Cellulitis can occur in horses just like in humans, when there is a small, superficial wound that gets infected. The infection is usually centralized near the wound, but unfortunately sometimes it goes unnoticed until there is a significant amount of swelling and pain. If left untreated, infection can spread throughout the entire body… YIKES!
Such was exactly the case for our sweet Ruby a few months ago. Somehow, she got the teeniest, tiniest cut on her right foreleg, so small neither I nor her owner even saw it. But, several days later… it couldn’t go unnoticed as her leg was swollen like an elephant trunk and she could barely walk! Poor baby!! This is not a picture of Ruby’s leg, but this is almost exactly what it looked like (same leg too!):
Thankfully, with quick response we were able to turn her frown upside down :) Cellulitis usually resolves very quickly if caught early and with the following steps –
- Veterinary Care – lancing and draining the wound while the horse in under anesthetic (if necessary)
- Cold Hosing – 2x a day spraying ice cold water on the wound for 15-20 minutes at a time
- Medications – antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, wound healing cream (scarlet oil or the such will keep bugs away too)
- Wrapping – wrapping below the wound in order to keep the swelling from migrating
- Patience and love :) Consistent messing with any wound is uncomfortable, and even the most seasoned of horses’ patience will be tried!
All-in-all? A lot of work, and probably a lot of $$$… (that’s a big sad face!!!) but a good outcome for all. I think Ruby actually enjoyed being babied a little :)
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