Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tips for Swollen Legs on Horses

I broke my right wrist two months ago and the cast was recently removed. I still can't use my hand due to its swelling. I was told by my doc to move my fingers and try to make a fist as well as attempt to bend my wrist. This should bring down the swelling.

It got me thinking about how we treated swollen legs on horses. I wonder if the treatments would work for me?

Horses' legs swell for a number of reasons: wounds such as punctures, especially near a joint; stocking up from lack of activity such as a horse stalled when usually turned out; becoming cast in a stall or another way of banging a leg; disease or infection.

We once had a horse that was pastured overnight and hobbled in to eat using only three legs. The fourth was swollen and he dangled it - we thought for sure it was broken. The vet came and cut into the sole of the hoof which confirmed his suspicion of a hoof abscess! A pebble had traveled through the sole, up the hoof wall and popped out at the coronet band. An infection formed in the pebble's route.We soaked the hoof twice a day in a rubber feed tub filled with warm water and Epsom salt. He received antibiotics and bute. In a few days, the swelling was gone and the horse showed no sign of lameness!

If a horse is just stocked up ( usually both back or front legs) due to unaccustomed confinement, often a hosing and walking bring the swelling down. But if the horse has a temperature or there is only one leg swollen, then it's best to call the vet. Often, a poultice or sweat wrap will be advised.

Here are some online articles about the subject: