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Discussion on Groin Swelling

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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 7:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr. O and Everyone,
This is my first time posting. Sorry it’s so lengthy. I am a barn owner and have a 14.2h Missouri Fox Trotter x pony gelding as a border. He is 7 years old and has never had a great willingness to go forward but would always do what was asked of him. Over the passed 2 months his unwillingness has gotten progressively worse. He pins his ears constantly, turns his butt to you when approached and has basically an unpleasant attitude. He is certainly not overworked, he is only ridden about 2-3 times a week for about 45 minutes each time, even then nothing real strenuous. I thought maybe he was just getting ring sour so the young girl who rides him started taking him on trail rides once or twice a week with no real improvement. About 3 weeks ago while grooming him I noticed significant swelling in his groin area (it looked like he hadn't been gelded on one side, but he had). The swelling was only on one side. The vet came two days later, at this time there is a little bit of heat in the swelling. He had no fever, was eating, drinking etc. normally. He had no significant findings during the vet exam. He was put on a lunge line where the vet witnessed his refusal to go forward. She drew blood for a chem panel work-up. The results come back neg. Over the next 3 days this pony is just downright lethargic, he doesn't want to play with the others in the pasture but is still eating and drinking. The swelling starts to change shape, it was round and now it's more cone shaped and the heat has disappeared but it has hardened. The vet comes back over and draws more blood for a Thyroid work-up but still seams at a loss as to what it could be. At this point I have him in his stall with limited hand grazing for fear that this thing may rupture and be contagious. This morning when I checked him I noticed that the swelling is on the other side now (now he looks like a stallion). The Thyroid results have not come back yet. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this? Does anyone have any suggestions? I was hosing the area with cold water during the first few days as well as bute for the swelling. Recently I've switched to hot compresses but now the swelling has spread. Thanks, Coleen
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 58
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 7:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Coleen,

Please tell the owner to be careful riding him. The exercise should make the swelling go down, so exercise is important, but do alot of straight work.
The reason I say this is because I had a horse that the same thing happened to. It seemed to start being a problem after he was gelded (as a yearling) He never acted ornery, but he could not get his rear under him, and would fall down say coming into the corral (without a rider) or any other sharp turns.

He was cantering around the pasture one night and his front leg snapped. I figure yrs of the swelling like you're describing and the extra pressure of trying to compensate on the front legs had strained his front legs thus causing the break. There was no hole, rocks, or anything in the pasture, and me and the kids saw him go down.

He was 7 at the time his leg broke, so for 6 yrs I wondered about that weird swelling myself. The only answer I ever thought might apply was it was something to do with lymph nodes. I thought it was likely something that was a result of the gelding process, but I don't know what.

I will be curious to see what you find out, so keep us informed. Watch his way of going and see if he's having trouble getting under himself, if so I wouldn't ride him. If I would of been on mine when he went down, I would of been seriously hurt as he rolled right over.

I am sorry if I am alarming you, and I know every case is different but if my experience saves someone from getting hurt then I've done my part. I hope someone has answers and you get is resolved

take care

Angie
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dina
Member
Username: Paix

Post Number: 33
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 2:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This may be way off base for your situation, especially bc I cant actually SEE the swelling.

Your vet prolly would have made this call first off if it looked less serious - but it doesnt hurt to let you know my experience with groin swelling...

My older QH (now 24), would occassionally get groin swelling from too much protein in his diet. If I cut back his protein (less alfalfa - added oat or timothy or 3-way) for a while, the swelling went down.

Im not so sure this happens in younger horses? I suppose it could, yes? --ALSO, the swelling I have seen is quite symmetrical - unlike wht ur describing.

I just thot maybe a look at his diet???

Hope you get some answers, soon. He must be feeling pretty bad since he is clearly displaying his discomfort.

Keep us posted.
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Liliana Velasco Ariza
Member
Username: Liliana

Post Number: 135
Registered: 5-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 2:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well I see Dina and I share the same opinion, high protein can be the cause of so many ailments.

Too much protein acts as cholesterol in humans, lethargic, out of breath, pain in the legs swelling, even laminitis...

