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Oral lesions, vet confused, anyone ever had this happen?

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  • Oral lesions, vet confused, anyone ever had this happen?

    Hi all -- I used to post here a lot but haven't been back for a long time. (If you remember me, yes I still have Embrace Reality and he's great, still has funky stifles here and there but 90% of the time he is his super athlete self, knock wood...)

    I have a slaughter rescue originally from TX who has won the "stump the vet" game. She had a mild gas colic three weeks ago and received the gas-dispersing shot from the vet, then got gassy again and received Banamine, which did not improve her outlook on life so she was also tubed with fluids. She started eating after that and pooping fairly normally and was returned to her paddock.

    Three days later, she didn't come in to eat and when I got there to check on her she had normal gut sounds but severe body soreness all over, especially walking down hills. No heat or swelling anywhere and no particular response to flexion, no digital pulse. She did eat after being forced to move as far as her food bowl, and drank lots of water, but had to be fed where she was standing the next day because she didn't want to move. After 2 days of the soreness continuing we brought her into a stall and gave her a low dose of bute and started her on Ranitidine in case the pain was originating from ulcers.

    The vet did bloodwork and an examination which found several small cuts/sores on her tongue. Bloodwork showed elevated fibrinogens and slightly elevated white blood cells, so she had seven days of antibiotics (still on ranitidine) and bloodwork was repeated. After starting on the antibiotics her appetite improved but she continued to eat slowly and had an unusually high consumption of water, too, but no terribly unusual urination. The second blood panel (post-antibiotics) showed fibrinogens and WBC count are normal now.... but she has MORE, and DIFFERENT oral lesions.

    Her pulse, respiratory rate, temp, capillary refill, and defecation are normal. Her energy is slightly low and she has lost some weight, but she would not appear "depressed" or "lethargic" to an observer -- just knowing her, she isn't QUITE herself, but NQR as opposed to "sick." She has a current negative Coggins and hasn't left the farm since having it.

    Ideas considered and thrown out:

    Could it be from her teeth? No, the lesions are in the wrong spot and her teeth are due for floating but not in BAD shape at all, just slightly pointy.

    Could it be viral, e.g. viral stomatitis? Vaguely possible but the illness originated DURING a snowstorm and we have had enormous amounts of snow this spring in Colorado, there are hardly any insects. Nobody else on the farm has any symptoms. One horse who lives near her but doesn't share any food/water and has never touched noses with her had severe diarrhea recently and recovered; other than that nothing but a couple of mild impactions during severe weather.

    Could it be a reaction to bute/banamine? I liked this idea, because I felt she got worse after receiving banamine... except that I remember clearly noticing she was indicating pain in her mouth and had increased salivation BEFORE she received any of those drugs, during the gas colic episode. She has never in her life had any NSAID (to my knowledge) prior to this.

    Could it be poisonous plants? No, she didn't graze at all before this -- grass was not growing. She was in a dry paddock eating hay and Equine Adult feed.

    So... that's where I and the vet are currently. She seems 90% "fine" but still has mouth sores, increased thirst, and occasionally I see her nipping at her sides (but is also shedding and somewhat itchy).

    Vet is an excellent doctor and is repeating bloodwork AGAIN looking for more things like signs of impaired kidney function (no sign previously but checking again). But while I wait, I thought I'd check here and see if anyone has heard these particular "hoofbeats in the night" and caught a zebra before...
    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

    -my gelding is a ho clique-

  • #2
    Any chance you have blister beetles in your hay?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks joiedevie for the reply! I've checked through her hay every day since she's been stalled and didn't find any, and the other horses eating in the paddock where she was when she got sick don't have oral lesions (I had the vet check my gelding too since they get turnout together, and he is also fine). It's possible that she got one and had a severe lasting reaction or is super sensitive, but I haven't seen any and the only other sick horse was the diarrhea case this week. I believe we are getting local hay from Colorado where they supposedly aren't found -- but I will call the barn owner and find out for sure where our hay is from currently.

      Is there a test I can ask the vet for that would show if she was exposed to blister beetles?

      ETA: I just looked again and apparently the first map I looked at was wrong, the black blister beetle IS found in Colorado. I haven't seen anything in the hay but it is possible...
      "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

      -my gelding is a ho clique-

      Comment


      • #4
        So can only comment on the lesions part, but my gelding also developed oral lesions all over his mouth and tongue while at a show. we narrowed it down to the hay I was getting at the show, something in it literally was burning his mouth somehow. he also was producing an abnormal amount of saliva, as in pouring out of his mouth.

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh!!! We're dealing with that right now near Sioux Falls, SD. Our vets are stumped too. Only thing on our part is our horse's vitals and bloodwork all came back fine. I posted about it a couple days ago on the thread "vet too busy" Symptoms were salivation/drooling, NQR/kind of lethargic, refusing her treats/eating slow, extreme moodiness, body soreness - bucked off someone getting on her bareback, a couple days later was visibly flinchy to any touch, progressed to labored breathing and actually cribbing on the water tank and pulling it a couple of feet! Got her to the vet and they found "erosions" on her tongue - no idea why. Thought maybe chemical burns, like creosote or something like that, but we've had nothing like that near her. Maybe blister beetles, but she's on straight grass hay, no other symptoms/kidney issues, ad no other horses have any problems. We have no idea at this point what's causing it! Very frustrating!
          If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
          ~ Maya Angelou

