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Discussion on Generalized soreness, stiffness, swelling

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Sandra L. Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 11, 2000 - 9:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr. O and everyone,

Not sure if this is the right spot cause I'm not sure what we're dealing with. Here goes. Large pony,right at 14.2 hands, always been real sweet, willing, great worker in our lesson program for several years, now 9 years old.

Last fall, started getting a bit grouchy. Thought was just overuse/overexposure to kids. Had couple weeks off. Tried different saddle. Came back a bit better but not old self. Went through the winter with couple classes a day, with slowly deteriorating attitude, ears back, turning rump to door, general soreness in back area.

About early February, muscles over withers, shoulders in particular, and hind seemed real taut. Vet looked at him and said he was as close to tying up (from a muscle hardness standpoint) as could get, without actually tying up. Suggested a Vit. E/Selenium supplement. We took him out of lessons, cut back his grain(10% pellets) from l l/2 cans twice a day gradually down to 3/4 cans, added EquSeE (vit. E & selenium supplement), increased turnout. No improvement.

About 3 weeks ago, lump about one inch diameter under neck, couple lumps under crest of mane, really sore with heat along back, ribs on right side sore. What sure looks like a girth gall "popped" out behind left elbow -- even though I know nothing was there 2 weeks before and no riding during that time. Vet said the lump under neck looked like a bug bite, he might have allergies. We added Tri-Hist and total day and night turnout except for one meal in morning and grooming/hoof cleaning. No improvement.

Today I tried running my hands along his withers. They feel like they're about to explode. Going up mane, getting "cresty". This guy has always been alright on grass but we're getting the rich spring growth now. Pulled him off grass as of today. I've pulled him off grass as of today. Vet coming Friday to do Coggins and I've asked that she draw add'l blood to do a sort of general workup.

Any ideas? This fellow has been a wonderful pony for years and we're just not helping him when he really needs it.


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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 12, 2000 - 7:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Sandra,
From your post it is difficult to know what is going on but I suspect a fairly rare condition in horses called fat necrosis with a secondary paniculitis. It results in a very firm to hard feel to the skin, plaques and nodules, heat, and pain. However I cannot rule out tying up as the problem. I strongly suggest that along with a CBD and chemistries that you have a deep excisional biopsy of the skin, underlying fat layer and muscle. Besides the standard histopath stains, special stains for bacteria, fungi, and autoimmune causes should be done. If this is fat necrosis the cause frequently goes undetected and the condition responsive to fairly large doses of steroids.

I also suggest you look closely at the vitamin E/Se status of your horse. You need to calculate the exact amount you are supplementing to be sure it runs in the proper range, too little or too much may result in problems similar to what you are seeing. For more information see: Care: Nutrients: Vit E/Se.
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Sandra L. Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 12, 2000 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr. O.

Thanks for your very prompt response. I'll suggest these possibilities and hope for follow through. I'll keep you posted.
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Sandra L. Thomas
Posted on Sunday, May 7, 2000 - 8:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr. O,

Finally got some blood work done about 2 weeks ago. Had a couple really sick horses in between so apologize for delay in reporting back.

Anyway, about this guy's blood work -- very interesting. His CPK levels were off the scale. If I'm remembering properly, I believe the range is supposed to be 100-300 and he was coming in at 460. (I wish I had jotted down the numbers from the lab report but it's at the barn.) His calcium is also just outside the upper accepted limit. His albumin and several other liver function indicators are off. The vet said he seems to have the equine equivalent of gout. Has put him on a human gout medicine for several weeks. We'll redo blood work at the end of May.

We've taken the horse off all grass. He's wandering about a dry paddock night and day with a couple obese buddies. Has plain grass hay. Is getting 10 to now 20/25 minutes of in-hand exercise at hill walking and trotting on longe line to drop his weight. He is about 14.3 and weighs, according to the admittedly inaccurate weight tape, 1100 pounds, so weight loss is part of his regimen for sure. His general attitude has improved but he is definitely still touchy.

Your thoughts?

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Monday, May 8, 2000 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Though the muscle enzymes look high, this is not t remarkable elevation. Exercise can cause horses to elevate to 4 times the high normal. An acute tying up would have much higher values than this. On the other hand I think it needs to be kept in mind. I can't figure the gout thought other than frustration. I still thin biopsy of the abnormal tissues is going to help the most.
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jim lagarde
New Member
Username: Jimbo999

Post Number: 1
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, Apr 19, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

a 4 year oold standardbred that has tons of speed but has a serious medical problem. i bought the horse in september 2003 and he had a bowed tenon which i was told that it was operated on the year before. the bowed tenon never bothered the horse and i can say that it was a successful operation. i did notice on the front of the ankle there was a ball about the size of a quarter but it never bothered the horse and we trained him and started to race him.After the 4th race that ball had popped open and blood was all over.We took him to the vet who kept him for 5 days and flushed the hole and gave him antibiotics to stop any infection. we took him back and for the next 3 weeks did the same thing the vet did. we started to jog him and the hole closed up and we qualified the horse and the hole opened up again. We took him back to the vet and this time he gave him dmso with cortisone,smz's,gentamicin,furacin-granulex, and panalog and also some enyzimes. The hole closed very fast and even the hair started to grow over the hole and it was closed completely. we qualified him and everything was fine and then we raced him at yonkers and the hole blew open again.within 8 hours his leg blows up and it starts to get infected. the vet has thrown up his hands so i am asking you for your help thanks you
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10307
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 - 8:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Jim,
You need to have the nature of the swelling and the tissues involved with swelling defined. Radiography, ultrasound, and perhaps biopsy should give you the above inforamtion. From this information a decision can be made whether total removal of the mass is practical or not.
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