge.

    Draw blood work/cultures at end of Sept - shows
    Low: Platelet Count
    Low: Lymohocytes
    Low: AST (SGOT)
    Borlerline Low: Creatinine
    Low: RBC/Hemoglobin/Hematocrit
    Aerobic Culture: Beta Hemolytic, Streptococci

    At this point - side still sore - shoulder HUGE and more jiggly stuff collected between front legs.

    I'm killing myself on the internet thinking it is 1)cancer, 2) Pigeon Fever, 3) some form of strangles 4) a kick that is just taking a long time to heal. Anyone have experience with any of this? Does this match anything you have experienced?

    Going back to vet #1 next week to see if they still think kick.
    Vet #2 is treating holistically.
    Treating Anemia.

    Horse eating normal, no temp, very content. The only weird thing he does since this happened is that when he gets up from a roll or a nap he gets up like a cow - hind end first. Figured pulling with front legs hurt the side muscle.

    I have some pics:




    Last edited by HandsomeBayFarm; Oct. 24, 2012, 04:39 PM.

  • #2
    Don't know for sure, but when my horse fell, splayed out on the ground one night, he had a HUGE hematoma on his side right about there - girth area - we're talking 2 feet by two feet. He was Very sore and swollen and couldn't walk well at all. Vet gave him anti-inflammatories, stall rest, cold hosed. After a couple weeks, it looked just like the picture of your guy, with a big, soft sack between his front legs. I was told the swelling (Extra blood?) had just moved down to that spot because of gravity. I couldn't ride him for about 5/6 weeks, but now he is fine. Hope your horse gets better.


    • #3
      Pigeon Fever is not caused by Strep. Its caused by corynebacterium. The strep was cultured out of an aspirate from the lump?
      I love cats, I love every single cat....
      So anyway I am a cat lover
      And I love to run.


      • #4
        Looks like a giant hemotoma or seroma? The culture is a little concerning I would think, and I would want to investigate that further with the vet. (I'd at least want an explanation!)

        Horses often test "anemic" even when they're not, as the spleen stores RBCs and releases them as needed during exercise. A low RBC is not unusual, unless the blood was pulled during/directly following some strenuous work.


        • Original Poster

          Yes. We aspirated all the lumps.

          It was not drawn after exercise.


          • #6
            What sort of fluid came off the lumps? Straw colored? Bloody? Pus?

            Did you run a sensitivity on your culture as well?


            • Original Poster

              The one from the front brought out blood with puss and a chunk of something.

              The one from the side brought out nothing.

              Don't remember if we drew out of the mushy lump from underneath.

              And according to my report the Sensitivites are still pending. Will follow up on that.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                What sort of fluid came off the lumps? Straw colored? Bloody? Pus?

                Did you run a sensitivity on your culture as well?
                I would guess Pus since Strep is a pyogenic bacteria. Have they tested to discover the strain as I think that may influence treatment.

                Keep us posted on the upcoming vet visit. Wondering if draining it would help. Who knows what the initial cause of the injury was maybe he has a foreign body in there or maybe it was trauma that somehow let strep in and let it thrive. I feel like the true pathogenesis may never be discovered.
                I love cats, I love every single cat....
                So anyway I am a cat lover
                And I love to run.


                • #9
                  If there's pus in there, I'd want to have a talk with the vet about draining and flushing. It might not be advised for some reason, but I would at least want to have the conversation and understand the pluses and minuses.


                  • #10
                    If you drain it take video...

                    Please update when you know something. It's very interesting. (Not nearly as interesting when it is your horse, I'm sure.) Sending jingles and good wishes for it to be resolved, and him to get back to good health.


                    • Original Poster

                      And this was yesterday:



                      • #12
                        Is it getting bigger?

                        Bigger would be a red flag for me, especially with your culture report. Is it hot at all?

                        Seromas and hematomas should *reduce* in size as the body reabsorbs them. Infective processes will get bigger as they produce more pus.

                        And yes--if you drain it, take video!!


                        • #13
                          It has grown significantly over the last month or so
                          Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

                          "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW


                          • #14
                            I would not be surprised if there is still a foreign body (piece of wood or something) still in there. The problem is going to be finding it. It *might* be visible on radiographs, but not very likely...or you might be able to find it with ultrasound. Either way, the solution is to open it up and drain it...

