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Cellulitis in Prospective Buy

Hi all!

I’m interested in a 2009 OTTB that recently was diagnosed with a case of Cellulitis. He was on high dose antibiotics for 5 days and the leg was wrapped with a furazone poultice for about a week. The swelling and heat are ~90% gone, and there is no more discharge from his puncture wound (which is also healing quickly).

I’ve read that horses who have gotten Cellulitis are prone to recurrences, and I’m not sure if he is still worth buying if the vet bills will pile up later on to more than his net worth.

I’m hopeful that if I tend to him well, he would be fine to buy and I’d have little reason to worry.

Has anyone cared for/owned a horse prone to Cellulitis? Is it frequently recurring, or should I not fret since it was such a mild case? Are there any methods you’ve used found to work well in the prevention of another infection?


Unless this was the absolutely perfect, no other one remotely like it out there, almost free horse, I would pass on it.
Had a few boarders come in over the years with recurrent cellulitis and it was just a pain to deal with.

Only dealt with it once with a rescue that came as what we think was first time was finishing a flare up. That was in feb and no recurrence yet. Touch wood. BO did tons and I did a bit. Was a total pain.

I had a mare who had ONE case I the seven years I owned her. No flare ups.

Having dealt with this ``` I’d pass … quickly !

Having dealt with this :cry: … I’d pass … quickly !

you may beat the odds but then again…

Good Luck in your horse search ~

Having watched my friends’ horse go through this on multiple occasions I would pass. Its awful.

I had a mare that had reoccurring and progressively severe cellulitis. I had a friend who lost a horse to the same. I would not knowingly buy a horse with a recent single flare up or history of reoccurance. It’s so painful for them and not fun to manage. A horse with a single case years ago I might feel differently about.

My mare had it once. I’ve never dealt with a “recurrent” horse, but honestly there is a very, very long list of things I’d pass a horse up on before one bout of cellulitis.

I’d like to ask: how many horses do you think have been bought and sold where something like one bout of cellulitis has not been disclosed and it was a non-issue? If the OP didn’t know the horse was being actively treated for it, and it had been something from the past, do you think it’d even be mentioned? Because honestly, if my mare was up for sale, I wouldn’t even think to bring it up, not because I’d want to hide it but because it wouldn’t occur to me as being something to mention. I’d mention all of the more major things that WOULD make most people run away, like the proximal suspensory injury, the fusions in her hocks…:smiley:

Buying a horse with a history of occurrence would be one thing. This horse has had one bout. Buying a horse requires some level of gambling, it’s a matter of how much and on what kinds of things you are willing to gamble on.

I would pass…

It’s nice to think that we would be such good caretakers of our horses that it would never occur again, but there are just some things beyond our control. There are so many horses out there who are much healthier–I would opt for one of those and take good care of it.

Yes, cellulitis CAN be recurring. Of the 4 horses I have at home (and one I had a few years ago), every one, except for the 6 month old filly has had a bout of cellulitis. One mare got it just after foaling this year, but it’s been 6 months and she’s not flared again, and I owned her for 8 years before this and she’d never had it during that entire time.
The gelding had it in 2002 after an injury–hasn’t had it since.
The pinto mare had it in early 2007, hasn’t had it since.
My old arab mare had it in 1996, when I sent her to a retirement home with her original owners in 2006, she’d not had another case.
I understand horses can be prone to it, but plenty of them get a case and don’t continually flare up.

I wouldn’t be that concerned with a case due to an obvious wound. What concerns me more is the random swellings that seem to have no apparent cause. I have a Paint that had a mystery bout in 2003 with severe hock and leg swelling, no recurrence.

I wouldn’t be that concerned with a case due to an obvious wound. What concerns me more is the random swellings that seem to have no apparent cause. I have a Paint that had a mystery bout in 2003 with severe hock and leg swelling, no recurrence.[/QUOTE]

Important distinction, thanks for making it. Big difference between a horse who blows up with no wound/no obvious cause and a horse (like with my mare) who suffers large surface wounds or a puncture and winds up with it.

I’d stay away from the former, but would be OK with the latter.

