You are here: Horses > Horse health > Minor Horse Injuries

Guide to Commonly Observed
Contusions, Lumps, Bumps & Swelling in Horses

Contusions occur quite often in horses, and generally speaking do not give rise to grave concern. Bruises, swollen elbows, capped hocks or lumps, and other kinds of reactions to commonly suffered trauma are frequently observed by horse owners.
The injury suffered by the animal may be caused by a myriad of everyday events, such as kicking in enclosed areas or simply the act of lying down.

For example, if you are transporting your animal in an enclosed trailer and the horse kicks against the wall of the trailer, the chance of capping a hock is high. If this is a rather frequent situation, the animal may actually experience a problem with swollen hocks more often than not. Conversely, when the horse lies down and its leg is located underneath the rump, the animal’s

elbows that is usually protected by the musculature and chest suddenly comes into close contact with the horse’s shoed hoof. Depending on the kind of shoeing you have put on the animal, the elbow will be subjected by pressure from that extremity, and depending on the speed with which the horse may move when lying down, the injury to the sensitive elbow may be severe. You may have heard this condition referred to as “shoe boil.”

Picture of a vet plugging in all the horse's wiresThese contusions are nowadays referred to as hygromas. Behind this veterinary term is the frequently observed damage of the synovial bursa which is located underneath the skin of the hock and elbow and which serves to prevent undue pressure to the tendons caused repetitive movement. Injury to the bursa results in an increase in fluid within this sac, and swelling is observable. While the simple swelling will eventually go down, a puncture wound to the bursa will frequently result in serious infection which decreases the odds of a speedy recovery and instead will present several difficulties to recovery.

Horse owners will need to be diligent in watching for contusions. They will present in the beginning as hot areas on the horse’s body which are tender to the touch. Frequently this is accompanied by temporary lameness. When you first notice such hygromas, the first course of treatment is the elimination of the known causes of the trauma, followed by cold hydrotherapy. Resting the horse will permit the swelling to go down. After the pain has been stopped and the contusion is cool to the touch, you may wish to treat it with DMSO and also with steroid injections directly into the affected bursa to dramatically reduce the swelling of the sac.

As is always the case, an ounce of prevention is preferable to a pound of cure. This, if you are planning on transporting your horse by enclosed trailer, be sure to use padded leg wraps. Review your horse’s shoeing to ensure that it is proper, and also use pastern roll guards to eliminate or greatly diminish the occurrence of elbow injuries. If the damage to the elbow has already happened, you will be able to reduce the odds of re-injuring it by shoeing your horse with specialized shoes that differ from common ones by having the heel removed.

Read the next horse health tips article on Alternative medicine.
Register below to get
free horse tips from:

Horse eZine Cover

Over 20 years of experience selling quality horse saddles & show tack.

Huge selection of different saddle types & brands.

Family owned & operated.

Free shipping on all saddles.

Horse Saddle Shop doesn't sell any saddles, owners Dale and Chuck wouldn't buy themselves!

Visit the Horse Saddle Shop today and receive top notch advice on purchasing a horse saddle that fit your riding needs.

 Horse Education
Horse Training Teleseminar
 Horse Information Topics
Horse health
Horse nutrition / feed
Horse pasture / forage
Horse care
Horse tack / equipment
Horse diseases
Horse shoes / Hoof care
Horse rescue / adoption
Horse transportation
Horse training
Horse trainers
Horse breeds
Horse breeding
Horse names (5,000)
Horse farms / ranches
Horse barns / fencing
Horse riding
Equestrian Sports & Activities
Horse shows
Horse words dictionary
Share a Horse Story
 Horse Business Owners
  Advertise with Us
Have your horse products or services exposed to over 27,000 of our monthly visitors.
  Home | | Privacy | Security | Legal notices | Advertise with Us
 Copyright (c) 2011. American Horse Rider & Horses and Horse Information. All rights reserved.