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Username: Neezie

Post Number: 9
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 15, 2004 - 5:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


My gelding developed a swelling on his abdomen extending from the sheath area to the lowest point of gravity on his abdomen where the swelling is larger. This is just on the left hand side At first I thought it was a kick from a donkey yearling although the extent of the swelling seemed too large and was very hot to the touch. No wound was present.Over the next couple of days I massaged the area with a topical gel designed to reduce inflammation (a herbal/aromatherapy product). The horse showed no signs of tenderness although I was obviously careful.

When my vet visited he suggested it could be a kidney infection and it was possible the swelling may have been due to the lymph nodes fighting the infection. He also mentioned it could be a sheath infection (I thoroughly cleaned sheath about three weeks ago) or it could possibly be a kick although he doubted it.

He administered a long lasting anti biotic injection, an anti-inflammatory injection and prescribed bute which he is sending out to me.

The horse is acting completely normal, he is eating and drinking normally although we have experienced a shift from very hot to cold weather so he is drinking less plus having steamed hay. His normal urination pattern is usually twice in a 12 hour period when stabled and that has not changed and he is not straining or having difficulties. The quantity and colour is normal for him too.

The only abnormal thing I can remember is that the right side of his sheath appeared very swollen for a period of two to three days about two months ago and resolved itself. The vet has said to call him back in a few days if the swelling is not improving so he can administer more anti biotics.

The swelling has reduced and seems concentrated at the lowest point of gravity as mentioned before.

I am very worried although the horse is his normal self and does not seem poorly in any way. I should mention I am in Ireland so it is unlikely to be one of those awful viruses that you suffer in the USA.

UPDATE: Day 3 after vet visit I have been massaging the area with herbal gel and heat gel daily and there is a big improvement and reduction in swelling. While the swelling is still present (but less) at the lowest point of gravity, where the swelling has gone done on his abdomen from the lowest point going up toward the sheath, I can feel nodules under the skin would these be stomach glands or lymph nodes? Urination seems normal, he is well, bright and lively and when turned out on grass yesterday for a couple of hours he galloped about, bucked and seemed happy with life.

He had a small amount of white discharge from one nostril this morning but when he cleared his nostrils the discharge was clear and normal (He gets this occasionally and vet has checked him for this and advised anti biotics if it continues for more than a day or two). When stabled he is on rubber matting and has best quality grass hay always steamed. I keep the stables dust free which is easy as they are concrete block with no nooks and crannies for dust to collect.

Prior to this swelling of the abdomen he was on very good grazing for about a week with cattle and two donkey mares and a foal where he has been before but it is normally used for cattle and has been fertilised quite a lot this year due to silage being cut. The after grass where he has been seems very rich.

Hoping you can advise many thanks.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11184
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Sep 16, 2004 - 9:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One of those awful viruses we suffer in the USA? Ouch! last I heard Ireland has it own complement of nasty virus' and bacteria. You are blessed in that rabies is not on the Isle's but you have a full complement of herpes, influenza, and some of the viral encephalitides.

Anyway, I still cannot rule out the horse being kicked. I would have expected that to be hot though it usually would be sensitve to touch. Usually hot equates with painful or pruritic.

I am clueless why the vet thought this could be a kidney infection > lymphangitis > hot ventral swelling. The lymph nodes that drain the ventral abdomen don't drain the kidneys. And if he so believed, why was he so cavalier with a single antibiotic shot as infection of the kidneys is a serious problem. Did your horse have a fever when he examined him? Kidney failure is sometimes accompanied by ventral swelling (different mechanism) but these horses appear sick.

Since the problem is resolving I am not sure how much you want to put into further diagnostics, considering the history I would want a thorough exam of the penis and sheath. For more on ventral swelling see, Equine Diseases Skin Diseases Diagnosing and Assessing Swellings in Horses.
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Username: Neezie

Post Number: 10
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Friday, Sep 17, 2004 - 4:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr O

Please forgive me for my 'nasty virus USA comment'!!! It was in no way meant as a facetious comment or with any malice intended. It is just that when I read of some of the extreme weather conditions and some of the diseases that can occur in your region, some of them sound really scary. Yes you are right we doindeed we have our own fair share of nasties here.

Thank you for your advice, I have to say I was sceptical about the vet's diagnosis too given the well being of the horse and lack of fever and dullness. Also his normal urination pattern seemed to defy any kidney related dysfunction.

I have continued with the massage on the abdomen and the swelling still continues to decrease and the horse is absolutely normal galloping around the field playing with the other horses and chasing the cattle. I have turned him out full time now while the weather is still a little bit kind.

I will try to get the senior vet out to see me and run through symptoms, progress etc and see what he has to say. A full exam of the sheath region is a really good idea.

Many thanks and Best wishes
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