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Strange sores - pictures included, more pictures added in post #5

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  • Strange sores - pictures included, more pictures added in post #5

    My horses are on a rotational de-worming schedule, the last one was two weeks ago and ivermectin.

    One week later my horse appears to have a splinter on his sheath. It was taken care of and the vet simply said to watch it and call if it doesn't heal or appears infected.

    It's now a week later and my horse has multiple sores on his sheath, all on the left side with the exception of one on the right. They're not squishy, but they're not entirely hard either. Blood came out with some "things" that I'm not sure what they are. My first thought is a possible parasite.

    I keep the horses at home, he's in a field with just one other horse, he has contact with others over the fence but they are never in the same pasture and they don't rotate into the same pastures. The other horses are clear, have no sores, and are all on the same deworming schedule.

    He had one in his girth area but it had a tick on it. This one was the size of an egg and squishy so I'm not sure if it's truly related.

    What came out:

    What came out, plus a scab.

    One on his girth, squishy lump:

    Sheath, just a couple shown:

    I cleaned the area, they were sensitive. I'm calling the vet on Monday to schedule an appointment. It doesn't seem like an emergency but I don't believe it's something I should be handling without having a vet at least look. Some input would be appreciated.
    Last edited by DexterMorgan; Apr. 18, 2010, 09:11 PM.

  • #2
    The girth one looks like the typical bad reaction to a tick bite. They sometimes get the same from spider bites too. Not all horses get the same reaction, but some horses do.
    What usually works for those is to use a hot damp washcloth held on it for about 15 minutes a few times daily to keep it open, soft and draining. If it gunks or scabs over, soften scab with hot damp cloth and remove scab/crust so it can drain. Or you can slather with icthymol to drain it. I prefer the wet hot cloth...then I don't have a big lump of gooey dirt stuck to the horse.

    The penis sores...and whatever came out...I have absolutely no idea.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!


    • #3
      Read and look:


      Could you be at the very beginning of this? I think the OP in this thread may have seen the sore later.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #4
        Sure might be migrating larva.


        • #5
          I got some more pictures today. The tick bite area has gotten larger. I used a warm compress and a scab came off. There was something under the scab.

          First it drained some clear fluid, then blood, then more of those yellow things and *something* else my poor vision couldn't identify.

          Today's pictures.

          This was a scab-like thing I pulled off.

          More yellow gunk:

          This came out of the tick bite sore:

          Here is the tick bite sore. It's larger today and you can see a hole where the above picture thingy was expelled.

          Other symptoms that I've noticed:
          -Weeping eyes
          -Flaky skin
          -His coat has become duller since starting to shed, he used to have a healthy bloom.
          The other horses are shiny, clear eyes, and skin is flake-free. No bumps or sores.

          He seems itchy yet ouchy on the sores.
          FWIW I live in Missouri although I believe he spent part of his life in Florida. I've owned him for a little over 1 year.


          • #6
            Could it be some kind of internal parasite? Given his overall loss of "bloom"? Very weird. Contact your regional agricultural extension or veterinary college and send them the pictures, too?


            • #7
              Yours seems a little larger than what I've experienced, but I've had a few horses who reacted pretty much just like what you've seem to bug bites - especially ticks.

              They would get gnarly bumps with crusty scabs. When the scab was removed, bloody serum would come out. Shortly after (day or two) the sore would become a kind of mini volcano. It would get a new scab and develop a yellowish 'core'. Sometimes the core would come out on its own when the scab was removed and sometimes it would pop out when the bump was squeezed. When the scab and core were removed the sore resembled a crater.

              My beasties appreciated warm compresses and I tried to be sure to keep the sores clean. Since bugs were the problem in my cases, I put Swat on/around the sore to keep flies away.

              I would definitely worm the heck out of your guy if he's not looking that great, but the sores might not be from internal parasites.
              Y'all ain't right!


              • #8
                Thank you for the input.

                I spoke to the vet at length today and she believes it to be pigeon fever. Unfortunately I can't get anyone to the farm for awhile since it's not an emergency and they have busy schedules. My regular vet doesn't travel that far since I have moved them to home so that's a bummer.

                She believes it may be pigeon fever. The sores were draining a bit today, mostly clear fluid and some blood. Unfortunately my horse is allergic to penicillin.

                If it doesn't clear we'll get samples and have them tested. The summer/florida sores could very well be another possibility.

                Overall the vet was not horribly concerned which calmed me a bit. I've seen horse abscesses, but never had a horse get one, especially not multiple ones. I find them fascinating, just not on MY horse.


