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Hard Facial Swelling - Tooth Abscess??

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  • Hard Facial Swelling - Tooth Abscess??

    One of my girls has a swollen zygomatic ridge (zygomatic ridge = projecting cheek bone). It's hard, cool, non-painful, and two to three times the size of the one on the other side of her face. I'll call the vet in the morning. But, in the meantime, has anybody seen this before? It's a new one for me!

    ETA: Folks who have dealt with tooth root abscesses, is this how they presented? My girl doesn't have any nasal discharge - just the swollen face.
    Last edited by MaresNest; Jun. 10, 2009, 10:50 AM.

  • #2
    My gelding does this frequently. His is self inflicted from continuing to crib with a tightly adjusted collar. It cuts off the circulation similar to a hairbow around our wrist.

    When I remove the collar it diappears.

    Does your mare chew, crib or do anything else destructive?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Hi IK,

      Thanks for the quick and constructive reply!

      This girl is not a cribber, though, and generally doesn't do destructive things.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        shameless bump to advertise new thread title

        Comment


        • #5
          gutteral pouch problem? A gelding at my barn had such a swelling. It didn't smell and didn't appear to be painful. The vet located a tiny opening that food had worked through into his gutteral pouches. He flushed it out, and then put the horse on a special diet (sorry, can't remember what it was!) until the opening closed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mine just had a facial swelling not too long ago that presented like that - but it was near the throatlatch area, so we feared strangles. Had the vet out. She cultured it, but said that if all his vitals were normal, etc, that she suspected a sting or bite on the face. Happens this time of year apparently when they're grazing with all the pollenating going on down there. There was no heat or pain or tenderness in mine's - might be the same thing if that's also how yours presents. Not sure exactly how the swelling looks, so this might not help. But I hope it does

            Edit to add - as far as the tooth abcess theory, that is what I thought about mine too, but the vet said they very rarely present without heat or tenderness.

            Comment


            • #7
              It might be a tooth root infection. My horse developed a tooth root infection that presented with hard (felt boney to me), cold swelling at the root of the premolar. We did x-rays and the diagnosis was based on those. We did a month of antibiotics and it's gradually resolving. In fact, vet is coming out Monday to do the (hopefully) final set of rads.

              Mare did not appear to be in pain, though for a time she did start dunking her hay some. She was not in work at the time.

              Perhaps your mare has developed a tooth root infection of one of her upper molars?
              Full-time bargain hunter.

              Comment


              • #8
                My 4 y/o filly had the same experience a year ago. Hard lump came up overnight - no heat, appeared nonpainful. It was a tooth root abscess. It also resolved over a month with antibiotics.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks Everyone for all the helpful replies! I've spoken with the vet, and he thinks that it's unlikely to be a tooth abscess because there's no nasal discharge. So I'm going to watch her closely and wait for a few days.

                  Those who have cared for tooth root abscesses before... Did the horse have nasal discharge?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MaresNest View Post
                    One of my girls has a swollen zygomatic ridge (zygomatic ridge = projecting cheek bone). It's hard, cool, non-painful, and two to three times the size of the one on the other side of her face. I'll call the vet in the morning. But, in the meantime, has anybody seen this before? It's a new one for me!

                    ETA: Folks who have dealt with tooth root abscesses, is this how they presented? My girl doesn't have any nasal discharge - just the swollen face.
                    How old is she?
                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No nasal discharge or any other symtoms with mine. However, I did need a second vet opinion to diagnose it.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                        How old is she?
                        15.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My mare also did not have any discharge or odor. There was some soft-tissue involvement, but I don't remember any heat present.

                          My vet took x-rays and said she wasn't sure what it was, so she took the rads to the vet school and the diagnosis came back as a tooth root infection. We treated with metronidazole and SMZs for 30 days.

                          I did not think that a tooth root infection was the same thing as a tooth abscess ... Ghazzu?
                          Full-time bargain hunter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MaresNest View Post
                            15.
                            Guess that eliminates problems with the eruption of the permanent cheek teeth as a differential...
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by onelanerode View Post
                              My mare also did not have any discharge or odor. There was some soft-tissue involvement, but I don't remember any heat present.

                              My vet took x-rays and said she wasn't sure what it was, so she took the rads to the vet school and the diagnosis came back as a tooth root infection. We treated with metronidazole and SMZs for 30 days.

                              I did not think that a tooth root infection was the same thing as a tooth abscess ... Ghazzu?
                              A tooth root infection could result in an abscess.

                              As for absence of nasal discharge, could well be that any abscess present hasn't yet penetrated into the sinus cavity.

                              In this horse's case, probably waiting a few days, if the mare isn't particularly bothered by whatever it is, will either result in a spontaneous resolution of the swelling or a progression that may make diagnosis easier.
                              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                In this horse's case, probably waiting a few days, if the mare isn't particularly bothered by whatever it is, will either result in a spontaneous resolution of the swelling or a progression that may make diagnosis easier.
                                Here's hoping for the former.

                                Thanks for all the input, Everyone!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The second and third premolar roots don't reach the sinuses. If the root is abcessing I believe you've described how it might look.
                                  http://www.traditionalequinedentistry.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had a young mare with this sort of thing. Felt like a bony growth, but this one on the underside of the jaw, cold to touch, no tenderness. Had the vet look at it, she said it felt like a bone cyst, nothing to worry about unless it got big, hot etc. So I ignored it, and oddly enough it eventually went away.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      UPDATE

                                      Well, this is turning out to be a tough nut to crack.

                                      I gave her some Bute, which helped a bit, but not much. The vet came out after she had had the Bute, and was confident that the problem was in the skin above the tooth root, not in the tooth root itself. We did a thorough mouth exam/floated her teeth and found nothing abnormal.

                                      The vet's first guess was that we were dealing with an abscessed bug bite. There was a tiny, scrapelike boo boo associated with this thing, which I had originally thought was from her rubbing her head. Then, a few days later, a second tiny, more hole-like boo boo appeared. So, abscessed bug bite seemed like perhaps a reasonable guess. So I started hot packing the thing and using Ichthamol on it. Unfortunately, it got worse instead of better. It blew up more, with the swelling trailing all the way down to the corner of her mouth. And her skin got raw and started to peel from the Ichthamol. So, clearly, I discontinued that.

                                      She has had big reactions to bug bites in the past, for which I treated her with Tri Hist granules. So I traded the hot packing/Ichthamol for cold hosing and Tri Hist. I also gave her some Banamine yesterday. The swelling is down today vs. yesterday (though it's still big), but now she's got a case of the blah's. Not colicky, no nasal discharge, still nothing going on in her mouth, still not really painful on the lump. Her skin is sore now from the Ichthamol incident, though. And she's less interested in eating than usual. Like, she ate her breakfast, but slowly. Her temp is 100.8, and it's 100 degrees here today. So I'm not inclined to be real concerned about a temp of 100.8. Nonetheless, we are starting her on a course of SMZ's now.

                                      Suggestions? Clearly, I'm consulting with vets about this in the real world. So no need for anyone to worry about the whole 'circumventing the vet in favor of the internet' thing. Just interested to know what other folks' thoughts are, since we really haven't had much success yet.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It could also be a spider, tick or scorpion. Here in FL we have seen this before. Also "kissing bugs." The venom of all of these bugs can eat/destroy or abcess tissue that it contacts. All of these critters can cause long term (30 days) lymph node swelling and various flu or allergic-like signs with or without fever. Anti inflammatories like bute and antihistimines can help if they feel bad, your vet sounds pretty on top of things.

                                        Comment

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