View Full Version : Swelling in Legs, what could it be??

25-03-09, 10:32 AM
I have a horse who has in the past occasionally gotten swollen legs after a hard day but only on the odd occasion.

Lately she has been getting them perhaps once a week. There is definatly no heat and no lameness, they come up whilst she is in her yard overnight and go down when she's out in the paddock during the day, they are usually only swollen one maybe 2 mornings at a time. She's working well, has a balanced diet etc etc im not sure what it could be and if i should be worried.

Would magnetic boots or tuffrock poultice be of any use?

thanks :-)

25-03-09, 10:56 AM
Alot of horses get it when standing still in a stable all night. It can be caused from too much lucerne hay (protein I think???) or just fluid build up from standing still. One of the stallions I worked with would get it every time he was stabled. We fixed it by leaving him out 24/7. He loved it and no more swollen legs.


25-03-09, 01:51 PM
I also know of someone that had a horse that got Ross River Fever???? (think that was it - from the mossies?)

Made her legs swell ........ *shrugs* - just putting it out there :)

25-03-09, 02:17 PM
yes, not many people know that horses, like people, can get ross river virus. and, like people, can end up with chronic fatigue syndrome as an after-effect. it's happened to me, and to a horse I once owned.

25-03-09, 03:33 PM
Interesting. I have heard of that before but there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with her, she has had a change of diet and is feeling quite good. She's currently getting sunflower seeds just to help put on a bit of weight and is feeling a little TOO good but they will be dropped out soonish so perhaps they are causing it??

oats and barley
25-03-09, 04:10 PM
Could be an intolerance to something you were feeding but would think they would be fat most mornings not occasionally. More likely just not moving enough. Magnetic boots may make a difference due to the increase in circulation. Wouldnt panic too much about it, is quite common.

25-03-09, 04:28 PM
Thanks O&B i was thinking its nothing to be too concerned about. If there was heat i'd be worried but definatly no heat :)

25-03-09, 04:29 PM
was out at a property yesterday & noticed an older grey with one swollen lower hind leg - no scabs as you would see in greasy heel -
& was told that it was elephantitis...not something I have encountered before...wonder whether that was even the correct name - has anybody heard of it? other than that our TB eventers usually have slight swelling if left overnight at events in small yards...walking seems to resolve the problem - they do usually 'live out'

25-03-09, 04:49 PM
Swelling in the legs can also indicate heart failure and / or other organ problems.
I'd get her checked out...maybe a blood test and have her heart checked..if nothing..then probably diet, fluid retention... or circulatory problems. What happens if you massage the legs?
Whatever it is...she should not be regularly having to deal with swollen legs.

25-03-09, 06:56 PM
sunflower seeds can be more 'rev-up' than oats for some horses.

25-03-09, 07:47 PM
You've stated no lameness or heat, so it sounds like windgalls to me. I recently came across them in my horse after 2 weeks of pretty hard work.

They are usually in the hind legs, and are the result of sinovial (or joint) fluid being pushed out of the joint and into the surrounding soft tissues. I actually posted on here in a bit of a fluff about them, to be reassured.

Sure enough they've gone now, but I've spoken to quite a few horsey mates who say their horses regularly get them.

I've also come across a lot of horses who swell up when stabled from not moving. Mine can even swell up when it rains heavily and he doesn't move because he's a poofta and goes and hides under a tree... ;)

If you google the term wingall there's quite a few good links there so you can read up. But if there's heat, soreness, lameness.... then it's something else again :)

Horse sense - something that horses have that stops them betting on humans

25-03-09, 08:53 PM
I have a TB whose back fetlocks would swell right for no apparent reason. Like your horse there was no heat and no lameness. I finally narrowed it down to the oats I was feeding him. If he had too much his back legs would swell. Swapped to barley and I haven't had a problem since. Apart from a few months ago when I started to give him molasses. After about 3 days his back legs swelled again. Took him off molasses and he's been fine ever since.

He has had all his bloods done and they were fine.

Maybe you could try changing his diet a bit and see how that goes?

25-03-09, 09:01 PM
first port of call

temperature - if increased call vet

then look at the feed - workload - moving amount...and also its balance

with it going down daily after turn out, it screams to me too much protein not enough fibre

find your balance

good luck

25-03-09, 09:40 PM
This is quite common some horses more so than others, I would think it is a combination of the sunflowers seed, (protein) cut back to half the amount for a few days and see if that makes any difference, also that your horse is standing in the yard and not moving around enough, is the yard floor hard? as this can make it worse. does the swelling go down after a few minutes of turn out or jogging/ walking around? I have seen it many a time, nothing too serious, just may pay top increase the yard size and perhaps the flooring material could be looked at to make it a bit softer.

25-03-09, 09:54 PM
Exactly, bgw. So terribly common with horses fed a lot of rich feed, worked during the day, locked up at night and particularly on a hard surface ... happens all the time.

It's a case of management. Cut his feed, make sure the floor of his yard (if he MUST be in a yard) is soft and giving .... plenty of straw, shavings, sawdust, whatever .... or if not then leave him in the paddock overnight. A horse in a yard over a few days can compact the surface so much it finishes up like concrete.

Evil Laughs
26-03-09, 01:30 AM
my tb gets swollen ankles/fetlocks when the weather is #### and he goes and stands in his shelter and doesn't move around his paddock. Them TB's such delicate petals donchya know ;-) he even gets his feed delivered twice daily to the feed bin IN the shelter so he doesn't have to move lol. Little #### lives the life of Reilly! But yeah.. the swelling goes away once he starts moving - it's basically gone after 10 minutes of walk / trot on the lunge.

26-03-09, 09:50 AM
Regarding the feed, she previously wasn't getting a balanced diet, i have since balanced her diet and she is getting everything she needs but the swelling is still staying. I thought windgalls too but it doesn't seem like the same sort of swelling, its not really in 'pouches'. Worked her last night and definatly no soreness and she wasn't silly or anything, worked really nicely. bit of a mystery still

26-03-09, 10:28 AM
>Regarding the feed, she previously wasn't getting a balanced
>diet, i have since balanced her diet and she is getting
>everything she needs but the swelling is still staying. I
>thought windgalls too but it doesn't seem like the same sort
>of swelling, its not really in 'pouches'. Worked her last
>night and definatly no soreness and she wasn't silly or
>anything, worked really nicely. bit of a mystery still

windgalls dont go down