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Seroma - Please help, my vet's on vacation

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    Seroma - Please help, my vet's on vacation

    About 2.5 weeks ago, my horse got whacked by flying debris (don't ask ...) on her right front leg, front and center, several inches above the knee. The cut was stitched. She then developed a seroma between the cut and her knee. I did not know what the swelling was, assumed it was simply from trauma so I did not act immediately.

    My vet came out Monday (6 days ago) and told me it is a sermoa. She had me express the fluid using a massaging action up & out the still-draining wound and apply a pressure bandage. I did that twice/day. On day 3, I got the last of the fluid. The remaining swelling was a firm swelling and there was definitely nothing more to express. My vet said that the pocket that used to contain serum will fill in with a fibrous tissue, and that may or may not eventually reduce.

    I continued the pressure bandages. Yesterday morning - 5 days after starting to express fluid & wrap - her leg looked almost perfect and the wound is definitely closed now.

    Yesterday afternoon, my farrier came. I brilliantly decided to give her a break from her bandage. She had it off for a total of 3 hours. And the site of the seroma completely blew back up. I was shocked, since my vet had said that the previous swelling would be fibrous tissue.

    I was going to FINALLY start her back to work today, but now I don't know what I should do. And my vet is on vacation for a week.

    Any idea what caused the swelling to reappear? It shouldn't still be serum according to my vet, but what is it?? Is it OK to put her back to work or will I cause further damage? I'm a bit anxious to get her going as she has a stifle that likes to get loose and I want to minimize that.
    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

    My mare flipped over a jump at a show one year and developed a grapefruit-sized seroma on her chest. We put a drain in it and gave her a week or so off, but went back to light work pretty quickly (not a stifle issue like your guy, but she also did a lot better when kept in some form of work).

    It was several years ago, so I don't have the best recollection about how it went (I know I've posted about it before, so if the search is back to working again you might try a search for "seroma"), but IIRC, it took close to 3 months for the fluid and swelling to go away completely. I think we kept the drain in for a few weeks, and then expressed fluid for what seemed like forever. And anytime I did too much with her it would swell back up again (nowhere near the original size). But the seroma never appeared to cause her any pain or discomfort, and I had my vet's blessing to keep working her.

    I guess I would be surprised, based on what you've said, if the seroma had reabsorbed completely in only a few days. But I am far from an expert, and I don't know what the implications of a seroma on a leg are. My mare had hers in a spot that is prime for collecting fluid anyways, so my vet set the expectation for me that it could take a lot longer to heal because of that. I personally wouldn't want to work my horse unless I had the "all clear" from my vet, but I wouldn't feel that the vet needed to see it to tell me with something as relatively simple as a seroma. So despite her being on vacation, perhaps you could try calling your vet and asking?
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW


      If vets are on vacation they usually leave a number for you to call in case anything comes up. If your vet did this, it certainly wouldn't hurt to call that vet and ask that question.
      If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
      Desmond Tutu


        Original Poster

        Just saw this. Apparently the "notify" feature also is not working.

        I talked to a friend and she explained that I could expect to see this thing up & down for a few weeks or longer, and that taking the pressure bandage off isn't helpful. (I think I learned that lesson, lol) I lunged lightly yesterday with no adverse consequences, so I think I'm ok to start her in light work.

        PNWJumper - this was a pretty small seroma, maybe like a flattened golfball, or not quite.

        AFA the vet, I did text her but she's on vacation and set the expectation that she wouldn't be available, and I'm on the wrong side of a state line for her backup.

        Thanks for your help, I appreciate it.
        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince