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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1204
Experience:  Board Certified Equine Surgeon, Lameness and Sports Medicine Specialist DVM, BSc
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20 yr old Connemara pony mare presented yesterday morning with

Customer Question

20 yr old Connemara pony mare presented yesterday morning with mildly swollen tender salivary glands and difficulty chewing. Today it is much worse. She gets 2-3 hours of mixed grass pasture in the morning and orchard grass hay in 3 feedings. Same hay all year. I have another pony with similar symptoms but not as severe.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,This is a problem with a weed or new type of grass that is in your paddock (most likely) or a weed that was bined into the hay in one of your bales. These types of reactions and in multiple horses, indicates a common source. The pasture grass/weed or a weed in one of your bales of hay is most common but water source should be looked as well. If there has been any change in the water source or the trough/buckets need to be cleaned - that is always where to look. As far as determining exactly which weed or grass may be causing the trouble that can be a difficult task, but if you contact your local USDA (if you live in the USA) crop office or feed analysis office, sometimes they will have an officer who will come look at the herbage and weeds in your fields to try and identify the inciting cause. As far as treatment, some anti-inflammatories would be best - banamine probably works best for these salivary issues but bute or any of the other anti-inflammatories that your vet will prescribe will work. The other thing to rule out here is the possibility that the swellings are actually lymph nodes and not salivary glands. This could be an indication of a bacterial infection or upper respiratory tract infection. You need to take the horse's temperature and monitor it daily - if it goes above 101.5 F or you notice a yellow discharge from either nostril, then you need to contact your vet right away. Watch for cough and monitor them for how they are swallowing. Provides this is a not an infection and is more an irritation of the salivary glands, I would recommend reducing pasture turn out and sticking to just your trusted hay source for the next week or so. These weeds will usually only be present in the field for a short period of time and are often strangled out by the natural field flora if the pasture is left open for a week or so. Hope this helps. All the best