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Dr. Dan M.
Dr. Dan M., Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1503
Experience:  Equine Veterinary Surgeon
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Bump on right exterior of horses knee. Been there serveral

Resolved Question:

Bump on right exterior of horse's knee. Been there serveral years. No problems with gate or soreness. However, bump does interfer with range of motion of knee. ie. I can only comfortably bend his leg inward (like when checking shoes) about 70% of total anticipated flexion. What would you do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Dan M. replied 5 years ago.

Well firstly it's good it's been there a while, but frustrating that it is interfering with motion of the joint.

There are several possibilities to its cause, the most likely thing is that it is bone and possibly a result of arthritis. Sometimes the joints can produce too much joint fluid and a bursitis develops which can appear as a long standing swelling around a joint.
Other possible lumps would be actual tissue masses like a sarcoid or other such tumour.

A bony swelling would be hard, bursitis would be soft and squishy whilst a sarcoma would have similar texture to skin.

If its bony it will not be able to removed as this would provoke more reaction, a bursitis can be drained but would likely refill and a sarcoid/skin mass could possibly be treated to some degree.

So firstly you need confirmation of the nature if the lump before exploring it be possibly rectified. So s vet check to ascertain the tissue type causing the swelling and seeding of the restriction in movement is physical or from pain.

I hope this is of some help, do ask further if not

Best wishes

Dr Dan Makin
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Makin.


To clarify the question, is it an encapsulated bump, similar to a hard cyst. To the eye, it remains the same in size over time. Assuming non-cancerous, what would you do, if anything, for a bump that limits range of motion, but does not appear to cause ongoing pain. The horse is pastured and not kept in a stall and able to walk at leisure.

Expert:  Dr. Dan M. replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the further info. I think the easiest way to determine a plan forward would be to assess the nature of the mass. This can be straightforward and a fine needle can be used to take a sample of the cells in the lump, placed on a slide and sent to the lab to assess the tumour/ lump type. Then a decision can be made as to whether it is amenable to surgery of some sort. Now that could be a debulking procedure to reduce the size of the lump but not remove it, or remove it completely. These could both be done under field anaesthetic conditions possibly.

An x-ray would also help determine the margins of the lump and if it involves the joint as this would affect the ability to surgically treat the lump.
If a sarcoid is diagnosed then there are many treatments available from potent creams, to freezing, to surgery.

I am sorry these are very broad statements but they should cover most eventualities.

Good luck

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