I had never seen cellulitis in a horse (or human, for that matter) until Hattie got snake bit on her right fore heel in August 2013. Blown up right foreleg and chest and stomach. Vet treated her with medication for her snake bit and cellulitis, and put a cast on her heel and hoof for 3 weeks. No problems. I’d owned her for 2 yrs prior to the snake bite, but had boarded with her former owner for 3 1/2 yrs before that, and she had had no cellulitis during that time. Nor has she had cellulitis since her bout from the injury in 2013. While the swelling in her leg was hard, she did not seem to be in much pain, and took her bute and Enrofloxin daily while she stood in her stall in deep shavings.

If I were OP, I’d want to see the horse’s vet records and also ask what the cause of the cellulitis was. My vet was not concerned with the cellulitis while I was freaking about the swollen stomach and chest. And my vet was not concerned about any recurrence. Get permission, OP, to get copies of the horse’s vet records and permission to talk to the vet. Then ask your own vet, or call up a vet school specialist, to ask what the odds of reoccurrence are.

From what I’ve learned since one of our old school horses came down with cellulitis this summer, is that cellulitis is indicative of a weak immune system. Of course all horses can knick themselves, get a cut, etc. Most horse’s healthy immune system fights off infections, unless the cut is severe. Cellulitis is mainly a disease of old or weakened horses.

Our old school horse is a hard keeper, early 20s and had no wounds on his legs when he came down with cellulitis. I doubt it will ever clear up enough for him to be sound for riding. For a young horse to contract cellulitis, he may have been under heavy stress, not in good health or maybe just unlucky. But again, cellulitis is an opportunistic disease. Maybe get a full blood panel done on him to see if there is a medical reason for it that could be prevented down the road?

Cellulitis is just awful. Especially in a TB, I would pass immediately. TBs are known to be quite sensitive to knicks and scratches, and a horse who’s had cellulitis, almost always gets it again. And it can take a long time to bring the swelling back down. In the hinds is where it shows the worst, they get very sore and stocky. I would avoid!

My late gelding had a immune system decline in his last year (I now know far too much about immune system disorders, nonstop rain rot, scratches, full body hives etc). He at one point suddenly showed up with cellulitis in all four legs. I think the only reason he wasn’t on the ground was he was an old school Walker and stoic to a fault. You mention a puncture here so it may not be chronic, but it’s kind of rolling dice whether it is or not. I’m not sure if a vet could tell you other than a blood panel to see if anything is off.

This horse is only 5 though so a question to the owners would be has he had any other occurrences? Prone to easily develop scratches and rain rot type skin things even when the environment isn’t that bad etc? The answers will help tell you if you’re looking at future issues with ongoing maintenance / intervention / treatments.

When you love them, you’ll do anything to make it better, but if you have a choice to avoid the possibility of dealing with it over and over unless the horse is beyond amazing, I’d pass.

I have seem three cases of recurring cellulitis and I would have a serious discusion with my vet and an unbiased search through the literature. If you can find the right antibiotic you can sometimes stop the flare-up quite quickly and keep them going a long time but it can be pretty nasty. The flare-ups I have seen in two TB geldings were extremely painful. Hugely swollen legs with serum oozing out. The skin can hit a point where it simply splits open down the leg or often near the coronet band.

I had a horse with “recurring” (in different legs) cellulitis, maybe three times in three years, twice with an obvious wound, once without. I learned to recognize it quickly and we found the most effective antibiotic for that horse. Each time was $300 in antibiotics and a bunch of wrapping, but nothing bad enough to cause concern or any long term issues. The swelling would be down after 12 hours of the first dose of antibiotics and I’d be back on him in three days. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal for that particular horse and this type of situation wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.

Dealing with recurring cellulitis is heartbreaking. The horse is miserable for every flare, high doses of antibiotics become normal, and you’ll stop thinking a $200 vet bill is worth blinking an eye at.

I would pass. You could get lucky and never get a flare, or you could get several flares a year until finally the antibiotics stop working and the horse goes septic and you have to put him down…probably a day later than he should have been.

I agree with those that noted there was an obvious wound. If he’s great across the board otherwise, and sound, I’d be likely to overlook it. That said, I have not experienced a chronic case.

I’ve known two: one young Selle Francais that had a hock rub that someone very aggressively debrided (not a vet, after the vet said to keep the scab moisturized and not removed!) The other was my own older TB that got a nasty tick bite right below his hock that went unnoticed when I was out of town for a couple days. The first horse got antibiotics and wrapped and the whole nine yards; I cold hosed mine 2x a day for a couple days and alternated a Fura-free sweat and dry wrap on for a week and it cleared up without medication.