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Horse has a large boil on his unmentionables UPDATED - habronema sore ("summer sore")

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  • Horse has a large boil on his unmentionables UPDATED - habronema sore ("summer sore")

    UPDATE - See post #9

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------



    I’m posting this because I’ve never heard of anything like this before, much less seen something like it.

    While Furminating my horse this afternoon, he “dropped” partway. He’s normally reserved and shy about airing out his nether regions, but will drop while being curried (especially during itchy spring shedding). It was then that I noticed he had a large boil on the very upper part of his penis, which is visible when he is only partially dropped by about 2-3”. At that point, I also noticed that he was kicking out *hard* at random intervals. Kicking while snapping his toe backwards against the ground (if that makes sense) - actually threw some hoof clods 20 feet backwards this way!

    I had my BO look, and she didn’t like how it looked. Had another friend look when she arrived, and friend (who is also a barn employee there) mentioned that he’d been a bit pissy yesterday, with some kicking out. She almost called me, but thought it was because he was hungry. I wasn’t there yesterday, but was there on Sunday. So we think this started yesterday.

    There is really no heat at all. The lower part of the sheath was a little swollen, although that improved greatly (pretty much down to normal) after I lunged him. Even though he’s kicking at random intervals, he didn’t show any pain reaction when I lightly squeezed and rolled the boil between my fingers. My BO squeezed it quite hard and he didn’t seem bothered.

    The boil is rock hard and rolls easily inside the skin, almost like a marble. There was some of that black soft greasy melty smegma on the middle part of the boil. It was NOT the crusty dry skin stuff, but definitely soft greasy smegma. It came off fairly easily, but underneath there was a pinprick hole with a drop of blood. My guess is that after whatever caused this hole, he “retracted” and some smegma got stuck to it inside the sheath.

    I was reluctant to do hot compresses without adding something (disinfectant?) to the water, because it’s such a dark and warm area, and I was worried about introducing bacteria that could breed up there.

    I am going to be gone tomorrow, unfortunately. But my friend has a good baseline idea of what it looked like tonight, and will be at the barn at around 7am tomorrow. There is a DVM chiropractor coming to the barn from the local veterinary hospital early tomorrow morning, and my friend is planning on showing the boil to him and getting his opinion on whether my horse’s regular vet should come out and take care of that.

    

In the meantime, I wanted to ask if anyone has experienced anything like this anywhere on your horse’s body? What caused it, and what kind of treatment did it end up needing (if any)? 

Could a bug bite cause something like this?

    Pictures from my phone:
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4015/...84498393_b.jpg

    This one makes the hole look like a crater, but it wasn’t. Just the reflection on the raised bead of blood, I think.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2728/...18e5fc1e_b.jpg

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Goo; Apr. 8, 2010, 06:01 PM. Reason: Adding update
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Also, the gnats were really tormenting him tonight. We're in the PNW so they are standard in spring and even in summer, unfortunately. They never, NEVER come into the barn aisle, only outside, yet a bunch were swarming around his sheath while I had him crosstied in the middle of the barn aisle. I'm guessing they could smell the blood. He lives outside so he really needed some kind of repellent on. So in addition to putting his soft clear flymask on for the night, I put on some of the new Minyard's Gnatural cream (that I got from Smartpak - arrived yesterday). I hemmed and hawed about putting it on, but then figured that it was designed to be put over some of the crusty open sores that horses with sweet itch can have. So that made me feel a bit better about some potentially working its way over to the boil. I still stayed clear of the sheath opening and instead just rubbed it in along his belly, back/sides of sheath, and inner thighs. Checked an hour later, and NO gnats! So hopefully the cream won't cause any further irritation. He would have just been eaten alive by the gnats otherwise, I think. They gave him threadworms in spring of last year (which I fixed with a double dose of Equimax), and I really didn't want to give them the chance of feasting on that open sore and depositing more parasites. Ugh.