          Comment


          • #6
            Hmmmm what/when was she dewormed with last?
            Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
            Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
            "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Tif_Ann View Post
              Oh!!! We're dealing with that right now near Sioux Falls, SD. Our vets are stumped too. Only thing on our part is our horse's vitals and bloodwork all came back fine. I posted about it a couple days ago on the thread "vet too busy" Symptoms were salivation/drooling, NQR/kind of lethargic, refusing her treats/eating slow, extreme moodiness, body soreness - bucked off someone getting on her bareback, a couple days later was visibly flinchy to any touch, progressed to labored breathing and actually cribbing on the water tank and pulling it a couple of feet! Got her to the vet and they found "erosions" on her tongue - no idea why. Thought maybe chemical burns, like creosote or something like that, but we've had nothing like that near her. Maybe blister beetles, but she's on straight grass hay, no other symptoms/kidney issues, ad no other horses have any problems. We have no idea at this point what's causing it! Very frustrating!
              Oh my gosh! That does sound so similar! If my vet turns anything up I'll tell you and vice-versa? It's crazy! Don't you hate knowing they hurt and not knowing why???
              "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

              -my gelding is a ho clique-

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                Hmmmm what/when was she dewormed with last?
                Ivermectin at the beginning of the year -- she was due April and I was waiting for our spring vet clinic to get her done because they always do it with the little gun to make sure it all goes in... but by the spring clinic she was sick!
                "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

                -my gelding is a ho clique-

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do you have foxtails in your hay? They can cause oral lesions and some horses are more sensitive to them than others.

                  Pictures and more information:
                  http://www.westernhorsereview.com/bl...i-loathe-thee/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by future vet View Post
                    Do you have foxtails in your hay? They can cause oral lesions and some horses are more sensitive to them than others.

                    Pictures and more information:
                    http://www.westernhorsereview.com/bl...i-loathe-thee/
                    Seeds from Pigeon Grass can do it too. The seed heads are deceptively soft. I had a horse develop a mouth full of ulcers from feeding hay that had a lot of Pigeon Grass in it.
                    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      did the vet actually test for viral stomatitis and rule it out? last year there were 2 cases reported in Colorado. The symptoms of soreness etc. sound like systemic illness.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by CrowneDragon View Post
                        Seeds from Pigeon Grass can do it too. The seed heads are deceptively soft. I had a horse develop a mouth full of ulcers from feeding hay that had a lot of Pigeon Grass in it.
                        I've gone through her hay pretty well, but the vet is going to have her do a hay-free diet for a while unless this third round of bloodwork shows something else, to rule out something I can't see.

                        I think THIS round of blood will be the viral stomatitis antibody test. Didn't do that last week because the previous bloodwork indicated a possible bacterial infection, so we went with 7 days of antibiotics. The vet says she does not seem sick enough for viral stomatitis, but she's definitely a stoic mare after everything she's been through in her life! It would be very, very weird for an insect-transmitted virus to hit her in a month where we had the most snow on record for April EVER in Colorado... but I guess anything is possible, and honestly I'd prefer a nice virus to some sort of mysterious kidney disease or something!
                        "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

                        -my gelding is a ho clique-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any chance your hay has Foxtail in it?? http://www.horsejunkiesunited.com/?tag=foxtail

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh sorry just saw someone else mentioned it already above! Worth checking out though, if you look at the HJU article I linked above there are photos of what the lesions looked like on my mare as well (and she had them internally as well).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Shahrazade View Post
                              Ivermectin at the beginning of the year -- she was due April and I was waiting for our spring vet clinic to get her done because they always do it with the little gun to make sure it all goes in... but by the spring clinic she was sick!
                              Ours too. Weird!
                              If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                              ~ Maya Angelou

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I had a gelding quite some time ago who had mouth sores/ulcers and intermittent colic. He just didn't look quite right. Spent a long time trying to find out what the problem was and it turned out he had eosinophilic colitis. Longer it went on, worse it got --- exploratory surgery is when they found out that his colon also had the sores/ulcers, and that every place there were sores, the colon didn't work. Biopsies told us what he had. He was put down 6 months later. It's an off chance, but might be worth thinking about.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Donkaloosa View Post
                                  I had a gelding quite some time ago who had mouth sores/ulcers and intermittent colic. He just didn't look quite right. Spent a long time trying to find out what the problem was and it turned out he had eosinophilic colitis. Longer it went on, worse it got --- exploratory surgery is when they found out that his colon also had the sores/ulcers, and that every place there were sores, the colon didn't work. Biopsies told us what he had. He was put down 6 months later. It's an off chance, but might be worth thinking about.
                                  Yikes! Don't scare me like that! (Really, I appreciate the realism... I hope that's not it, she's never had a colic episode before and she is pooping normally right now... but EEK)
                                  "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

                                  -my gelding is a ho clique-

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by BuckskinJumper View Post
                                    Oh sorry just saw someone else mentioned it already above! Worth checking out though, if you look at the HJU article I linked above there are photos of what the lesions looked like on my mare as well (and she had them internally as well).
                                    Yikes! I will be so upset if that's the case, my barn is usually really good about getting good hay. I've gone through it though and not found anything and the vet says the tongue lesions don't look right for foxtail, and her gums aren't involved.
                                    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

                                    -my gelding is a ho clique-

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'd personally take her off hay for a week and see if it helps. You can get a hay pellet to make up for the loss of forage.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Which white cells were slightly elevated? What did the rest of the bloodwork look like? That can say a lot about what the body is fighting (or not fighting). My first reaction was a systemic reaction to something she ate. Either she has a sensitivity to it or it was a very unusual thing that she ate. It could also be that these lesions are from her teeth needing to be floated and maybe she chews on the insides of her mouth (which could be exacerbated from some foodstuff irritation). What did your vet think about antihistamine/anti-inflammatory treatment? Does your vet think immunosuppression is a part of this story?
                                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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