                            Adams Equine Wellness


                            • #15
                              Is he on antibiotics? Definitely looks like a big abscess, agree the offending object might still be there but might have rotted away by now. He might have run into a stick or something. I would have it lanced and washed out asap. And take video! Hope he gets better soon.
                              Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                              Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                              • #16
                                A friends race horse developed what looks to be the same thing after he started losing races and just becoming more lethargic. Same swelling.

                                Turned out to be exactly as McVillesMom stated. A sliver of wood from scratching. Once they found it the pus poured out and he was fine after that.


                                • #17
                                  Boy, 6 years ago I could have taken those same photos of my big OTTB. For me this started in July. Same types of swellings in the same areas. First we thought hypersensitivity to wasp sting or spider bite if he had had one in his bedding and slept on it. (We have the occasional Michigan widow and brown recluse native to our area.) Also considered possible foreign object or bone chip on the sternum.

                                  Turned into a bad case of cellulitis under his belly that put him in the university vet clinic on IV antibiotics for a week. Area was ultrasounded, radiographed, lanced, drained, (although not much pus came out) probed, Pigeon fever titered and ruled out. (Was the classic photo to look at though and we were in a very droughty summer.) Didn't find any definitive cause at the time. Was sent home with a month of antibiotic treatment, told to flush & cold hose/ice and bring him back to clinic if he got worse.

                                  Draining tract healed up in a few weeks but reappeared again a few months later. Returned to clinic. Radiographed again in more detail. Still nothing definitive. The surgeon told me something as small as a thorn or tiny hay stem could cause this and we may never find it. He did not think the risk vs. benefit of exploratory surgery was worthwhile unless he felt he had a high chance of finding something and at that point in time he didn't see it. Told me to take him home & let him be a horse - turnout, ride, whatever he was good with (by then the swelling was gone, only a small drainage tract in the chest kept popping open.) Cold hose/ice if I could manage the time. A little helpful hint for you here - I would wrap those flexible ice gel packs in a thin dish towel, put in position and then wrap a couple of tied together polo wraps over his back and around the girth area to hold in place. Let him munch some hay in his stall while I did morning cleaning. I could keep an eye on him, but saved me lots of time and holding in place. (So proud of my boy. He is a model patient when it comes to this kind of stuff so it worked well.) Did this at AM & PM feedings as needed.

                                  What helped most to bring down the swelling, I think, was just plain old movement. Turned out as much as possible and lunged. A good canter was always helpful. We were actually back to riding pretty quickly. he didn't seem to mind a bit, likes having a job. I was always the hesitant one, afraid it might cause him pain, but he let me know at grooming time when his not so good day were and then we just lunged without tack, hand walked, did liberty work if he was game.

                                  This went off and on for about a year maybe almost 2. Ya, I hate to tell you that, but take heart and keep the faith. Drainage tract spontaneously opened up less and less often.

                                  He was a bit more laid back and lethargic for quite a while. (He's pretty quiet normally.) Some of the CBC results were borderline low. Vet had me put him on Lixotinic for a while. Won't say it made a big difference.

                                  Slowly over time it just sort of faded away and we never did find a cause. Not knowing still drives me nuts, but it is what it is. The best part is we developed a really close bond and now at age 17, he is going on 7. Yes, that's right. He has been doing fantastic this last year - happy & sassy in the best ways.

                                  The emotional roller coaster and sometimes on going treatments wear on you at times. But in the end it doesn't seem to have been life or performance ending, just very very frustrating. Hopefully yours will turn out just as well. Hang in there & good luck.


                                  • #18
                                    we get people coming into the hospital with abscesses that won't go away and sometimes there is a foreign object in it. And when it is abscessed it hurts! The guy last week got bit by a snake and still had part of the tooth in his finger.
                                    Derby Lyn Farms Website

                                    Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks for all the support. The worst is *NOT* knowing!

                                      Here are new symptoms as of Saturday:

                                      Big on both sides of jaw:


                                      This weirdness on his face:

                                      Meeting vet today. Going to swab nose as he had snot this AM.


                                      • #20
                                        Wow. That is some serious weirdness you've got going on there. I know your culture didn't come back with strep equi, but maybe you've got some other type of bastard strangles?