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swollen sheath
My 8 year old Haflinger gelding presented with a swollen sheath 7 days ago (Tues 06/22). Our local vet made a farm call, no inflammation to other dependent areas (no stocking up etc); good bowel sounds; good lung sounds; heart sounds ok; anal temp normal; some reluctance to move which seemed to be due to swelling rather than tenderness of feet or muscle soreness. No sign of trauma. Given banmine 10 ml IM and dexamethasone 5 ml IM started naquasone bolus 1/2 tab q pm x 12 doses. The next evening (wed 06/23) I repeated the banamine and cleaned his sheath well, he extended and retracted it normally. With no visable change, I trailered him to the vet on Friday morning (06/25). The vet administered Ace IV and examined his sheath - no bean, no sign of trauma or injury. The vet added tri-hist q AM and continue the naquasone regime.

Today is Tuesday 06/29 - no positive changes, although he does seem more reluctant to move about. He is walking around on our Paddock Paradise track and eating hay. He is apparently uriniating and passing fecal waste in his normal fashion. No heat to feet, no tenderness to pinch test on sole. He has been barefoot all his life - mustang trimmed. He seems his usual bright, curious self - but his sheath is still swollen and I know he's uncomfortable because he's lagging behind the band and self isolating - NOT normal haflinger behavior!

We're off to an equine hospital tomorrow - any ideas out there? I'm worried.


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My arab gets the same, his is an allergy to fly bites. Usually we can feel them and apply antihistermine to area. In a few days swellen goes down and back to normal
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What did they say at the equine hospital?  One of my horses had a swollensheath this past month and we gave him Azium (Dexamethasone) and did a thorough cleaning.  That seemed to take care of it, but I can say that the heat had a lot to do with how swollen it was.  It has been so hot this summer that many horses' sheaths, legs, etc are swelling up.
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Our welsh x had a big lump on his belly and a swollen sheath this month.  My vet declined to give him dex due to the laminitis risk and just had me cold hose it.  It went down slowly over about 2-3 weeks.  It appeared to be a reaction to a spider bite or some other nasty bug.

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Read Dr. Epsy, AAEP(equine reproductive specialist) Comments of
Myth to regular sheath cleaning.

http://www.aaep.org/info/horse-health?publication=819

Summary:
What looks like dirt is natural accumulation. Horses in wild never have sheaths cleaned.
We've never had a problem with swollen sheath in any gelding until I read an old book that states to regularly clean it.  So, I cleaned it out of guilt and Now my horse has a swollen sheath!
I agree with above vets that swollen sheath can arise from a number of factors.  One seems to be from cleaning/disturbing via cleaning when not warranted. So check concerns with a vet first and remember: interior genitals maintain own natural environment that shouldn't be disturbed unless something goes amiss first.  What looks like dirt-simply isn't. Instead its the very natural accumulation of oil and lubricant.  Read the reproductive specialists comments and Disregard old books: Don't disturb to clean a penis/sheath that's functioning well. and never with a garden hose that may cause internal water damage.
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