I have a 15 year old gelding quarter horse. we did not do any work outs today at all but when i fed him his hay tonight

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Customer: i have a 15 year old gelding quarter horse. we did not do any work outs today at all but when i fed him his hay tonight he coughed and snorted pretty hard four or five times and thats all that i know of, but the last time his nose started bleeding from one nostril. this has not ever happened before that i know of, I have been with him for about a year and a half now. it wasnt a ton of blood it was just a trickle and it was watery too, not a thick true blood like a wound would have been like. should i be concerned?
Answered by Equine Vet in 28 mins 11 years ago
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Equine Vet
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Hi,
Thanks for your question. Although there is no substitute for a veterinarian to perform a hands-on examination I will try to help. There are many causes of nosebleeds in horses. The least concerning and smallest volume bleeds are often related to either increased blood pressure during a workout (not in your case) or foreign body irritation in the nasal passages (a piece of hay, seeds, dust). It is not uncommon to have a horse develop a nosebleed after being in a dusty environment, especially if they are coughing. Sometimes burrowing in the hay is enough to kick up some dust or fine hay particles and start a cough. This increases pressures in the nasal passages and can cause the normally fragile small blood vessels within the mucosa to rupture and bleed small volumes. This may be mixed with another nasal discharge such as mucus as you have described, as that would be another sign of airway irritation. Minor trauma to the head such as hitting a stall wall or fence can also cause the blood vessels in the sinuses to bleed, so sometimes we see bloody noses that are self-limiting and some evidence that the horse has hit its head (scratches, etc).

More severe head trauma can cause more severe bleeds. Other less likely causes are exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (as with "bleeders" in racehorses), masses in the nasal passages or sinuses (usually visible only with an endoscope) and fungal plaques on the vessels within the guttural pouches. These are all more serious causes of bleeding that should be investigated if the nosebleed was to return or persist. Otherwise I would monitor for further bleeding and contact your veterinarian for further examination if the condition persists. I would not be overly concerned if this happened once and never again, in small volume.

Please let me know if there is anything I can clarify or if you have further questions.
Customer
so essentially you are saying that it is a possibility that he has a bit of allergies? he does also have a goopy eye. it is always goopy. some days more than others and the discharge is mostly pretty clear and runs down his face where it dries and gets crusty. so is it possible that he just has bad allergies that are causing all of this (the nose bleed and goopy eye)? if so, is there anything i can give him to make it better. he doesnt seem bothered by it but i would just like to know for sure. also, he is cremello colored with very light blue eyes and white hooves. i have had many people tell me that horses with his color have lots more problems with allergies and their hooves as well.
It is not necessarily allergy that would cause a horse to cough and have nosebleed/mucoid discharge from the nose, but sometimes the actual mechanical irritation of the inhaled particles or whatever has gone up the nostril can lead to a cough, just as you would if you got some hay dust in your nose or even a bug! Yes, it is true that horses with pink skin, especially around their eyes, are more likely to be sensitive to irritation, be it allergic or otherwise (and more prone to cancerous masses around the eyes). The eye issue may or may not be related to the nosebleed. The eye could be a few different things, and it would be impossible to diagnose without examining him in person. Some horses have chronic uveitis and have repeated bouts of irritation that is essentially a reaction to the horse's own immune system and can be brought on by allergy, among other things. Many horses with chronic watery drainage from one eye actually have blocked nasolacrimal ducts. These are the tiny tubes that connect the eyelids to the inside of the nose. When tears are produced normally in the eye, they are drained from the eye area and run down into the nose, exiting from a small hole about 2" inside the base of the nostril. That is why when a person cries they tend to get a runny nose. These ducts can be blocked over time by infection or inflammation, which could be allergy related as well, and then the tears run down the face and often burn the hair off the face if the condition persists. We can sometimes flush the ducts clear or help to reduce the inflammation and open the ducts more with topical steroid drops if we are unable to flush the ducts patent. Both of these conditions really require a vet to diagnose and prescribe the correct treatment. Improper eye treatment can have serious consequences, so best to get an exam to be sure. Unless the coughing and nosebleed continues and your veterinarian has determined by examination that the two are linked, I would not necessarily start treatment for allergy, although sometimes systemic steroids, and less often anti-histamines, can help with the eye conditions. I suppose there is also the possibility that there could be a mass in the nasal passage obstructing the nasolacrimal duct and causing bleeding in the nasal passage at the same time. Definitely something to keep in mind if the nosebleed returns.
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