    Comment


    • #3
      Poor horse!
      "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton

      Comment


      • #4
        The blood is coming out of the center of the bump? So basically its an abcess that is in the process of popping would be my best guess. You may need a course of antibiotics due to the location, talk that over with your vet.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment


        • #5
          Something bit him and it got infected. Are you surprised given the location and tasty, tender skin?

          In my homebrew way, I suppose I'd scrape off the scab to let it bleed, squeeze bit ('cause I'm sick that way) to see if any puss or whatnot came out. Then I'd disinfect with non-greasy agent of my choice. How about some blu-kote (gentian violet) or providine?

          I'd do this for a couple of days and then have a DVM take a look if it wasn't better.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mvp View Post
            Something bit him and it got infected. Are you surprised given the location and tasty, tender skin?

            In my homebrew way, I suppose I'd scrape off the scab to let it bleed, squeeze bit ('cause I'm sick that way) to see if any puss or whatnot came out. Then I'd disinfect with non-greasy agent of my choice. How about some blu-kote (gentian violet) or providine?

            I'd do this for a couple of days and then have a DVM take a look if it wasn't better.
            This.

            Hope he's okay.
            Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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            • #7
              Hay

              Can I say EE-yew!

              I might wash it with Ivory liquid and warm water. It does look like a bug bite.
              Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
              One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
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              • #8
                I don't know why but my very first thought was bot fly. I don't even know if you have them in PNW or not.
                "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Hi everyone,

                  Thank you all so much for your replies! Yesterday was a long day (most of it away from the computer) so I couldn’t update until today.

                  My vet came out to see my horse yesterday afternoon. Bless him, he did it without me there (I was gone until late evening). It turned out to be a habronema sore - aka “summer sore.” I’ve never seen one yet in the PNW, although have heard of them in other climates (particularly the South). But given that habronema = stomach worms, it’s logical that it really could occur anywhere in the country, and probably anywhere in the world where habronema and flies coexist (although there are no regular flies at my barn right now, and almost none in summer - so I think gnats were the transmitters in this case).

                  My vet said that if these sores are not removed, the just keep getting worse and worse. So I’m really glad I was aggressive in having it seen right away. :-/

                  He lanced it and removed a solid tan granular material. He emailed me later and told me he’d left it in a gauze by my horse’s stall for me to look at so of course you know what that means - pictures! It was SO disgusting, yet morbidly fascinating. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m okay with looking at it in person. But my stomach just lurches while looking at it close-up in the photos I took. Ugh.

                  My horse is on a meticulously managed deworming program. I have absolutely no doubt that the larvae that were deposited into the sore came from other (wormy) horses at the barn. It’s a fairly small barn, 17 horses, but there are a few that have poorly managed parasite control programs. I can think of one who I don’t think has been dewormed in about 4-5 years. I can also think of a few on daily feed-through Strongid who I think may not be getting the 2x/yr paste deworming that is supposed to accompany the Strongid program. (FYI, for those who are not aware - Strongid in daily or paste form will not hit habronema. Only ivermectin and moxidectin will).

                  I left a tactful note at the barn about it this AM, explaining what had happened and how it’s transmitted, etc, saying that this meant there's got to be at least one horse at the barn right now who is actively shedding habronema eggs. My BO gives the boarders a lot of independence and hates *requiring* things of them. But I asked her (and she’s someone I know very well - we go back a long way) if she could 1) set up a barn-wide ivermectin deworming right now in order to stomp out the infestation/re-infestation cycle that is currently occurring, and 2) set up some requirements that horses, with whatever programs their owners happen to be using, must be managed appropriately and REGULARLY. I think I might also suggest that she require any new arriving horses to be dewormed immediately.

                  About an hour or so after I left that note, my vet’s office emailed me and let me know that BO had called them asking questions about what I’d told her. My vet will be calling her tomorrow to discuss/confirm what I said about habronema sores, and receptionist said that he would hopefully help her kick-start certain requirements for the whole barn. <fingers crossed> It’s just so frustrating to see others' poorly managed deworming programs affecting the rest of us (who manage our horses meticulously).

                  Anyway... for those of you who get a kick out of the major gross-out factor stuff, here are some pictures of the mass my vet cut out of the nodule. They did the ointment yesterday and I won't be doing today’s application until this afternoon, so I don't know how the open wound looks yet. Sheath is a bit swollen, although not terribly bad.



                  http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/...31b9560f_b.jpg

                  
Using a penny for scale:

                  http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/...e5eb6596_b.jpg


                  Oh, BTW, one last thing. Forgot to mention that I gave my horse Equimax this AM (he gets that in April/May, so perfect timing), and won't hesitate to hit him again with another ivermectin dose if my BO decides to do a barn-wide deworming in a week or two.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You rock! For:

                    Getting to the bottom of what turned out to be a potentially bigger problem.

                    Following up with your BO.

                    Having a vet who knew you and a whole bunch of spectators would want to see the wad of gnarl.

                    Down to taking well-lit pics with a black velvet background that makes the beast stand out..... and the penny for scale is just over the top generous.

                    Very grateful and impressed. Only wish I had been there to see it emerge.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      You rock! For:

                      Getting to the bottom of what turned out to be a potentially bigger problem.

                      Following up with your BO.

                      Having a vet who knew you and a whole bunch of spectators would want to see the wad of gnarl.

                      Down to taking well-lit pics with a black velvet background that makes the beast stand out..... and the penny for scale is just over the top generous.

                      Very grateful and impressed. Only wish I had been there to see it emerge.
                      This! Love the pics!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm also in the PNW, so I want to get this straight: the summer sore is caused by stomach worms, and somehow this icky peach-pit-looking thing, caused by the worms, creates the summer sores? Or did I get that wrong? I've been up for 18 hours, so I could be wrong...
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mvp View Post
                          You rock! For:

                          Getting to the bottom of what turned out to be a potentially bigger problem.

                          Following up with your BO.

                          Having a vet who knew you and a whole bunch of spectators would want to see the wad of gnarl.

                          Down to taking well-lit pics with a black velvet background that makes the beast stand out..... and the penny for scale is just over the top generous.

                          Very grateful and impressed. Only wish I had been there to see it emerge.
                          Ditto!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had my first experience with a "summer sore" last year. I ended up having it surgically removed as well as I was not making a dent in it with topicals.

                            I had double dosed ivermectin 1 week before the surgery. When the results from the culture came back, there were no live larvae or worms in it, and vet feels it was due to the double dose.

                            Anyways, did your vet recommend that you dose ivermectin once a week for 4 weeks as well as apply a topical ivermectin mix to the wound? Thats what I had to do (went to Peterson & Smith which is one of the best equine hospitals in Florida) and it went away quickly.

                            At first I thought my gelding had pythiosis because of the nodules that I picked out of the wound (about 3 of the things you posted pics of) but I didnt know that summer sores would have the little sulfer deposits as well.

                            So glad you got it taken care of and I really hope your BO does something about the deworming program.
                            ~~~~~~~~~

                            Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Y’all are a bunch of freaks, but happy to oblige!

                              MVP, your post totally cracked me up. Thanks (the "black velvet" was the hood of my truck ). Although I did think the occasion was worthy of trotting out my dSLR for these photos! I think I will send them to my vet too, in case he wants them for his files, or for teaching/demo, or whatever.


                              
TheJenners - What happens with habronema sores is this.

                              Say there is a horse actively shedding habronema (stomach worm) eggs through their manure. These eggs will hatch into larvae in the piles. Bugs - usually flies although I’m guessing gnats too - pick up these larvae and deposit them onto other horses. If deposited near the nose/mouth or anywhere the horse can lick off, it enters the horse’s GI tract and infects it with stomach worms. If deposited into a wound, the larvae will settle inside the wound and create a walled-off localized sore. Hence, the resulting mass that had to be removed. I wonder if the visible hole (and other "tubey" looking things?) might be how they got around inside the nodule. Ugh, ugh, ugh. 



