Tag Archives: Scratches

Immune Booster Leads to Infection?

For the past 6 weeks, my horse has been receiving Ozonetherapy to aid in his chronic back leg related issues- dermatitis (“scratches”), previous DDFT tendon laceration, a history of Lymphingitis, and the residual scar tissue from his DDFT injury.  Due to his age (27), he lacks proper circulation in his hind end which does not help him fight his pastern dermatitis.  


According to the American Academy of Ozonetherapy, Ozonetherapy is described as;

“Ozonotherapy is the use of medical grade ozone, a highly reactive form of pure oxygen, to create a curative response in the body. The body has the potential to renew and regenerate itself. When it becomes sick it is because this potential has been blocked. The reactive properties of ozone stimulate the body to remove many of these impediments thus allowing the body to do what it does best – heal itself.”

“Ozonotherapy has been and continues to be used in European clinics and hospitals for over fifty years. It was even used here in the United States in a limited capacity in the early part of the 20th century. There are professional medical ozonotherapy societies in over ten countries worldwide. Recently, the International Scientific Committee on Ozonotherapy (ISCO3) was formed to help establish standardized scientific principles for ozonotherapy. The president of the AAO, Frank Shallenberger, MD is a founding member of the ISCO3.”

“Ozonotherapy was introduced into the United States in the early 80’s, and has been increasingly used in recent decades. It has been found useful in various diseases;

  • It activates the immune system in infectious diseases.
  • It improves the cellular utilization of oxygen that reduces ischemia in cardiovascular diseases, and in many of the infirmities of aging.
  • It causes the release of growth factors that stimulate damaged joints and degenerative discs to regenerate.
  • It can dramatically reduce or even eliminate many cases of chronic pain through its action on pain receptors.
  • Published papers have demonstrated its healing effects on interstitial cystitis, chronic hepatitis, herpes infections, dental infections, diabetes, and macular degeneration.”

 

After doing research and speaking to one of my good friends, we determined that Chance’s flare up of Lymphingitis, after almost 3 years of not a single issue, could possibly be caused by his immune system’s response to Ozonetherapy.  Let me explain.

Chance suffers from persistent Pastern dermatitis (“scratches”) since I purchased him in 2000.  I have tried everything- antibiotics, every cream and ointment and spray for scratches, diaper rash ointment, iodine and vaseline mix, Swat, laser treatments, scrubs and shampoos, shaving the area, wrapping the area, light therapy…you name it, I have tried it.  So, when we began Ozonetherapy to help break down the left over scar tissue from his old DDFT injury, I noticed that his scratches were drying up and falling off.  We continued administering the Ozonetherapy once a week for about 6 weeks.  The improvement was dramatic!  

However, one day Chance woke up with severe swelling in his left hind leg and obviously, he had difficulty walking.  He received Prevacox and was stall bound for 24 hours.  The vet was called and she arranged to come out the following day.  The next morning, Chance’s left leg was still huge and he was having trouble putting weight on it.  I did the typical leg treatments- icing, wrapping.  The swelling remained.  I tried to get him out of his stall to cold hose his leg and give him a bath but he would not budge.  He was sweaty and breathing heavily and intermittently shivering.  So, I gave him an alcohol and water sponge bath and continued to ice his back legs.   I sat with him for 4 hours waiting for the vet to arrive.  He had a fever and wasn’t interested in eating and his gut sounds were not as audible.  He was drinking, going to the bathroom, and engaging with me.  I debated giving him Banamine but did not want it to mask anything when the vet did arrive.  

The vet arrived, gave him a shot of Banamine and an antihistamine and confirmed that Chance had a fever of 102 degrees and had Lymphingitis.  There was no visible abrasion, puncture, or lump… I asked the vet to do x-rays to ensure that he did not have a break in his leg.  The x-rays confirmed that there was no break.  The vet suggested a regiment of antibiotics, steroids (I really am against using steroids due to the short-term and long-term side effects but in this case, I would try anything to make sure he was comfortable) , prevacox, and a antacid to protect Chance from stomach related issues from the medications.  It was also advised to continue to cold hose or ice and keep his legs wrapped and Chance stall bound.  