I am also of the opinion to check his diet! So many times we put this sings that horses give us to lack of training, bad temper or whatever, when really it is the fuel that we put into the machine...

Love your horses
Liliana
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 3:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,

YIKES!! That's pretty scary. You mentioned that the swelling was a problem after your horse was gelded which lasted for 6 years. He is 7 now but the swelling has just appeared suddenly about 3 weeks ago now. I sure hope it's nothing like you experienced. I'll keep you posted.
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 3:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dina and Liliana,

Thanks for the suggestion. It could definitely be a possibility since this started about 2 months ago which is the time the spring grass really started to come in (i'm mowing already). He has been off pasture, except for limited hand grazing for almost a month now (when the swelling appeared). Aside from that he gets a flake in the morning and a flake in the evening of really nice timothy/orchard hay and about 1/8 of a cup a.m. and p.m. of 12% sweet feed (just enough to mix with his supplements). Ironically he was bumped up to a 12% a few months ago to try to "up" his energy level. I will drop him back down to a 10% now that the grass is so lush. I talked to the vet today who said, try saddling him today and just walk around to see how he is (maybe some exercise will help with the swelling). The thyroid test results they think have been lost because the results should have been back days ago. So they'll have to come out and draw blood again. I know that diagnosing a thyroid problem in horses is near impossible but maybe it will shed some light on a sympton of something else. I will keep you posted. -Coleen
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 59
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 5:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here's something I forgot to add with my earlier post: this gelding of mine had also had an attack of hives when he was about 2. Look like someone took a baseball bat to him esp around the head. It was early spring, had been on pasture briefly. Maybe it's an allergy to something like fertilzer applied to pasture/hay field? or weed killer, or who knows. Just another thought.

In his case, I don't think the high protien was a problem as I don't feed alfalfa, and only feed sweet feed occasionally. And the swelling always stayed the same, except to go down some after exercise.

I so hope you find out what's causing this for this horse, I still am saddened by losing my guy and always wonder what I could of done different.

Chin Up!!!
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Liliana Velasco Ariza
Member
Username: Liliana

Post Number: 136
Registered: 5-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 5:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Angie,

So sorry about your guy.

And indeed fertilizer applied to pasture/hay field or weed killer, should be avoided at all costs, this things kill horses slowly, the chemicals are accumulative so please do check your hay suppliers and if it has been treated with any form of chemical do not feed to horses.

Remember, what is good for cows is no good for horses, besides, no body waits 20 years to see if it did not agree with the cows system do they.

Everything is trial and error with horses, unfortunately when we loose one of our friends it is a horrible way to learn is it not?

Love your horses,
Liliana
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10404
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, May 7, 2004 - 6:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Coleen,
Until we know what the swelling is, specific therapy and its relation to the other clinical signs are unknown. I cannot imagine what this might have to do with the thyroid gland however, see, Equine Diseases » Endocrine Disorders » Hypothyroidism in Adult Equines.

Dianostic procedures after a good physical exam and lab work up would include:
  • Rectal palpation particularly around the internal inguinal rings
  • Ultrasound of the swelling
  • Tap or needle biopsy of the swelling

Though there may be rare sensitive individuals the idea of a high protein diet causing well defined health problems just does not stand up to research or my clinical experiences. Many of our members have wrote about how well their horses do on straight alfalfa. In one very large study of horses fed a 30% protein diet no ill effects were noted after a year. Recently we have had a number of folks writing in with problems and when there diets have been identified I know there have been at least 3 where the main problem was low dietary protein.

And though I do not mean to pick on you Liliana, it also it is not true that properly applied fertilizers and herbicides slowly kill horses. The increase use of such management techniques has been associated with longer, healthier life spans in horses and humans.
DrO
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Liliana Velasco Ariza
Member
Username: Liliana

Post Number: 137
Registered: 5-2003
Posted on Friday, May 7, 2004 - 1:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Colleen,

Would you please tell us what is this pony fed on, what supplements does he get etc, so as to give a clearer idea.

I love this forum as so much information comes in and enlightens us about issues that we have known and done for years and years.


Love your horses,
Liliana
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2004 - 9:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O
I forwarded your suggestion (and others) to the owner. There is still no change in his swelling. I have started to let him out for limited grazing in a separate pasture and I don't know if it's because he's had some good grass the last few days but he hasn't eaten his hay for the last 2 days. He's eaten some but not all and that's NOT like him at all. I'm hoping that the owners' Vet will find it necessary to come over and try one or all three of your suggestions. I'll let you know. -Coleen
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2004 - 1:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Liliana,

His diet consists of the following:
1/8 cup of Reliance 10% sweet feed am and pm
1 flake of Timothy/Orchard hay (good quality)pm
Pretty lush pasture for about 4 hours

His supplements are:
Omega Horseshine (this was just added recently)
Sand Relief (which upon looking this up I realized that the above two do the same thing basically)
Equitrol (this was just added recently, hhmmmm?)
Nu-Image Guardian (daily wormer)

Chance was started on the Sand Relief at his previous barn because the trainer thought that his "output" (always nice formed balls) was too small an amount for his size and intake.

Chance has always been a very easy keeper. In fact I may need to cut down on his pasture time (which just started again 2 days ago) since he is not getting any exercise.

I just got back in from trying a nice leisurely trail ride on him. His walk was VERY lethargic although he seemed happy for the change of scenery. I'm afraid to do too much with him because I don't know if his lethargy is due to pain or not. I'm just going to keep him quiet and comfortable until the vet comes out again.

Coleen
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barbara c
Member
Username: Oscarvv

Post Number: 555
Registered: 10-1999
Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2004 - 9:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would stop the Equitrol. While this horse may not have some of the symptons, I wouldn't feed it to my horse.

I may get flamed for this...:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JURY AWARDS $1,007,500 IN EQUITROL® LAWSUI

Santa Ana, CA, March 25, 2004 -- The jury in Wrather v. Farnam Companies1 returned a verdict of $1,007,500 in favor of plaintiffs
Charlotte Wrather, Christopher Wrather and Lori Araki. The jury found that Farnam's product Equitrol®, a feed-through fly control
product, was defectively designed (not safe when used in the intended manner) and that it had caused harm to plaintiffs' thoroughbred racehorses and thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses.

Mr. and Mrs. Wrather are the owners of Cottonwood Ranch in Los Alamos, California, a thoroughbred breeding and training farm. Ms. Arakimanager and trainer at Cottonwood Ranch.

Equitrol® works in the manure to kill fly larvae before they mature.

Its active ingredient is the organophosphate insecticide tetrachlorvinphos, a cholinesterase inhibitor and neurotoxin which
is also known by the trade name Rabon®. Feed-through fly control products containing Rabon® are widely used in beef and dairy cattle and other livestock industries, as well as in horses.

Farnam has advertised that Equitrol® is designed to pass quickly through the horse's gastrointestinal tract without being digested,
and that it is safe for all horses including pregnant and lactating mares and their foals. The Wrathers and Ms. Araki claimed that they fed Equitrol® as directed, that the organophosphate in it was absorbed into their horses' systems, and that this caused or
exacerbated a variety of health problems in the horses including reproductive problems and birth defects, stunted and retarded growth, hyperexcitability and other neurological dysfunctions, laminitis, immunosuppression evidenced by unusual or unusually severe infections, low thyroid, diarrhea, colic and more.

Testifying as an expert witness for plaintiffs was Dr. John Madigan, D.V.M., professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology and chief of the Equine Section at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Madigan last summer conducted a pilot study of the effects of feeding Equitrol®. In his study (forthcoming in the veterinary literature), the group of test horses fed Equitrol® experienced a sharp drop in their whole blood cholinesterase to
levels consistent with organophosphate intoxification. The study also revealed statistically significant differences in behavior while on Equitrol® as compared with the control group. In a series of behavioral tests, the horses fed Equitrol® exhibited heightened or intensified flight response, that is, they were "spookier" or more easily startled or frightened.

