22 Jul 2022

Combating swelling in legs with Elite Equine

Discovering swelling in your horse’s leg can be a nerve-wracking experience. This symptom can be especially concerning when accompanied by lameness, elevated body temperature, and warmth in the hoof or leg. A swollen leg in a horse, sometimes referred to as ‘stocking up,’ is a condition that can have many causes, ranging from minor to severe. It is important to consult with your veterinarian if you discover abnormal swelling to pinpoint the cause and determine if medical treatment is necessary.

What causes swelling in equine legs?

Swollen legs often occur on the horse’s hind legs but can occasionally affect the front legs. When a horse is immobile, such as when it is stalled, or has exerted itself heavily, gravity can cause legs to swell due to the leaking of fluids from tissues and blood vessels. This condition is known as edema and can occur for several reasons, such as a cut in milder cases or cellulitis in more severe cases. A vet can examine your horse and determine the underlying cause of the swelling.

Leg swelling in horses can occur after trauma, such as a wound, or an infection, whether viral or bacterial. It can also occur as a result of not enough exercise or from an immune-mediated disease, such as pemphigus or purpura hemorrhagica. Swelling caused by lymphangitis or cellulitis is usually a result of a break in the skin that allows bacteria to enter the body. If not promptly treated, the infection can spread through the body and become potentially life-threatening.

What are the signs and symptoms?

If you notice swelling in your horse’s leg, there are several signs and symptoms you’ll want to look for, including:

  • Painful limbs
  • Swollen leg joints
  • Fever
  • Trauma to the limbs
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty walking
  • Lameness
  • Scratches or cuts
  • Legs warm to the touch
  • Loss of appetite

How to assess a swollen leg in a horse

Before contacting a vet, take a few moments to assess the condition of your horse to determine if the problem warrants medical attention. Gently run your hand over the swollen area to see if you feel heat. Next, carefully palpate the area to determine if there is tenderness. If the skin feels hot or if the animal flinches in pain, he may be experiencing an acute inflammatory reaction.

If you don’t feel heat coming from the leg and your horse does not seem to be in pain when you touch him, the problem is could be a non-acute condition, such as windgalls. Horses may experience warmth and tenderness of the leg following a recent injury or if an infection is developing. Look for visible signs that could indicate why the swelling has occurred, such as a wound or cut.

The recovery prognosis is generally good if the horse is promptly treated. However, the effectiveness of treatment ultimately depends on the cause of the leg swelling. Ideally, you want to see your vet regularly to ensure that the problem does not reoccur and that there is no infection.

How a rosehip supplement can help

While there are many supplements on the market designed to aid in horse health and performance, not all are made equal. Elite Equine is a natural rosehip supplement that offers amazing joint and cartilage support. Rosehip has been found to help with flexibility by providing joint support and relieving swelling, inflammation, and pain. Pure, organic rosehip also aids in the recovery process following injuries and disease do to its naturally high vitamin C content.

Rosehip is high in vitamin C and contains vitamin A, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin K, making it a great supplement for horses of all ages. When your horse needs extra support, Elite Equine can help.