The following day, Chance’s legs were still swollen but his fever had broken.  The vet called to say that the CBC had come back and that his WBC was about 14,00o. She suggested that we stop the steroids and do the antibiotic 2x a day and add in Banamine. I asked her if she could order Baytril (a strong antibiotic that Chance has responded well to in the past) just in case.  And that is what we did.  

Being as Chance had such a strong reaction to whatever it was, I did some thinking, discussing, and researching…first and foremost, why did Chance have such an extreme flare up of Lymphingitis when he was the healthiest he has ever been?  And especially since he had not had a flare up in 3+ years…plus, his scratches were getting better not worse.  The Ozonetherapy boosted his immune system and should provide him with a stronger defense against bacteria, virus’, etc.  So why exactly was he having a flare up?  And that is when it hit me!

In the past when Chance began his regiment of Transfer Factor (an all natural immune booster), he broke out in hives.  The vet had come out and she felt it was due to the Transfer Factor causing his immune system to become “too strong” and so it began fighting without there being anything to fight, thus the hives.  My theory- Chance started the Ozonetherapy and his body began to fight off the scratches by boosting his immune system.  As the treatments continued, his immune system began to attack the scratches tenfold.  This resulted in his Lymphatic system to respond, his WBC to increase, and his body temperature to spike.  Makes sense…but what can I do to ensure this is not going to happen again?  

My friend suggested attacking the antibiotic resistant bacteria by out smarting them…okay, that seems simple enough…we researched the optimal enviroments for the 3 types of bacteria present where Chance’s scratches are (shown in the results of a past skin scape test).  The bacteria – E. Coli, pseudomonas aeruginosa and providencia Rettgeri. The literature stated that PA was commonly found in individuals with diabetes…diabetes…SUGAR!  How much sugar was in Chance’s feed?  I looked and Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed is low in sugar…so that is not it.  What else can we find out?  The optimal temperature for all three bacteria is around 37 degrees celsius (or 98.6 degrees fahrenheit), with a pH of 7.0, and a wet environment. Okay, so, a pH of 7.0 is a neutral.  Which means if the external enviroment (the hind legs)pH is thrown off, either to an acidic or alkaline pH, the bacteria will not have the optimal enviroment to continue growing and multiplying.  How can I change the pH?  

Vinegar!  An antimicrobial and a 5% acetic acid! And…vinegar is shown to help kill mycobacteria such as drug-resistant tuberculosis and an effective way to clean produce; it is considered the fastest, safest, and more effective than the use of antibacterial soap.  Legend even says that in France during the Black Plague, four thieves were able to rob the homes of those sick with the plague and not become infected.  They were said to have purchased a potion made of garlic soaked in vinegar which protected them.  Variants of the recipe, now called “Four Thieves Vinegar” has continued to be passed down and used for hundreds of years (Hunter, R., 1894).

I went to the store, purchased distilled vinegar and a spray bottle and headed to the farm.  I cleaned his scratches and sprayed the infected areas with vinegar.  I am excited to see whether our hypothesis is correct or not…I will keep you posted!

 


References & Information


Effect of pH on Drug Resistent Bacteriaijs-43-1-174

NIH: Drug Resistant Bacteria

Vinegar

Lymphatic Conditions

Horses Side Vet Guide

What does my horse’s CBC mean?

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Nutrena SC Senior feed ingredience
The American Academy of Ozonetherapy

Hunter, Robert (1894). The Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Toronto: T.J. Ford. ISBN 0-665-85186-3.

 

I have a limp!

Resources on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and handle lameness in horses

Your Horse Has a Swollen Leg – Why and What To Do | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters

All About the Fetlock

Fetlock Lameness – It’s importance… | The Horse Magazine – Australia’s Leading Equestrian Magazine

Causes of Equine Lameness | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters

 

Common Causes of Lameness in the Fetlock

fetlock lame

 

Ozone Therapy


OZONE THERAPY – HISTORY, PHYSIOLOGY, INDICATIONS, RESULTS


 Judith M. Shoemaker, DVM 305 Nottingham Road Nottingham, PA 19362

717-529-0526 Fax 717-529-0776

http://www.judithshoemaker.com

Ozone therapy has been utilized and heavily studied for more than a century. Its effects are proven, consistent, safe and without side effects. Why is it not more universal in its use? Many of you have come with some trepidation about infusing a gas into a vessel because you are concerned about emboli, or have some dreadful fear about ozone’s toxicity since we frequently hear about the unhealthy ozone levels in the atmosphere. These fears do not apply to properly administered medical ozone, and the potential benefits of ozone therapy are profound and without associated detrimental effects.

Oxygen, in its several forms, cycles through the atmosphere and life processes just as water does. Ozone is produced in the upper atmosphere when UV light strikes the oxygen rising from plants, plankton, and algae in our forests and seas. It then falls back through the atmosphere, as it is heavier than air, combining with pollutants and water, cleaning the air and forming peroxides that benefit plants. Ultraviolet light breaking down pollutants and nitrous oxides also can produce ozone at the ground level, which is the eye and lung irritant in smog.

Medical ozone, used to disinfect and treat disease, has been around for over 150 years. Used to treat infections, wounds, and multiple diseases, ozone’s effectiveness has been well documented. Ozone has been used to disinfect drinking water since before the turn of the last century. A text on medical ozone therapy was published by Dr. Charles J. Kenworth in 1885! The best technology for producing ozone gas was designed and built by Nikola Tesla in the 1920’s. Heads of leading medical institutions in the U.S. contributed to a 1929 book “Ozone and Its Therapeutic Actions” describing the treatment of 114 diseases using ozone.

In 1933, the AMA began its systematic suppression of all modalities of treatment that did not complement its liaison with the emerging pharmacologic and diagnostic industries. Ozone therapy, along with many other useful therapies, were methodically eliminated from the educational process and exposure to the public in the U.S.

Less suppression has occurred in Europe and other countries, especially in Russia. Today in Germany, and other countries, ozone therapy is commonplace. Over 7000 doctors in Germany use it daily. In fact, in Germany, ozone generators are in ambulances for treatment of stroke victims. The incidence of permanent paralysis in these patients is much less than that in similar patients where ozone is not used.

Ozone generators are relatively simple and inexpensive. The equipment used to handle ozone is readily available but needs to be relatively non-reactive. Glass, Teflon, Kynar, silicon, and gold are completely non-reactive. Equipment made of other substances can contaminate the ozone or just deteriorate rapidly using up the ozone and becoming nonfunctional.

 Generators use several technologies to produce ozone

  • UV lamp – makes small amounts of ozone and is unreliable in making accurate concentrations. They burn out easily.
  • Corona discharge – dual dielectric sealed systems produce ozone but also lots of heat which is both destructive to ozone and to the machine.
  • Cold plasma generators – which produce ozone using low level current passed in 2 tubes of a noble gas between which an electrostatic plasma field forms that ionizes the oxygen.Ozone concentration is measured in u/ml or gms/L of oxygen, 5% or 70 u/ml is usually the maximum concentration used in clinical medical applications. High concentrations will damage red cells and inhibit growth of healthy cells.Dosage and frequency protocols vary widely. Initial high dose treatments may “jumpstart” the immune system followed by lower doses. Those who are fearful have been “starting slow and going low” with dosage and still have good results. Concentration must be carefully controlled with accurate flow rates, requiring pediatric regulators for the needed slow flow rates to produce high concentrations. Therefore, home made machines and lesser quality nonmedical devices are not appropriate.

    Ozone poteniates free radical scavenging substances and systems in the body, inducing the production of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. If ozone administration causes any respiratory irritation from out-gassing through the lungs, a bolus dose of 1 to 5 grams of vitamin C can be given and will eliminate any coughing instantly.

    Oxygen/ozone mixtures cannot cause emboli when injected at reasonable rates as they dissolve and diffuse very quickly in body fluids, unlike air (predominantly nitrogen) which is what forms emboli and causes the bends or decompression disease.

    The physiologic actions of ozone are many, the simplest of which is to provide sufficient oxygen to allow complete oxidation of sugars and other fuels to produce sufficient and efficient energy and to “burn clean” to CO2, water, and inert end products. If not enough oxygen is available, then incomplete oxidation occurs, producing carbon monoxide, lactic acid, and partially oxidized toxins that inhibit further oxygen metabolism and “clog the system”, tying up hemoglobin, water, and the mechanisms for function and elimination.

    Administration can be through any route with modifications:

  • Direct IV infusion – Ozone slowly administered into a major vessel.
  • Major auto-hemotherapy – Anticoagulated blood is mixed with ozone and is infused into a vessel.
  • Rectal/vaginal insufflation – Humidified ozone is administered by catheter.
  • Minor autohemotherapy – Blood mixed with ozone is injected intramuscularly.
  • Limb or body bagging – Body or parts are bathed in humidified ozone.
  • Ozonated water – Dissolves easily in water to be used topically or consumed.
  • Ozone in Saline or LRS – Can be used topically or given IV or SQ.
  • Intra-articular administration – For joint healing and prolotherapy.
  • Prolo/Sclerotherapy – Very good, less painful than other agents.
  • Acupuncture – With ozone, more effective than B12.
  • Ozonated olive oil – Ozone is bubbled through oil until the oil is thickened. This will produce ozonides that are not irritating and thus is applied topically even to eyes.
  • Inhalation – Ozone that has been bubbled through olive oil and humidified will not irritate respiratory epithelium.
  • Subconjunctival injection – For ulcers and keratitis sicca.
  • Gingival and tooth apex injection – Can eliminate infection.
  • Urinary bladder insufflation – For chronic inflammation.
  • Disc protrusions – Prolotherapy, which can be injected at interspinous space and around facets, stabilize joints and accelerate healing.
  • Auricular – Can be direct, humidified, or bagged with a homemade device made from IV bags and tubing (á la Margo Roman).As an anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and ant fungal agent, ozone is unsurpassed, especially since there are no appreciable side effects.Oxygen deficit is key to the development and progression of all disease processes. Dr. Otto Warburg’s work, confirmed by others, shows that this deficit and subsequent toxin buildup is the fundamental cause of all degenerative disease, especially cancers.

    Antioxidants help the body to protect itself from excessive oxidative damage caused by multiple free radicals, many of which are inactivated by ozone. The support of free radical scavenging systems is important but only oxygen can improve the deficit that makes cells vulnerable to oxidative damage in the first place. Long-term ozone therapy can be augmented by supplementation with antioxidants, but normally they should not be administered within 4 to 12 hours of ozone therapies.

    Ozone produces the same effects as exercise, which produces significantly more free radical oxygen than can be administered in any ozone treatment. Ozone equals ”exercise in a syringe” without doing joint damage.

    Ozone potentiates more complete oxidation, helps to maintain more normal body temperature and increases the effects of most hormones, vitamins, herbs, homeopathics, and drugs. Concurrent ozone administration reduces the amount of chemotherapeutic drugs needed to achieve effect by 1⁄4 to 3⁄4. It complements chelation therapies and frequently improves the affect and sense of well being in patients.

    Continued therapy will allow Herring’s Law to manifest “Healing from inside to outside, top to bottom, front to rear, and in reverse chronological order of the insults to the body.” Healing crises, however, may occur. Ozone therapy facilitates the rapid resolution of these crises.

    2005 Judith M. Shoemaker, DVM

Catch Me If You Can

Chance has always loved to follow me around.  Usually he just walks behind me or next to me around the barn or in the field, and other times he prefers doing this….(the bandage on his hind leg is a treatment to get rid of pastern dermatitis or “scratches” which you can read more about in my previous posts).

The BEST Treatment for Scratches 

The other day the vet gave me a way to treat and get rid of my horse’s treatment- resistant, stubborn, and seemingly  IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of scratches or Pastern Dermatitis. 

She suggested mixing Betadine and Vaseline and applying it to the infected area, then wrapping it with Seren wrap and a standing wrap. Leave it on for 12 hours, remove, clean, and redo if necessary for up to 3 days. 

Well, it worked! The scabs just fell off! No more trying to pick off the scabs resulting in the discomfort of my horse or struggling to get him to let me pick at him! 

I have been fighting my horse’s scratches for about 15 years- antibiotics, ointments, MTG, baby oil to soften them, Zinc Oxide, wraps, immune boosters, etc- and nothing has worked until now! 

Check-Ups

Chance had a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and electro stimulation on his cervical spine. He actually fell asleep resting his head on someone’s shoulder while receiving the stim for 20 minutes. 

I also spoke to the vet about Chance’s unrelenting scratches on his hind legs. She suggested mixing Vaseline and Betadine and applying it to the affected area, wrapping seren wrap around it, and then wrapping it with a standing wrap. After 12 hours, remove the wraps and clean area. – scratches not improving.  Once scabs have all fallen off then he can begin an Antibiotic like Baytril. 

Chance is still stiff on both sides of neck, although he can bend with better balance (when vet holds one of Chance’s front legs up while he bends to the opposite side).  He also shows Improved lateral flexibility on right side. Right base dorsal secrum and d-v flexion improved. 

  

Chance’s skin is having a “typical chestnut reaction” and the vet advices to discontinue transfer factor due to his immune system working too hard, and then use 1/2 of current dose. Start Tellurium 1 teaspoon a day for 5 days and then 1x a week to help with his skin. 

 Edit    

Chance in heaven while receiving stim

Lovely Healing

Vet4 came out to Sperryville to do an ultrasound recheck of Chance’s back hind leg.
The stem cell site laceration are healing well. Due to his weight being low, and his difficulty putting weight back on, I asked for a fecal exam to test for any parasites, etc.(The test came back negative.)

I also wanted to do a skin scrape on scratches to try and knock them out for good.

Vet4 said that Chance “looked great” and the laceration on his tendon was almost healed. I receive bute, banamine, and meds for his scratches. I was also provided a name to schedule a consult with a well known nutritionist in the area.

100% Turn Around!

Spoke with Vet4 today. He said Chance has made a “100% turn around”. He trotted him today and Chance was putting full weight on both hind feet! Swelling is disappearing as well!

We spoke about further treatments aside from the Baytril.

I asked about potassium penicillin- He is apprehensive to do potassium penicillin due to horses on antibiotics having DNA changing effects. That it is best to stick to the Baytril and do an ultrasound tomorrow (Friday) to view any changes to the masses. He suggests to have Baytril on hand when Chance leaves to begin immediately if swelling occurs again, which he believes will not be the case after this hospitalization.

I asked about Hydraulic acid: He also is hesitant to inject the SS with the Hydraulic acid due to it’s effects on certain bacterial strains- often allowing the bacteria to hide from the antibiotics. He does agree that another round of injections would probably be helpful and will know more after the next ultrasound.

When asked whether scratches can lead to Lymphangitis, thus leading to the infected SS, he said it is hard to tell but certainly possible.

Chance is currently receiving laser therapy and cold compression therapy along with Baytril, pain meds, and supplements.

Vet4 believes that Chance should be able to leave within a week to two weeks depending on progress!

CHRONIC PROGRESSIVE LYMPHEDEMA (CPL) due to Scratches

Chance has always been fighting “scratches” on his back legs.  Frustrating, painful, and never seem to completely go away.  Could scratches have caused this?  My thoughts- scratches allowed bacteria to enter the leg, the infection settled on the DDFT sheath and caused the current flare up.  Below is some research I found on possible conditions due to scratches that caused similar symptoms Chance had been experiencing.

CHRONIC PROGRESSIVE LYMPHEDEMA (CPL) due to Scratches

A condition characterized by progressive swelling, hyperkeratosis and fibrosis of distal limbs has been characterized in Shires, Clydesdales and Belgian Draft horses and unfortunately affects numerous horses within these breeds. The disease has also been recognized in Gipsy Vanners; however, only a few horses have been evaluated at this point of time. This chronic progressive disease starts at an early age, progresses throughout the life of the horse and often ends in disfigurement and disability of the legs, which inevitably leads to the horse’s premature death. The pathologic changes and clinical signs closely resemble a condition known in humans as chronic lymphedema or elephantiasis nostras verrucosa. The condition has therefore been referred to as chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL). The lower leg swelling is caused by abnormal functioning of the lymphatic system in the skin, which results in chronic lymphedema (swelling), fibrosis, decreased perfusion, a compromised immune system and subsequent secondary infections of the skin.

The clinical signs of this disease are highly variable. It is often first addressed as a marked and “therapy-resistant” pastern dermatitis (scratches). The earliest lesions, however, are characterized by skin thickening, slight crusting and possible skin folds in the pastern area. While readily palpable, these early lesions are often not appreciated visually as the heavy feathering in these breeds covers these areas. Upon clipping of the lower legs, it becomes obvious that the lesions are far more extensive than expected. Secondary infections develop very easily in these horse’s legs and usually consist of chorioptic mange and/or bacterial infections. Pigmented and non-pigmented skin of the lower legs are affected. Appropriate treatment of the infections (pastern dermatitis) is not successful as underlying poor perfusion, lymphedema and hyperkeratosis in association with the heavy feathering present perfect conditions for repetitive infections with both chorioptic mange as well as bacterial infections. Recurrent infections and inflammation will enhance the lymphedema and hence, the condition becomes more chronic. As a result, the lower leg enlargement becomes permanent and the swelling firm on palpation. More thick skin folds and large, poorly defined, firm nodules develop. The nodules may become quite large and often are described as “golf ball” or even “baseball” in size. Both skin folds and nodules first develop in the back of the pastern area. With progression, they may extend and encircle the entire lower leg. The nodules become a mechanical problem because they interfere with free movement and frequently are injured during exercise. This disease often progresses to include massive secondary infections that produce copious amounts of foul-smelling exudates, generalized illness, debilitation and even death.

TREATMENT/MANAGEMENT

Please keep in mind that none of these treatments listed below will “heal” chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL). However, a rigorous management following our suggestions below will assist you to slow down the process and even make some of the nodular lesions disappear. Your horse will need this management the rest of its life.

• Clipping of the feathers
Long and dense feathering makes management of lymphedema more difficult. We highly recommend clipping the feathers and keep them short, if horses are not presented at shows. If you have a show horse, we still recommend to clip the feathers to initiate a rigorous treatment. As the skin condition improves and the edema is reducing – you may have a better chance to keep the horse’s legs in better condition by. careful repetitive treatment, while the feathering is growing back. The feathers are usually back to their original length in about 10-12 months.

• Treatment of skin infections
Progression of lymphedema is also associated with deposition of fibrous tissue and formation of fibrotic nodules.. As a result, these horses have a poor blood circulation and immune response in the skin of their legs. They tend to built up a thick keratin layer. The long feathering further occludes the skin surface, which then remains humid. These factors provide the perfect culture environment for infectious pathogens. This explains why horses with CPL constantly battle recurrent infections with mites (Chorioptic mange) and bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Dermatophilus).

Horses with CPL should consistently be treated against reinfestation of mites and bacteria:

Topical treatments:

• Careful washing, cleaning and drying of the legs on a routine basis is essential. Horses with long feathering may require blow-drying of their legs. We recommend using a product manufactured by HydroSurge Inc. ( http://www.hydrosurge.com ) called Apricot Sulfur Skin Treatment Shampoo.

• Frontline spray to treat chorioptic mange (do not use Frontline on pregnant and nursing mares)

• The best and most economical topical treatment is to find a source of wettable sulfur powder (“flowers of sulfur”). This can usually be found through a vineyard supply or at your local nursery (certain “rose dust” preparations). Mix this powder with mineral oil in to form a creamy paste. You can mix a moderate amount in a plastic lidded container or glass jar so that you have enough to last 2-4 weeks at a time. Apply this mixture to the ulcerated and/or affected areas of skin daily. This preparation is the best and most economical topical treatment we have found. You can use it indefinitely. Sulfur is safe to use in pregnant mares.

