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Discussion on Swelling on head

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Karen Copeland
New Member
Username: Kasi

Post Number: 5
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 14, 2004 - 2:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Not sure where to post this because I'm still not sure what the problem is. This 21 yr. old TB that was in excellent health presented a small swelling or raised bump on his forehead more towards the right eye but high on the boney flat part of the forehead. He didn't act as though it were particularly sore when I palpated it and discussed it with a friend on Sat. a week ago. I worked with the horse on Tues. doing some very light round pen work concentrating on walk, trot and stop for short periods of time. It was 70 degrees and I didn't want him getting overly warm with his winter coat. Was more concentrating on control issues. Well Wed. there was obvious increased swelling all around the bump and more over the right eye. The horse also appeared to be unable to chew. He would make the side to side motion with his teeth but you could not hear the teeth contacting each other hearing the crunching noise one normally hears when a horse chews. He was therefore unable to swallow I think because the matter was not being chewed sufficiently. He also had blood tinged clear straw colored discharge from his nostril on the right side. I called the equine dentist/vet sure that it was an abcessed tooth in the upper jaw. He came and checked him out saying that his teeth seemed fine. He gave him banimine, B vit. shot, plus several other shots he didn't say what they were and left me with antibiotic powder and bute to give to him. The swelling progressed to the point that both eyes were involved and the right eye swelled almost shut. The right eye has yucky goo in it I assume from not functioning properly. He has an off and on snotty nose that is more thick than first noticed--no longer blood tinged but kind of a clear yellow. Vet said we might be dealing with two things like a cold on top of whatever caused the swelling. I have finished the anitbiotic and he is improving in that now he can eat better and eats his soaked mush of beet pulp, vit/min supplement, and alfalfa pellets. He will also eat soaked alfalfa cubes. He seems to be having trouble with hay still. The swelling is still relatively pronounced and espcially raised at the initial bump like a huge pimple but no white head or center to it. There was never any sign of puncture to the skin as you move the hairs around to look at it. Would a black snake bite cause this type of swelling? I know there is one that lives in his run-in shed that I have not attempted to kill because I had always heard that black snakes were good to have around???? There again though if it were a bite shouldn't there be marks somewhere on that initial bump???? Could it be a sinus infection. I didn't think that was likely as the initial bump was almost center of the forehead just a little to the right. I'll try to take pictures today. Thanks in advance for any input.
Karen
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11668
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2004 - 8:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Karen, if this is not an abscessed tooth (around the back most upper teeth cheek if I had to guess from your description) it sure is doing a great imitation of one down to being antibitoic responsive. How did the vet rule out an abscessed root: did he take radiographs? Now that he is off antibiotics and still symptomatic, I expect this will return and suggest antibiotics until asymptomatic and then if it returns, or anytime it worsens: radiograhpy to better define the lesion.

Primary sinus infections usually have a badly snotty nose long before swelling on the face (which is not common) and North American black rat snakes are not poisonous.
DrO
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Karen Copeland
Member
Username: Kasi

Post Number: 6
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2004 - 9:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO, Thanks for you response. The vet recommended a xray of the head and possible scope if things didn't improve. I think he felt as though based on the horse's response to his palpating around the gums and teeth that a tooth was not the problem. He did mention though that it could be a fracture in the tooth and the situation would not improve. Today the initial bump on the forehead looks to be losing the hair in a circular pattern around a tuft of hair that is still in the middle. The skin looks angry and red in the bare spots. There is still a good deal of swelling around and under the right eye as well as a swelling along the flat part of his jaw on the right side that feels like a rope under the skin. Could that be some sort of lymph node that is involved? He wasn't too keen on my pressing on it much. I put hot compresses on the initial bump wondering if this might be some kind of abcess hoping to help it resolve. All along my gut says there is something in there that wants out just by the way the bump was so raised looking like a biiig pimple. He is eating pretty well now except for the hay. Still picking through that but I have been giving him extra beet pulp that might have something to do with it. He also comes into the dry lot from the pasture long before the others come in so he is limiting his grazing as well. He readily chews carrots and slightly soaked alfalfa cubes so the chewing mechanism seems to be working fine now. His nose was clear today too. He is still running a temp of 101 though. I knew that black snakes were not poisonous but wondered if they could just cause a reaction of this type. Do you think that it may be an abcess? Any suggestions to help it resolve more quickly?
Karen
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11678
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Dec 16, 2004 - 7:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The lost hair and angry skin is indicating that is where the abscess will erupt, the question is where is it coming from: you need to know that to know how to resolve it and your post does not give any further clues but a radiograph might. I do not know any way a black snake might have caused this.
DrO
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Karen Copeland
Member
Username: Kasi

Post Number: 7
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2004 - 12:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Still haven't done xrays yet. The abscess have still not erupted. Any ideas on how to help them along. I've been doing hot compresses. I took pictures and have uploaded one of them for you to see the location. The one in the middle of the forehead is the one that began this whole thing. Still has some swelling around his eyes. Any ideas of what might cause abscesses such as these after seeing the picture? Thanks for any additional input.

Karen
Acapella's Abscess
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11712
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2004 - 7:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Though the initial history suggests tooth root the area over the middle of the head is over the frontal sinus and a odd location for a tooth root abscess to pop up. Have you got the horse back on antibiotics? While on them the abscess's progress will be very slow however this is not a reason to stop the antibiotics since it is controlling what appears to be an infection of the bone. To better define this problem you really need to take radiographs.
DrO
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