Ask the Vet: What is this Swelling?
Mar 4, 2011
I've noticed this swelling on my horses hip the last few days. It is the size of a large grapefruit. It has gotten larger over the last couple of days. Should I be worried?
Answer: Provided by Dr. Ron Conley
Seroma's are a frequently encountered problem in horses. Horses tend to kick each other or run into things causing blunt force trauma. When this trauma is severe enough, the blood vessels leak and form a pouch of fluid that may be as small as a golf ball or larger than a basketball (figure 1). These must be differentiated from hematomas which consist of clotted blood. Seromas form a lining which may continue to produce fluid even after it is drained. I typically place a penrose drain (figure 2) which allows continuous drainage of the fluid and destruction of the lining. The drain is removed in seven to ten days. The seroma usually looks worse before going on to heal. We generally like to wait a few days before treating most seromas so that the full extent of the problem is evident. If no muscle was damaged these go on to heal with little or no blemish. If you happen to notice a swelling on your horse that isn't supposed to be there, give us a call at Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital at (877) 499-9909.
Figure 1: Administration of local anesthetic into seroma