Systemic antiparasitic treatment: Frequent ivermectine treatment will also assist to keep the mites away.

• Exercise
Regular exercise is crucial. It will increase the circulation and the lymph drainage.

• Manual Lymph-drainage
Manual lymph-drainage is regularly used in humans with lymphedema as long as there is no inflammation present within the tissue. MLD has been successfully used in horses with more acute lymphedema, but has not been established yet in horses with progressed CPL. A massaging coldwater stream may assist a massage. It is important to dry the skin before applying anything else after massage and rinsing. If the feathers were not clipped this may take a long time and you may have to use a hair dryer. Your horse may become more compliant to this treatment as swelling reduces over time

• Bandaging and stockings
We have some limited experience with using special bandages developed for people with lymphedema. For horses, which always move around, “short-stretch” bandages should be used (example: Rosidal ®). Short stretch bandages have been successfully used in three horses with clipped feathering; but bandaging was not as successful on horses with long feathers. Of course it is crucial to have very good padding and keeping the bandages fairly tight. If tolerated, the best results will be achieved by keeping the bandages on 24/7. Of course they need to be redone at least every other day – better every day to control the legs. At first, there will be oozing from the lymphedema through the skin – so the bandages will get wet and have to be changed every day. With the reduction of the edema – this will stop. If the horse is only walked quietly the bandages can be left on for the exercise; very likely the legs have to be rewrapped after the exercise as the swelling will somewhat reduce. For more exercise it may be better to take the bandages off, use working bandages and then switch back to the short–stretch bandages after work. Again make sure the skin is dry when you rewrap.

After the edema has been reduced by using bandages – stockings are used for people to maintain avoid recurrence of lympedema. The use of such stockings in horses are currently under investigation.

It should be noted that horses suffering from CPL often are susceptible to reapeated bouts of “Thrush”. Consequently, thorough and routine foot trimming care is an essential part of the health care management for these horses.

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The Call

One day I received a call that I needed to come out and see Chance because he wasn’t doing well and, according to Vet1, he needed to be put down.  I quickly canceled my appointments and got on the road.  The 4 hour drive was excruciating…once we finally arrived, my heart broke.

My old guy was skin and bones.  His back right leg was swollen and he wasn’t able to bare weight on it.  His eyes were dull.  He could barely walk, and when he did, he wouldn’t put any weight on the right hind.  There were even times when he would do this “neurologic dance” (coined by the farm’s owner and C’s other mom) where he would lift up his back right leg and hop!

But when he saw me pull up, he whinnied.  He was excited to see me.  He ate the pureed carrots but refused the apple puree (only my mom would make this for him).  He wasn’t ready to die.



I called the vet who said that Chance should be put down to see what his thoughts were.

Me:   What do you think is going on with C?

Vet1: I think he is ready to be put down. 

Me: Because of what?

Vet1: Lymphangitis

Me: Okay, well, what is the cause of the Lymphangitis? Did you run any diagnostics?

Vet1: No

Me:  I would like to manage his pain and run a few tests before making that decision.  (I reviewed the research that I had done and asked where to go from there.) Could it be EPM?

Vet1: “It’s not EPM”

Me: How about Cushings? Or Laminitis? Lymes?

Vet1: Nope. Just old age.

Me: The journals I read said that some of the symptoms…(I was cut off)

Vet1: “I don’t care what journals you read!  It’s a bunch of…”

Me: One was from VA Tech actually…



Well, that was that! Vet1 did not completely lack compassion but he was more “old school” I guess one could say.  He was well respected in the horse world and up until this point, he did the job I needed. But I will say I was disheartened by our conversation.  

I decided to contact the other vets that I had worked with in the past, who also knew Chance, and get second, third, fourth opinions.  

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