gelding with edema

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by muddyhorse, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    yesterday my gelding Cookie Monster came up with a severely swollen sheath. the farrier looked at him and just said "ouch" I had the vet out today, he cleaned him out but there was not much there ( I cleaned him a couple of weeks ago) there is no infection or heat. he can drop and pass urine without trouble however his sheath is the size of a grapefruit [​IMG] he also had another spot of edema on his midline. the vet took a blood sample to check kidney function and liver. the only thing we can think is that the pony kicked him. he has recently lost a little weight. he is turned out 24/7 he is the only horse in the field with rear shoes everybody else is bare behind. he is second in the herd to Sailor my mare. anybody have any ideas ?
  2. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    My pony has a thyroid problem that causes the sheath to be swollen. [​IMG]
  3. Zanna

    Zanna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 14, 2010
    Jefferson, Oregon
    Spider or bug bites?? If you think this could be the problem, try some SWAT, a medicated ointment with bug repellent.
  4. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Support it with a bedsheet strapped around his middle if it's really swollen. Kinda like a jock strap.

    Could be a kick or other injury, bug or spider bite, infection ... you may just have to wait on bloodwork. Did the vet approve use of bute?
  5. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    If he is not having problems peeing I think I'd not wrap it. The chance that it could cause more irritation or restrict him from peeing would concern me more than the support it could provide. I am glad to hear he has full turn out, for sure don't confine him and if he is usually quiet at pasture walk him several times a day. It could be irritation from being cleaned, bedding that got in there, or a bite, sting or burr, thorn or nettle. One of my geldings tends to do this, but he also just tends to be sensitive skinned, all bites and such are a real bother to him. Cool hosing gives him relief and it only lasts a day or two. The swelling with him is always general, the whole thing, not one big lump like a grapefruit in there though. Just the regular sheath shape, just mondo, and all the wrinkles and folds filled out.
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    If the vet feels the swelling is so severe that it requires wrapping, wrap it according to the vet's instructions. My guess is that if it was needed, the vet would have told you so.

    Wraps that are for swelling, generally are removed for part of each 24 hr period, kept off for a specified period of time during a specific part of the day (usually when the animal is moving around more, such as during the day), and then put on again (usually when the animal is moving around less, such as at night). If the routine is followed fewer problems result. (Wraps for injuries and wounds are generally changed frequently, but not left off for a period of each day, as they must keep the wound clean, but wraps for injuries are not applied the same way as wraps for swelling).

    Some people tell you to never wrap anything. When the vet advises, when it's done properly for the condition the animal has(have the vet show you how), when the schedule is followed, when the right materials are used, wrapping can be beneficial to both comfort and faster healing. It can make the difference between success and failure in treating a problem.

    Swelling of the sheath can be due to many things - heart disease, bug bites, spider bite, snake bite, bruising, or various (many) infectious diseases.

    If the animal has a disease, you would expect to see swelling elsewhere as well - on the underside of the belly along the midline, chest, legs.

    Older horses often develop a persistent firm swelling of the sheath, and it's possible it's just due to poorer circulation or ageing heart, circulatory system or less efficient lymphatic circulation. Exercise which helps 'stocking up' (swelling that pits on pressure) often won't improve this firmer sort of swelling.
  7. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    Cookie is 11 years old. I've had him a year he was a rope horse after a career as a western pleasure horse ( he is a grandson of Zipps Chocolate Chip and of the Investor) the vet did not tell me to wrap it. he gave him bannamine, penicillin, and applied DMSO. it is not pain full you can apply the DMSO without too much trouble.
  8. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    You wouldn't expect problems of the elderly horse in a 10 or 11 year old horse. It's November...are you in Missouri? There's still a lot of summer and early fall insects around in your area, so most people would think of an allergy or something like that.
  9. bantamsrus

    bantamsrus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Charlotte, MI
    Generlized swelling usually is an idicator of low blood protein. A big cause of low blood protein-POTOMAC! Have bloodwork done and then you can treat for it (or rule it out if its not). Although it's late in the year we're still seeing cases in MI. And yes, even if your horse is vaccinated it still get it.
  10. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    A horse with Potomac would show additional symptoms, not just a swollen sheath. The disease generally shows a fever, severe diarrhea, and some colic. Diarrhea is usually the most remarkable symptom. A horse with Potomac is generally a very, very sick horse. Not something I want to see again soon.

    The cause of Potomac is a rickettsial bacteria. The traditional test for Potomac is for this bacterium, not for levels of blood protein.

    The Merck manual never mentions blood protein as being a factor in the cause or treatment - please refer to for details.

    Blood proteins - there are a dozen or so types, and they help transfer other molecules, assist in blood clotting, etc. Levels of blood protein can drop in severe malnutrition - I don't believe the Original Poster malnourishes her horses. Further, my horse had the swollen sheath and he definitely was not malnourished.

    Most vets start treating Potomac before test results come back as the disease moves so quickly, but there is a new PCR test (also for the bacterium) that shows results in 2 hours. The bacterium seems to be carried by various waterside insects.

    There are some Potomac vaccine failures because there are more than one strain of the bacteria. There are not enough failures that it merits skipping the vaccine, we get it and all vets we've used have advised us to continue to. Even when the vaccine can't completely stop the disease, it can make it much milder.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

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