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Recurring sinus drainage/infection--ideas?

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  • Recurring sinus drainage/infection--ideas?

    So I am going to look at a really nicely bred horse this weekend (who is also priced very nicely as her owner has health issues). They have told me that for the past 6-8 months, the mare has had what appears to be a recurring sinus infection, where it drains yellow for a few days and then goes away...then comes back a month or so later. They're getting me the treating vet's number so I can find out more, and then I'll talk with my vet, but looking for experiences with anything similar. Apparently doesn't respond to oral SMZs or injectable penicillin, and xrays of her head didn't show anything.

    I'm wondering if it might be a pocket of infection somewhere in her nasal cavity, which I understand might require drilling a hole and flushing with antibiotics. Not sure I'm prepared to take that on, as I have a new baby, a full-time job, and 2 horses already at home.

    Anyway, if anyone has dealt with anything similar, I'd greatly appreciate your experiences and thoughts.

    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!

  • #2

    These can be really frustrating and can be anything from a tooth that needs to come out, a tumor in the sinuses, infection (bacterial or fungal), etc.

    Even with great diagnostics and treatment, depending on what it is, it might be VERY difficult to get cleared up (if it can be "fixed" at all).

    I would pass - you might get lucky and it could "just" be a tooth, but the fact that SMZs and Penicillin don't clear it up would concern me.


    • #3
      Could it just be that the wrong antibiotics are being used? Talk to your vet.
      "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


      • #4
        Drilling and flushing is no fun, believe me. It is a LOT of work and if you don't stay at it, it may very well come back. Also, the vet has to know where to drill which is not easy and the diagnostics can be $$$'s.

        I'd suggest they get back to you if/when the mare is cleared up.

        Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.


        • #5
          If it turns out to be a horse you really like, I'd have it scoped and get some x rays of your own done before you commit. I've been through flushing and sinus flap surgery to remove a sinus tumor. Definitely not fun!!
          Y'all ain't right!


          • Original Poster

            Well, I have to give major kudos to the owners--they just called back and are going to take her off the market and get the issue resolved, and will call me when it's cleared up to see if I'm still interested. I am very impressed with their approach and will happily wait to get her.
            Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


            • #7
              Actually, taking a peek with a scope through a trephine hole into the sinus is usually pretty quick (it is done standing with sedation and local block) and is usually fairly inexpensive AND is many times conclusive. Our surgeon does 99% of all of his skull surgeries/problems standing (and he does them internationally). Good luck!
              And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Revelation 19:11


              • #8
                One of my horses has a draining tract midway between his eye and nose. When I bought him, it looked like a healed puncture wound, so it didn't concern me. I bought him in February... you will see why this is relevant.

                It started to get inflamed over the summer. It drained, got swollen and eventually turned into a disgusting volcano of flesh. Two surgeries and multiple expensive diagnostics later (with no answer, I might add) you know what solved the problem?... A freaking flymask.

                I bought a long flymask to guard the incision and his face actually got better. Took the flymask off and it started to get inflamed again... So, I put the flymask back on and voila!

                I have had the horse for seven years now and have learned that he absolutely cannot have flies anywhere near his eyes. He is now in a flymask 24/7, except for riding, 365 days a year. It turned out to be a very simple solution to a perplexing problem. I'm not saying it's your solution, but you never know.


                • #9
                  I knew a horse with these symptoms who ended up having a dental-origin tumor in his nasal cavity. The problems resolved after nasal surgery. The whole experience was not cheap though.


                  • #10
                    I've got a boarder that had a pretty bad sinus infection/discharge. He's an old guy, teeth worn down to the gum line. Two bouts of medication and it came back again. Vet warned it would probably be chronic. Poor guy was losing weight, meds made his tummy really upset so I had to dose him rectally twice a day - boy did he hate to see me coming!

                    Please don't try this at home - and don't ask me why this is working:

                    Out of desperation I tried a "Breathe" supplement that a boarder had left over. After a couple of days - discharge - disappeared; couple more days, horse stood nickering for his bucket (first time in 2 months); now he comes running at feed time (4 X's/day for him).

                    This old guy is putting weight back on and finally shedding out.

                    I took the supplement container to my vet and neither he nor I can find any medicinal reason why it's working - but it's definitely helping or at least giving relief from the nasal discharge.

                    So for now, we're crossing our fingers, and holding our breath. This is a pretty old guy and it wouldn't take much to knock him down for the count. And if it does come back, of course, we'll treat it as aggressively as his age will allow.
                    You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!