Unlimited access >

Lanced Abscess in Neck - Approx Healing Time? Any Experiences?

Long time lurker, first time poster. Sorry in advance for the long post!

My Thoroughbred mare got her rabies shot on Wednesday, 8/17; it was injected on the left side of her neck. 24 hours later, the entire side of her neck was swollen, she refused to move, and she was trembling. She’d eaten her grain, but not her hay. As it turns out, she wasn’t able to reach down and stretch/turn/move her neck.

She’s a very stoic mare, so trainer and I were extremely concerned. Vet comes out to evaluate and is texted photos every day of progress. We put her on 2g of bute once a day and put hay in haynet so she can eat. Edema forms on that Friday, but is gone by Sunday. She was limited to stallrest Thursday and Friday, but then starts going out in paddock to help improve circulation.

Overall swelling of neck goes down by Monday, but lump begins to form. Neck is still very, very tender at this time; she flinches when you touch it at all. By Thursday, neck has large lump on it, and heat/swelling in her front fetlocks. Mare has been cleaning up grain and most of hay during this week, but is still unable to move neck/turn head and neck.

Vet comes out Friday and lances lump (slightly smaller than basketball), which had started to ooze pus through a tiny pinhole. He makes 2.5" incision and pus pours out for good 20 min, and is still continuing to ooze out. Vet says bacteria probably got into injection site when he gave her vaccine. Heat and swelling in her front fetlocks had disappeared by then.

Since Friday, we’ve been cold hosing her neck twice daily and then putting antibacterial topical solution (hot pink like SWAT, but I don’t think it’s SWAT and can’t remember what it’s called right now) around hole to prevent flies/bugs from getting in/on it. We’ve also been slathering her neck/chest/leg with vaseline so pus can drip off without burning her hair/skin. She’s getting Tucoprim once a day, and she’s going out in the pasture again with the other mares every day to keep her happy (she likes her turnout time). Hay is still being put in haybag, although she is able to graze a little. She’s able to turn head and neck now, but neck is still obviously sore.

My questions are: Has anyone had this experience before with their horse? How long did it take for the hole to close and neck/wound to heal? Other suggestions for how to keep hole clean and get to heal properly (inside out)? Any complications that arose?


Clostridial Myositis?

Clostridial Myositis?[/QUOTE]

I think that is usually much, much worse. This sounds like a garden variety infection.

We had one a broodmare with one a few years ago, most likely caused by vaccination. She was significantly more comfortable as soon as the abscess opened up. IIRC we did hot compresses while it was draining but very little else and it healed up pretty well over the course of a few weeks.

Clostridial Myositis?[/QUOTE]

Not sure I know enough about what that is?

She did have a fever for 3 days after the injection, but hasn’t since. When the vet made the incision, he cut only through the skin; he did not cut through muscle.

I’ve dealt with several of lanced wounds like that, in healthy horses they tend to heal up in 2 to 3 weeks. If they’re underweight, old, or for some reason not as strong as they could be than in could take a month or two. Keeping it clean and medicated is all you really can and need to do. It should heal well on its own from the inside to the outside.

Pretty much what Dani said.

Assuming thing go according to plan and doesn’t need to be reopened. You should see a dramatic difference in a week to 10 days. Pretty much healed and thing back to normal in several weeks.

Had one of these once, years ago. Blew up to the size of a loaf of bread, and the horse was 3-legged lame on that side. Vet lanced it, blew a bucketload of pus all over the barn, horse immediately walked off sound, so the vet tied a piece of surgical tubing through the lancing incision and told me to ride him as much as possible to help the infected material drain out of the wound. Sticky mess ran down his shoulder for a few days, took the drain out after a week of riding and hot-compressing, healed up without a a scar quickly and never another problem.

This is one reason many vets now give as many shots as possible in the butt or the brisket instead of the neck.

This summer my horse got bit by a snake (pretty confident a copperhead) and the actual bite site cleared up in about a week and a half. However, the infection didnt get to drain completely since it closed up so quick and proceeded to blow (we lanced it a bit with a needle) a week later. This one however took about 2 weeks before it completely closed up and drained the entire time.

My boy was on Exceed (and another one that you cant touch or allergic reaction happens) for his antibiotics.

OP, so glad your mare is feeling better. Crossed fingers that the healing process continues uneventfully.

That said, this thread makes me want to see some good gory pus videos. :yes:

This happened to my horse. Not the size of a basketball but a large lump. Vet opened it up to drain, sulfa pills for a week or so and she’s good as new!

Just an update: Thanks everyone for the replies and reassurance. It’s still draining the tiniest bit, but the hole has pretty much closed and is healing well. I hacked her (just walked and trotted) for about 20 minutes last Friday for the first time in three weeks to see how she felt. Mare is happy to be back to work!

That’s great to hear! Thanks for the update!