Also testifying for the plaintiffs were Drs. Mark Rick, D.V.M. and Greg Parks, D.V.M., both of the well known Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, California; Dr. David Jensen, D.V.M., who practices privately as San Marcos Equine Practice in Los Alamos, California; and Dr. Warren Porter, Professor of Environmental

Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The Wrathers and Ms. Araki had also alleged that Farnam knew at least since 1981 that 10% to 30% of the organophosphate in Equitrol® was absorbed, so that the advertising and marketing for Equitrol® contained negligent and intentional misrepresentations and omissions. The jury did not find that this had been proved by a preponderance of the evidence. 1 Charlotte Wrather et al v. Farnam
Companies, Inc., United States District Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana Civil No. 03-967 JVS(RCx)(March 25, 2004)
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barbara c
Member
Username: Oscarvv

Post Number: 556
Registered: 10-1999
Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2004 - 9:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

And here is Farnam's response:
FARNAM CO.S, INC. RESPONDS TO EQUITROL® CASE
Feed-Through Fly Control Product Safe When Used As Directed



PHOENIX, Ariz. – (April 6, 2004) Farnam Horse Products has marketed a feed-through fly control product, Equitrol®, for more than 20 years to horse owners nationwide. Since its 1983 introduction, well over 30 million doses of the E.P.A.-registered product have been used safely in several-hundred thousand horses. A recent lower court decision in California ruled against the company—a decision that Farnam is appealing. Farnam believes that this lower court verdict is incorrect on both legal and factual grounds.

“We stand by the product’s safety and effectiveness reflected by its long-standing tenure in the marketplace,” said Chris Jacobi, president of Farnam Horse Products. “All of our products undergo extensive testing before they can become available to consumers, and are designed to help horses and their owners. Indeed, Equitrol has been recently re-registered by the E.P.A.”

The active ingredient in Equitrol is tetrachlorvinphos, which is safely used in feed-through larvicides (manufactured by other companies) for both beef and dairy cattle, as well as fly control products for several other species. In fact, other companies (in addition to Farnam) also manufacture and sell tetrachlorvinphos feed-through larvicides for horses.

Tetrachlorvinphos is a cholinesterase inhibitor. Although Equitrol is formulated to maximally pass through the animal’s digestive system, as with most substances ingested, a minimal amount of the ingredient will be absorbed. Horses exposed to tetrachlorvinphos will, therefore, see a reduction in their whole blood cholinesterase due to the plasma component of the whole blood. Both in-vivo and in-vitro studies have shown that this plasma cholinesterase activity is markedly more sensitive to techrachlorvinphos and merely shows exposure to the ingredient—while blood cell and muscle cholinesterase activities were not affected.

Farnam does not agree that there are any legitimate medical studies or any other medical literature demonstrating that the use of Equitrol on a pregnant or nursing mare would be harmful. However, the company recommends that horse owners discuss with their personal veterinarians its use with specific horses and their particular situation.

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10412
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2004 - 10:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We have recently discussed Equitrol, particularly with respect to the above published news piece. For more run a search on Equitrol.

Lilianna, thanks for the positive feedback.
DrO
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 7
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2004 - 10:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Barbara,

We have a local newsletter for horse people called easternshorefreespirits.com and someone posted that warning just the other day. None of the other horses in the barn are on Equitrol. It can't be a good thing. I will forward your post to the owner. Thank You! Coleen
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 60
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2004 - 11:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The discussion about the Equitrol reminded me of an experience that I had with the "spot" type fly repellants. These are the products you put on a few places on your horse and they are supposed to work for a week or 2. I did this once, and ended up very tired and achy myself for around 10 days, and then got slowly better.( got it all over my hands) It is my understanding these products work by shutting down an insects neurological system. If I am incorrect on that, correct me and forgive me, it was a few yrs ago. I do recall doing an online search, and going, geez, that's what's happening to me, only on a smaller scale. And for the exact time period specified!

Coleen,

this probably doesn't apply to your situation as you didn't mention needing bug spray yet. But I am adding this info cuz I think it's downright scary what chemicals are supposed to be safe and helpful...we apply these to our pets and let them get absorbed thru the skin and don't realize how it can affect even a 1000 pound horse.

