The horse in the picture is suffering from LYMPHANGITIS
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels (similar to blood vessels) that play a role draining fluid from the legs.
Lymphangitis is inflammation associated with lymphatic system. This causes swelling which can reach as high up as the hock or even the stifle. The affected leg can be up to 3 times its normal size and is usually very sensitive to the touch. Affected horses may also have a temperature.
It is usually the hind limbs that are affected – although lymphangitis in the forelimbs is also possible.
It can be caused by a wound (sometimes very small) allowing bacteria to track into the lymphatic system. Therefore we usually treat it with antibiotics to fight any infection and anti-inflammatories to help to reduce the swelling and keep the horse as comfortable as possible.
We can use bandages and gentle walking to help the ease the swelling in the lower leg.
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A very useful warning from our friends The British Horse Society