                • #9
                  I know this may be way off but also something to consider is bot flies. They are not routinely seen in horses but they cause all sorts of issues in cattle. The sheath stuff just looks like minor irritation and a thorough cleaning of his entire sheath might help there. My guy was an OTTB so he would actually extend on command so I could clean him. If yours is not trained for that I wish you luck but an extensive clean is needed.
                  Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                  Originally Posted by alicen:
                  What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                  • #10
                    You may want to have your vet look at him...from my research (and experience) of pigeon fever the abcesses are much much larger...My horse looked like he had basketball under his skin and the discharge was ozzy puss, not solid. Here is his abcess about 10 days before opening http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y14...s/100_1435.jpg Also to treat him we did not use antibiotics I just cleaned the opening daily.

                    To me your horses sore looks like a summer sore, where the flies are lying eggs in the wound. My friends horse had this problem and we had to clean out the sore every day and keep the flies off of it. He even got one in his sheath.

                    Good luck! L


                    • #11
                      JohnnyB, yeah, I'm definitely going to have a vet take an actual look, but since it's a non-emergency it's going to have to wait about a week and the other vet doesn't drive this far. I wish I had a magic wand to wave to make it go away, or at least to know exactly what it is *now*.

                      His largest sore/abscess is about the size of a softball and is not open. Definitely not basketball size. It seems they start a little squishy, become hard, open and become squishy again, the smaller ones opened fairly quick although the others still have not.

                      One other thing to add is the flies aren't quite out yet. I've seen a couple, but not a ton. I've been looking into fly predators although fly traps seem to work pretty well as well as keeping the area as manure-free as possible.


                      • #12
                        I'm going through the same thing, found a tick in the open sore and removed it.


                        • #13
                          My old mare has about the same thing, we are in Tennessee.
                          I found an egg-size lump under one front leg "armpit" that had a tiny tick on it. Then washed off the scab and found the oozing bloody sore. She has other crusty sores on that leg and a back leg.

                          What I have done is keep washing it, putting Betadine and antiscpetic on it. Today, it was much smaller and softer and I got the scab off and a lot of bloody serum came dripping out when I squeezed. I found a puncture this time and squirted some betadine/water mixture in it and then squeezed some antibiotic cream up in there.

                          She was due a womring May 1 so I went ahead and did an Ivermectin.

                          Wonder if this could be from the 80s degree days we had a couple of weeks ago? Some flies then that are now dormant?


                          • #14
                            The spot on his girth and the gunk, etc. Definitely looks like a tick bite gone wrong to me. Same exact thing happened to my mare.

                            The other sores definitely look parasitic to me (for whatever that's worth) but I'd be willing to bet they were put there from the outside rather than migrating from the inside. Those little bits look like eggs of some kind.

                            Poor boy, I'm sure he's itchy and sore. It's a shame the vet can't get out there sooner, I'm really curious to see what they say... In the meantime, I'd just keep up with the compresses, draining what you can.
                            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnnyB View Post
                              You may want to have your vet look at him...from my research (and experience) of pigeon fever the abcesses are much much larger...My horse looked like he had basketball under his skin and the discharge was ozzy puss, not solid. Here is his abcess about 10 days before opening http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y14...s/100_1435.jpg Also to treat him we did not use antibiotics I just cleaned the opening daily.

                              To me your horses sore looks like a summer sore, where the flies are lying eggs in the wound. My friends horse had this problem and we had to clean out the sore every day and keep the flies off of it. He even got one in his sheath.

                              Good luck! L
                              My area had a huge breakout of pigeon fever year before last, and while none of our horses got it, I saw quite a few (mostly pictures..didn't want to spread it to ours!!) that did, and the absesses all looked the one above. REALLY big, with huge amounts of pus draining once they were opened.


                              • #16
                                Hmm, looks like the same type of reaction my sensitive TB marsie get to tick bites. Large lump, crusty yellow gunk, and then bleeding when tick is removed.

                                Do you know what your horses normal reaction to ticks are? That could really rule out whether it is a tick bite or not. Good luck and I hope you figure out whatever it is.
                                “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                                !! is the new .


                                • #17
                                  My morgan mare was sensitive to tick bites and would get big welts from them (unlike any other horse I knew or have owned), but they never drained out into sores or had big scabs. They were usually on her chest or belly. I didn't pick at or squeeze them, so I never saw anything coming out of them - they were more like the kind of welt I'd get from a bee sting, not abcess-y.

                                  As several posters have said it's not really biting fly season in most parts of the US yet, barely fly season at all in the norther half anyway. So if it's insects it has to be ticks, doesn't it?