View Full Version : Lymphangitis
14th Jan 2002, 01:19 PM
Does anyone have any information on this problem please, good and bad.
I am looking to take on loan a 24 yo QH that has recently suffered a bout of this and I want to know;
how often is it likely to recurr?
What can I do to prevent it?
What work can I expect this horse to do/ not do?
What treatment does it require and an approximate cost and frequency of treatment?
Will it be worth my while or should I look elsewhere?
14th Jan 2002, 02:05 PM
I'm sorry I can't be of much help as I don't know very much about the condition of which your prospective horse suffers.
However, perhaps your vet can help?
A simple phone call to your local surgery could clear up any questions you have.
Alternatively, have you tried a quick search on one of the major search engines (yahoo, google etc)?
Best of luck and please let us know how you get on.
14th Jan 2002, 02:36 PM
I've tried searching with not much luck, there seems to only be a couple of single postings elsewhere about it.
I will speak to my vet but was hoping for a response from those that have managed a horse with the condition.
Thanks for the advice though!
14th Jan 2002, 03:33 PM
Lymphangitis is an inflammation of the lymphatic system, which sort of runs in parallel to the blood system, carrying a clear fluid which contains white blood cells, fats and proteins, and basically acts to fight infection. There are two types of lymphangitis, the most common being caused by some unknnown factor which results in a blockage of the lymphatic vessels, usually to one of the legs, often hindlegs, sometimes both.
The affected leg is usually swollen, and there's often an associated wound. If serious the whole leg can swell and fluid oozes out of the coronary band. The hoof can be badly affected and may drop off. (this is rare though so don't panic)
As it's usually associated with wounds, what you need to be aware of is being extra vigilant with this horse, and perhaps being a hypochondriac if he so much as scratches himself. I couldn't say whether he will or won't have a second attack, but it helps that you make yourself aware of what to do.
Usually the horse will have a sudden lameness, even before the swelling starts to appear, so watch out for that. Sometimes the swelling may just be a small area, or it may involve the whole leg.
As far as treatment goes, so long as you call the vet if you suspect he's having an attack, he will be given steroids, antibiotics (as bacterial infection may be involved) and probably bute. He will need to be massaged and walked in hand to help reduce the swelling, and depending on the extent of swelling, he may need bandaging too.
To summarise (sorry if I went on a bit), there's nothing he won't be able to do that he couldn't do before, and so long as you are careful with wounds that he gets (don't panic over them) and keep them clean and watch out for any signs that he's getting lymphangitis, I'd say don't worry about it.
Hope this is helpful.
14th Jan 2002, 04:24 PM
This is completely different to what the owner told me about it (and had copied it from a book)
Lymphangitis (quote from book)- damage to the lymphatics (tubes that drain the tissue fluid away)
One or both hind legs are swollen due to the presence of tissue fluid. If the leg becomes greatly swollen, Fluid may start to ooze through the skin.
Imbalance between food and exercise. It used to be called monday morning disease because it would occur in cart horses after their rest day. (azoturia is also-sometimes called monday morning disease for the same reason).
Hot formations on the groin area may help circulation. A diuretic drug may remove some of the fluid. (he has been on bute and pain killers and yesterday he had a penicillin injection and he also had one today his legs are cold hosed to get serculation going in his legs and he is also walked to get serculation going).
Reduce hard food on rest days.
Is this anything to do with lymphangitis?
14th Jan 2002, 10:40 PM
Well the descriotion of the symptoms and the actual process is pretty much what I said, just in a different way, but I would disagree with the cause. It is however one of those diseases that is still poorly understood, and the book is probably (most likely) out of date - most books are even before they're printed, let alone a few years down the track.
Sounds like he's been treated as I would anyway!! Walking and cold hosing fine, dunno about groin packing, I think it'd possibly work if that's where the blockage is but ?????????? if he'll tolerate it, it woll help improve the blood circulation there, so may be of some use. Diuretics may help reduce the fluid, but I like to avoid them because of other side effects, so not my treatment of choice, but he's not getting them at the moment is he?
I didn't realise he was having a bout right now, but I still think if you're prepared to be aware that he has had it, there's no reason not to take him on, once he's recovered of course.
if I were you though I'd ask them to look and see if he has got a wound on his legs anywhere, as they usually do, and it's usually not related to where the fluid is bursting out. It won't make any difference if there is or isn't one, it'd just be interesting to know.
15th Jan 2002, 07:15 AM
I always understood Monday morning disease to be Azoturia (tying-up) rather than Lymphangitis.
15th Jan 2002, 07:29 AM
Morning Jo - Jan here!!!!
Gypsy gets this, in a mild form from time to time, if she's had to be stabled over 2/3 days due to severe weather - to combat it I just turn her out in our yard (but have to put electric tape up to stop her eating the plants) or walk her for a while. It's never been a problem.
15th Jan 2002, 11:05 AM
I've never heard anyone call it monday morning disease either, only azoturia.
Jan, Do you mean that your horses legs fill out when she's stabled? A lot of horses have this problem, but that's to do with poor lymphatic drainage during rest, as drainage is stimulated and helped by contraction of the muscles around the lyphatic vessels. Strictly speaking lymphangitis is an active inflammation and as such is very painful. Your mare probably is not painful, and just gets cold, non painful swollen legs. You can prevent this by putting stable bandages on overnight. A lot of horses suffer from this if they are box rested for injuries.
