Last Monday I noticed my two year old Arabian filly had a scrape between the jaw and lower lip on the under side. It was

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Customer: Last Monday I noticed my two year old Arabian filly had a scrape between the jaw and lower lip on the under side. It was very shallow, but pussing and bloody. I put icthamol on it. Next day I noticed a cut about the size of a quarter on the inside of her left front cannon. Assuming it was part of the same accident I again put icthamol on it. I also noticed the affected area under her head was spreading. on Wednesday there was a pea size round bloody opening on her right forearm, with the open sores on the jaw spreading up her face and down to her lower lip. Also noticed the hair on her left front forearm was rough and scaly. Today, Friday the rough hair on her forearm is breaking open with the same MO as well as spots the size of peas on the head and neck swelling, losing hair, then breaking open. I put ichamol on these and it does appear to help the sore but doesn't affect the spreading. Thanks for any input. Barbara McDonald
Answered by Dr. B. in 1 hour 13 years ago
Dr. B.
Pet Specialist

974 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Horse Veterinary, Large Animal Veterinary, Small Animal Veterinary



Interesting case history. Could you tell me a little more about the problem.....


1. Any trauma that you know of, specifically, are there any dogs or coyote's that could have attacked the filly?

2. Is the filly more prone to infections than other horses at the farm?

3. Are the area's itchy?

4. Do you notice any other areas that may be starting to form these sores?

5. Any allergies?


Looking forward to your reply.....

We do not live in a coyote area and our farm dogs are elderly and don't leave the yard much. This is the first time this filly has ever had anything wrong. She isn't a bold acting horse, therefore doesn't get into trouble snopping around. The affected areas appear to be very tender, but she isn't itching them. I have to be very cautious when I put the halter on her to come in during the day (big fly problem in our area, we are about a mile and half from the Potomac River in southern Maryland) because of the sensitivity under the jaw. There are about three dozens pea size swellings around the head and neck. (Nothing behind the wither) They swell, lose hair, then rupture with blood and puss. I've sterlized water and feed bucket every day and soak her halter and leadrope in a mild bleach solution. I spray the stall with a fly spray and clean the stall twice a day. She is turned out at night. Ther are 14 other horses on the farm and none have any of these syptoms. No horses have left the farm or come onto the farm for almost nine months. If she has allegeries I'm not aware fo them. What do you think of micorscopic bugs or parasites being the problem? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Thanks for the additional information,

The history of swelling, losing hair, rupturing and draining would fit better with a biting insect. There are some small bugs called 'no-see-ums' which are biting insects and their bites will result in the type of symptoms you are seeing in your young horse, however, that does not explain why none of the other horses have any similar problems. Another possibility would be that your young horse may have run into a beehive at night and been stung. This will result in a localized immune reaction to the stingers which can look like what you are seeing. It would also explain why the lesions are localized to the front half of the horse. In any event, these can be treated with daily lavage and application of an triple antibiotic ointment. If these lesions do not clear up within a few days, then I recommend that you contact your veterinarian for a follow up and assessment. Hope this helps. Cheers
The answer regarding bugs or bees sounds logical, however, it doesn't explain the rough area on the left forearm, about 6 inches by 4 inches that looks different then the pea size swellings that rupture and bleed. This area is now, (Monday morning) like a big scab, hair loss and bloody, similar to the the look of the open area under the jaw and lower lip, one open area. It would appear I'm dealing with two types of reaction to whatever is the cause. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
The large sites are likely where more than one sting or bite occured resulting in covaleasing of the lesions into a large site. Again, if they don't seem to be improving, you should contact your vet for a look.

After discussing the problem with a friend who suggested I look for the plant "nettle" in my field, I walked the pasture and found the plant suspected. The nettle plant has very tiny thorns that can get into the skin un-noticed. They cause the swelling, hair loss and eventual rupturing. The filly is now on the mend and no other problems seem to exist. Thanks for your input.

Barbara McDonald

Glad to hear you found the suspect irritant. Hope your horse gets better soon.
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