This is really f a r o u t, but there has been the theory that mad cow disease is caused by the fact the cattle are sprayed along their backs/ spines with insecticides on a daily basis. And most of these products use the same stuff, work the same way.

I think I may have posted about the "spot stuff" last year in a more appropriate area. I don't mean to get off subject here, but if such a product was used perhaps thats just where it all went in the bloodstream and that's the reaction.

My gelding was gone before I used such a product, so it wasn't the cause of his swelling and I am not a heavy user of any of the fly repellants.

Just sharing for your info.

leave no stone unturned.

Angie
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 8
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 11:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,

The May Flies have just arrived. I made the decision last year that spraying all those chemicals on my horses cannot be healthy not to mention my health. How many times have I sprayed the fly spray into my hands in order to apply it to my horses ears. I found that the organic stuff you can buy works ok in the early season but becomes less effective as the summer wears on. There are a number of sites that give you many different recipes for homemade fly spray. The best part about that is, you can customize the recipe to what works for your horse. And as far as fly control in and around your barn look into the Fly Predator by Spalding Laboratories, it's a great non pesticide fly control.
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 9
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 7:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to give you an update. The owner asked me to take Chance off the Equitrol immediately. The Vet is coming back out on Thursday. The blood sample she took 3 weeks ago apparently got lost so blood will be drawn again.
I'll keep you posted. -Coleen
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dina
Member
Username: Paix

Post Number: 34
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 2:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ah! The waiting and with the poor fella not feeling well. That can be so difficult for everyone.

Hang in there...
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 10
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 9:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another update. The Vet came out today and took a biopsy of the swelling. She said it would take about a week to get the results. I have started him on Thyro-L his T4 level was 11 she said it should be 30-40 this time of year. No wonder the poor thing had no energy.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10436
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 7:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Unfortunately T4 levels are not indicitive of thyroid problems see the article I reference above for the proper diagnosis of hypthyroidism. I am concerned that if the horse is ill you are focused on a very unlikely diagnosis.
DrO
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TONYA BAUER
Member
Username: Pbauer

Post Number: 21
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 2:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Coleen,
Maybe a bacterial infection? One of my sister's horses had a similar swelling in the groin. The vet diagnosed it as Pigeon Fever.
Sincerely,
Tonya
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 11
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 3:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

An update on Chance...........
DrO, I read your article on Hypothyroid in horses. I agree with you, I think that what is going on with him is a symptom of something else. There has been basically no change in his condition until just recently. The biopsy came back negative. He has been on the Thyro-L for almost 2 weeks now and there has been no improvement. The young girl who rides him saddled him up on Sunday and just did some walk/trot. He seemed to be very agitated so she got off. On Monday the farrier came and I noticed that when he picked up one of Chances feet, he would move his right hind out horizontally so that his hind legs were spread out. When the farrier was done and Chance was led away he was staggering behind and crossing his hind legs in front of each other (EPM??)I called the owner and contacted his vet who is right now trying to make arrangements to bring Chance down to Raleigh, North Carolina, to an Equine facility so that they can hopefully figure out what is wrong. -Coleen
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 12
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 3:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tonya,

I actually mentioned Pigeon Fever to the vet (I found it on the internet) in the very beginning and she said that it would be highly unlikely. We are on the east coast (Virginia) and she said that cases have only been documented as far east as Tennesee. Thanks for the suggestion, you never know.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10514
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 7:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That sounds like a great idea. Until these inguinal swellings are ruled out they would be at the top of the list or what is effecting the way the horse moves behind. Once they are ruled out then you start thinking of other causes.
DrO
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Coleen Charlton
Member
Username: Rizzo

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 31, 2004 - 2:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Biopsys, blood tests, x-rays, everything came back negative. The final diagnosis: Overweight and a bad attitude. Chance was put on a strict diet and lost the weight. The groin swelling went down but never disappeared. He still has a real bad attitude with any kind of structured work. But he is pretty much unflappable when it comes to trail riding.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11106
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2004 - 6:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Perhaps with a reduction of caloric intake the horse might settle down a bit.
DrO
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