15th Jan 2002, 11:20 AM
Oooooh sorry Ponyvet, I have obviously misunderstood this! It started when my mare had a graze on the outer side of her fetlock that was slow to heal. In an attempt to help it I kept her in for a couple of days and her leg 'filled-up'. The Vet came to check it all out and I thought he had said it was lymphangitis - he gave her anitbiotics and bute, said to cold-hose it, protect the site of the graze and turn her out. Obviously it all settled back down, the graze healed, and all was well.
Since then if she has to stay in her legs 'fill-up' and I thought it was related.
I'm sorry if I have misled anyone - sorry Jo - my facts have become a bit scrambled in the old brain!! (44 this year!!)
Thank heavens we have people like Ponyvet who know what they're doing to keep an eye on us and sort us out properly.
15th Jan 2002, 05:32 PM
Thanks for all your help guys!
I will probably go ahead and look at him and take it from there. It doesn't seem to be a condition that is going to cause me too many problems. I'll just have to be extra vigilant in checking for cuts and grazes.
Bebe, I mentioned exactly what you said to the owner but she said that because her book said it is caused by an imbalance of food and exercise that it is also known as Monday morning disease.
Jan, thanks for your advice, I suppose as long as he gets plenty of turnout if he isn't ridden then it shouldn't be a problem. No doubt as an oap his legs will probably fill anyway so until I get to know him I'll be forever worrying. I'm glad you reminded me that it happens though!!
I'll keep you posted to whether or not he comes to live ooop north!
15th Jan 2002, 06:31 PM
Sounds like the first incident was a lymphangitis, but since then perhaps she just has a tendency to swell up. So not strictly a lyphangitis, but maybe it's had the effect of leaving her legs prone to swelling. Anyway try bandaging her when she's stabled, that should stop it! I've not heard anything about the possibilty of filling legs being related to previous episodes of ltmphangitis, but perhaps it is. Interesting!
Humans can also get this disease, but in people it is definitely related to little exercise and poor diet, so maybe she got it from a human book.
16th Jan 2002, 12:33 AM
I think that there was a brief description in one of the horsey magazines this month under the "winter problems" section, but I can see that you've already got a proper description.
I've always assumed that it was a more severe form of the "swollen legs" problem that some horses get when they are kept in. It does sound much more serious than that though from the description. Hooves falling off?? Ugh! :eek:
16th Jan 2002, 10:25 AM
Filling of legs is simply caused by gravity. The lymph fluid goes down to the bottom of the legs, and as there is little muscle action acting on the drainage tubes to pump fluid back up, it just pools on the legs, and seeps into the tissues making them swell. In lymphangitis the vessels themselves are somehow damaged, or swollen, and even in some cases blocked, which causes:
1. increased fluid to the area, (since that is a normal reaction to damaged tissues or inflammation - increased lymph flow)
2. Dramatically reduced drainage
3. Physical pain
The reason why the fluid starts to seep out is because the tissues simply become full and like a sponge, they start to leak when too wet. Usually the bursting is around the coronary band as this area is a fixed point. Swelling cannot pass any further down the leg, since the hoof prevents it.
However the tissues inside the hoof do swell, like in laminitis, so in severe cases the horse may seem like a laminitic with swollen legs. As in laminitis the swollen tissues cut off their own blood supply and the sensitive laminae within the hoof can die back. Unlike laminitis this can happen all the way around the hoof, and the hoof wall can come away totally.
This sounds terrible, and it is, but not necessarily a life threatening situation. Since the damage is acute (sudden) and not taking place over a long time (as opposed to laminitis which although may be acute in onset, hoof wall damage usually takes a long time) the horse can be stabled on a very deeo bed, and made comfortable with painkillers, and in time (up to a year) the hoof can grow back.
16th Jan 2002, 11:28 AM
In the very worst cases could the horses pedal bone rotate similar to laminitis, or is it just the external structures that are affected?
16th Jan 2002, 11:56 AM
Just to re-iterate what everyone else said - I've known two horses with lymphangitis. The first had severe swelling and lameness and fluid oozing out of the coronary band - he was put on antibiotics and we had to clean his leg throughly and apply a cream to the scabs. He was walked out and recovered in a few weeks. The second came in from the field very lame and with alot of swelling - the vet thought it originated from mud fever - he had 5 days of antibiotics and was fine.
16th Jan 2002, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the clarification, ponyvet!
17th Jan 2002, 04:55 PM
Sorry I'm being very lecturing on this one aren't I? :D
jo, the pedal bone wouldn't really rotate because the whole foot tissue is swollen and in a funny way that provides support, so it probably wouldn't. The whole hoof capsule can fall off, but I must stress that I've never actually seen this happen, but I have discussed this before with another vet, and I do know of a horse that it happened to (so I know it can grow back too, and the horse has never had another episode - touch wood).
Rotation of the pedal bone in laminitis happens after the internal swelling goes down and there is a dead space formed on the front suface of the bone, where it's normally attached to the hoof capsule by the laminae. WHen they die back the attachment is lost, and the tendon fixing to the back of the pedal bone pulls it round. I think in lymphangitis there is no dead space formed and when the hoof wall falls off the tissue is still attached to the bone.
18th Jan 2002, 04:04 PM
Not at all! Well informed posts are always welcome! :)
21st Jan 2002, 09:52 PM
Thanks for all your help everyone.
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