Mystery Swelling

Sheldon swelling
There’s a mysterious area of swelling between Sheldon’s front legs.

With horse’s it’s always something. Freedom’s leg is looking pretty good right now. So it’s Sheldon’s turn. When I took him out to ride and removed his blanket I found a large area of swelling on his chest. Obviously the fluid is pooling at the lowest point, but I can’t figure out what’s causing it.

Normally if there’s swelling, I assume it’s a tick bite. I’ve gone over him pretty carefully and can’t find one. Nor does he seem unusually tender.

I wonder if he got kicked. He’s spent some time out with Curly (who I can’t see kicking him) but it’s always possible he got kicked through the fence.

Sheldon just isn’t telling.

Just as well the vet is coming tomorrow for spring shots and to check Freedom.

6 thoughts on “Mystery Swelling

  1. The vet raised that as a very remote possibility. It is more likely to be something like a small puncture. We do not have pigeon fever in our area but my vet says that it’s been getting closer. I’m really hoping that’s not the case. odd, too that it came up very suddenly.

  2. My horse get’s the same swellings from time to time. They hang like a bag of water, wobbly and soft. They appear to be a collection of fluids (edema) from some sort of immune response with inflammation (which inflammation is a collection of water) somewhere higher up, that also could have gone completely unnoticed. The body takes care of some sort of foreign “intrusion”, cleans it up and the fluids travel down through the tissue layers to the lowest point due to gravity. In my horse’s case it usually happens on the chest from a previous tick bite somewhere on the neck or chest, she had it from a bee sting, or a small splinter she once got from the paddock board. Eventually, the body will reabsorb all this liquid (which I suspect contains lymph, antibodies, broken down toxins and perhaps just plain water) it’s gone. It never develops into an open abscess or pussy exudates. They can also happen anywhere on the underside of the belly and always are a result of gravity, unless there is heat, pain, and HARD lumps or swelling.

    1. Update on the swelling. It seems to be going down a bit, although it’s still there. The good news is there’s no fever, heat, lethargy or loss of appetite. I’ve been lunging him and he looks fine.

  3. Did you ever find out what was wrong with Sheldon?? My horse has a similar issue so I’m trying to learn more about it.

    1. The swelling went down over the course of about a week. The vet’s best guess was that he had a small puncture from lying on the ground. He had no lasting ill effects from it. I hope your horse recovers soon.

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