Saturday, July 31, 2010

Horse Health - Swelling on Barrel Near Stiffle

I received this from Steve in New Mexico,...."Attached are picture of my horse, a 10 year old Mare. She has a swollen area on her side. I can cover the swollen area with my hand. I could not see any visible entry wounds. You should be able to see where she has been rubbing the fur off from scratching with her teeth. Have any ideas?"

Steve, I'm not a Vet. I do not hestitate to bring my Vet out when I have a problem that concerns me...that's part of owing the horse a decent life,...Vet care comes with that. However, sometimes we need to be our own Vets, either when Vets are not readily available or to manage problems before they come. And I tell you what,...I never begrudge my Vet the cost of a Farm Call.

The most likely cause, given the gradual angle of swelling is an insect bite, like a tarantula hawk. velvet ant, wasp or the such. If the swelling seems to be more of a protrusion then I would be concerned that is might be a hernia, however I've never seen one in that location. You can palapate the site to see if it seems to be a hernia, which is a "hole" in the muscle where a portion of the intestines protrude. This requires surgery to treat. If the swelling doesn't go down in 24-36 hours then surely get a Vet out there to look at her.

You can hold an ice pack on it to see if the swelling reduces. I'd throw some hay in bucket for her to eat, so she is more inclined to stand still while you do this.

If it is itching her, it is most likely a bug bite. Another possibility is a thorn, cactus needle or mesquite needle may have punctured her. But you said you did not see a puncture site. I've had a horse get a Yucca puncture from rolling around. I treated it just like a cut and had no problems.

You can give her some Tri-Hist. Which is Antihistamine Decongestant Oral Powder you can mix into her grain. You can try this for a day and see if the swelling and or itching goes away.

I have given human Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to horses with bug bites. I calculate the doses using a 200 lb human then back off 20% percent.

Again I feel the need to state I am not a Vet, but due to the distances and time and unavailability of vets, not to mention the expenses, you need to be able to treat your horses as a first responder and be able to manage problems. Make sure her shots are up to date. Tetanus for your horses and for you and your family members as well, is very important.

Hope this helps and let me know how she is doing. Safe Journey partner.

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