                              While my horse rarely drops fully, he does have his penis dropped partially (2-3” at most, what you see in the very first picture in the first post) much of the time that he is in his stall and paddock, and the gnats can be bad in his paddock overnight. I can imagine how the gnats could have bitten there, creating a tiny wound *and* depositing the larvae in the process.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                KrazyTBMare - Oh, thanks for sharing your experience! How big was the one you dealt with? My vet made it sound as if these NEVER resolve topically - they will always need to be removed by a vet each time.

                                

Regarding the recommendations you mentioned for treatment - no, he didn’t. He said it should resolve uneventfully. I wonder if treatment might need to be more comprehensive in tropical-type areas like yours? I did mention in an email to him that I would be hitting my horse with ivermectin (and I did give him two full tubes of Equimax yesterday - not quite a double dose for him since he’s 1600lbs). If my BO does a barn-wide deworming soon I will give him another dose of ivermectin. I’m not sure if the ointment I have contains any ivermectin - the tube is very small and the print on it is teensy tiny, so I’ll try having a look at the label today.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Thanks for posting that very interesting information.

                                  I know my vet recommends when people run boarding barns that they be in charge of the worming schedule.......it should prevent this kind of thing from happening.

                                  Dalemma

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                    The blood is coming out of the center of the bump? So basically its an abcess that is in the process of popping would be my best guess. You may need a course of antibiotics due to the location, talk that over with your vet.
                                    this --- i owuld get a vet and get some anti botics

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                                      this --- i owuld get a vet and get some anti botics
                                      You could bury the horse in antibiotics and it wouldn't make a difference. It's NOT an infection, as the dx shows, it's a summer sore.

                                      KrazyTBmare is spot on with standard treatment. Back in the pre-ivermectin days, those of us in gulf states dealt with this stuff all. the. time. EVERY wound was a summer sore waiting to happen. They are a lot less common these days, but if you can date your horse ownership days to the 70's in the south, you were VERY familiar with the protocol.

                                      Ivermectin weekly and if you can put ointment on the wound, my favorite was a mixture of DMSO, furacin, predef and liquid ivermectin. Summer sore killer, stops granulating tissue and dries up the wound. Survival Kit for the Deep South even today.
                                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        And it gets better (worse)?

                                        Originally posted by Goo View Post
                                        Y’all are a bunch of freaks, but happy to oblige!

                                        MVP, your post totally cracked me up. Thanks (the "black velvet" was the hood of my truck ). Although I did think the occasion was worthy of trotting out my dSLR for these photos! I think I will send them to my vet too, in case he wants them for his files, or for teaching/demo, or whatever.


                                        
TheJenners - What happens with habronema sores is this.

                                        Say there is a horse actively shedding habronema (stomach worm) eggs through their manure. These eggs will hatch into larvae in the piles. Bugs - usually flies although I’m guessing gnats too - pick up these larvae and deposit them onto other horses. If deposited near the nose/mouth or anywhere the horse can lick off, it enters the horse’s GI tract and infects it with stomach worms. If deposited into a wound, the larvae will settle inside the wound and create a walled-off localized sore. Hence, the resulting mass that had to be removed. I wonder if the visible hole (and other "tubey" looking things?) might be how they got around inside the nodule. Ugh, ugh, ugh. 



                                        While my horse rarely drops fully, he does have his penis dropped partially (2-3” at most, what you see in the very first picture in the first post) much of the time that he is in his stall and paddock, and the gnats can be bad in his paddock overnight. I can imagine how the gnats could have bitten there, creating a tiny wound *and* depositing the larvae in the process.
                                        With regards to freaks-- takes one to know one-- and you have the nice camera and exquisitely scientific/artistic sense of composition dedicated to all this so....

                                        I'm also humbled and grateful because I have learned so much. It wasn't no bite as I suggested, but an invasion of _Aliens_ proportions.

                                        You mean to tell me that the peach pit with chimneys was a larva incubator? I'll bet you the tubes were about an air supply for the little buggars. So the whole thing would have eventually blown up and spewed insects? I would have paid to see that, almost as much as seeing it cut out.

                                        The whole thing is just so gross. Thanks for sharing.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat

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