I really like forwarding unusual equine medical cases because vets only know what they’ve seen or learned… they might not have seen an unusual case – and what if that unusual case applied to YOUR horse?
I always think it is best to pass along information so you can file it away and recall it if necessary.
Case of the Week – “Bill”
Bill is a Quarter Horse gelding who was found drooling and chewing abnormally. He did not have feed lodged in his esophagus (“choke”), but because of his discomfort he was hospitalized for observation overnight. The next day our dental specialist, Dr. Holohan, found a strange swelling on the tongue. When probed, an abscess full of black material ruptured out! Radiographs showed a metal foreign body (wire) lodged in Bill’s tongue. He became more comfortable after the abscess drained, so it was decided not to take him to surgery. Bill was treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to control the infection and sent home for monitoring.
Horses can pick up foreign bodies in a variety of ways, but wires are often found in horses who eat out of tires. The tire degrades over time, releasing the small wires incorporated in the rubber into horses’ hay. These wires can either migrate out on their own, encyst permanently in the tongue, or, as in Bill’s case, cause an infection. Now that his abscess is treated, Bill is comfortable and happily eating away in a new plastic feed tub!