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Discussion on All four legs swollen

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Donna Tully
Member
Username: Josey049

Post Number: 6
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2002 - 1:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 16 month old palamino mare. I went to check on the horses this afternoon, and noticed her pasterns and ankles were swollen, and her cannons were somewhat swollen. She was not showing signs of severe pain or lameness. In fact, she was hardly showing any signs of pain at all. I hosed her legs down with cool water and watched her a while, but she was acting as she always does. By evening, the swelling was more profound and even her knees appeared puffy. She ate her evening feeding as she always does. I took her temperature, and it was 102.5. I rubbed her legs down with linament and watched her a while, and she acted normal. I went out just a few minutes ago (about 5 hours later than before-yes, it's midnite!!) to check on her and all four legs from her pasterns to her knees are still swollen. One of her front legs and one of her back legs are slightly more swollen than the others. They are not swollen to the point that you are unable to make out her ankles and knees, but they are really puffy and look 'tight' (like when our fingers or ankles swell from a sprain or injury). We moved here to Oklahoma in mid July and she has been on this pasture since the first of August. Neither of the other two horses are showing any signs of swelling or fever. We do not have any black walnut trees in the pasture either. She is due in October for her vaccinations, her last were given in April. She recently got her West Nile Virus Vaccine (the first dose and is due her booster in 2 weeks) 3 weeks ago. I noticed a small area on her lower right rear pastern that appeared to be slightly oozing - more like a clear thick sticky ooze. I did not notice any cuts or bites, etc. We live in Southwestern Oklahoma. Does anyone have any idea what could be the cause of this swelling? I read the articles on photosensitation and leg swelling. Are there any other signs or symptoms she would be exhibiting if she had liver problems? (The whites of her eyes are white). Is there a grass or weed growing here that she may be allergic to? I would greatly appreciate any help. I will be calling a vet tomorrow. However, we just moved here and do not have a close relation with our vet yet, and seeing how tomorrow is Sunday, I doubt we'll have any luck getting a hold of him or any other vet. Thanks in advance for your help!!!!
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Donna Tully
Member
Username: Josey049

Post Number: 7
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2002 - 1:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I should have added this info in my original posting regarding my 16 month old mare with swollen legs. She is on a 3 acre pasture 24 hours a day. I have not worked her in the past couple weeks. I had her hooves trimmed about 2 weeks ago, no shoes. I have not changed her feed. Also, there is some heat with the swelling, although there is no heat in her hooves. I think that about does it!! I hope I didn't leave anything out. Thanks again!!!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 6872
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2002 - 7:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The combination of fever and swelling all the way around strongly suggest an inflammatory disease probably caused by infection and a virus is most likely. This can happen two different ways a direct infection of the vascular system as ccurs with EVA (Equine Diseases Cardiovascular, Blood, and Immune System Equine Viral Arteritis) or as a sequelae to flu or rhino. The immune system fighting off the infection and the immune reactive particles settling into the capillaries, this condition is called Purpura.

Both of these conditions are explained in the article associated with this forum and provide further links for more information and treatment.

If you are unable to get a vet out, at the very least surely the vet will let you come by and pick up some bute today. If not, we give some alternative NSAID recommendations available as over the counter drugs to humans at Equine Medications and Nutriceuticals Anti-inflammatories, Steroids, and Arthritis Treatment An Overview of NSAID's. However they are not approved for use in horses and therefore are used at your own risk.
DrO
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Donna Tully
Member
Username: Josey049

Post Number: 8
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2002 - 10:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you, DrO, for you timely response and suggestions. When I went out to check her this morning, the swelling in her front legs went down tremendously, and had started to go down some in her hind legs. By evening, her hind leg swelling had gone down tremendously as well. I called my vet in North Carolina and he suggested it may be Lymphangitis (sp?) and recommended giving her bute, as you have. I started her on it this evening-fortunately my neighbor had some. I am going to take her to the vet this week to be safe. She has not been exhibiting any flu-like symptoms and her appetite is just as healthy as always, although, she may be in the beginning stage of whatever she has. If she has EVA or lymphangitis, would the swelling go down on its own? Common sense tells me it would if her immune system has fought off whatever is ailing her, but I don't know??!!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 6877
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Sep 9, 2002 - 4:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lymphangitis is a term used for bacterial cellulitis, almost always occurs in only one leg, and usually requires antibiotics to cure. EVA tends to be self limiting with flu like symptoms. You will find both of these conditions in the article associated with this forum, and they contain more information about diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
DrO
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Diana Carroll
Member
Username: Djane

Post Number: 3
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jul 24, 2003 - 11:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

We had a occurence in several horses of the same type of swelling with no apparent injury or illness, what we finally found was a weed in the pasture (which was getting short) called alyssum. The horses were put out on another pasture and all syptoms ended. Diana
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Melissa Webster
Member
Username: Mwebster

Post Number: 342
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Thursday, Jul 24, 2003 - 11:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diana, I found your post intriguing, so did a web search. Up came an article on Hoary Alyssum and Toxicity to Horses from Minnesota:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/livestocksystems/DI5567.html

The article lists stocking up, and potentially founder, as symptoms. Death in severe cases.

M
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 8827
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jul 25, 2003 - 7:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Excellent post Diana. Here are two clinical reports of hoary alyssum poisoning. This appears to be a rarely reported cause of problems though a common pasture weed.

Vet Hum Toxicol. 1993 Feb;35(1):39-40.
Hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana) toxicity in a herd of broodmare horses.
Hovda LR, Rose ML.
Minnesota Regional Poison Center, St Paul 55101.

A herd of pregnant horses exposed to hoary alyssum through ingested hay developed acute and severe gastrointestinal toxicity accompanied by intravascular hemolysis. Postmortem lesions were consistent with these signs. Three horses had late-term abortions.
----------------------------

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1992 Jul 1;201(1):63-7.
Toxicosis in horses after ingestion of hoary alyssum.
Geor RJ, Becker RL, Kanara EW, Hovda LR, Sweeney WH, Winter TF, Rorick JK, Ruth GR, Hope E, Murphy MJ.

Fever, limb edema, and laminitis were observed in horses 18 to 36 hours after they consumed hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana) under field and experimental conditions. Clinical signs were not observed in all horses that had ingested the plant. Diagnosis in the field cases was limited to observation of clinical signs and evidence of plant ingestion in hay or on pasture. In most cases, clinical remission was observed 2 to 4 days after empirical treatment, removal of the plant source, or both.

Here is a picture of the plant. The flowers at the end of the stalks are a bright white:
Hoary Alyssum, flowers at end of stalks are white.

DrO
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Elizabeth Donahue
Member
Username: Paul303

Post Number: 367
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Jul 28, 2003 - 10:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Outstanding information! Thanks to all!
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