Horse & Rider - - Ride & Train -

Lo­ca­tion: Ventral edema will ap­pear right on the mid­dle of your horse’s belly.

What it is: An ac­cu­mu­la­tion of fluid un­der the skin that’s set­tled to the low­est point of your horse’s core, thanks to grav­ity. The fluid most com­monly orig­i­nates from in­flam­ma­tion some­where in the body, such as an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion or some kind of trauma. In some cases, fluid ac­cu­mu­lates due to more se­ri­ous causes such as heart fail­ure or kid­ney or liver dis­ease.

Look and feel: Ventral edema usu­ally starts as a small lump that feels hard to the touch, but can be dented if you push on it with your fin­gers. It’s also called “pit­ting edema” and is of­ten de­scribed as hav­ing a con­sis­tency sim­i­lar to bread dough. If ventral edema be­comes ex­ces­sive, it’ll ex­pand from a small lump to a plaque that can mea­sure sev­eral inches thick and ex­tend along the en­tire lower por­tion of your horse’s ab­domen.

Should you worry: A small area of ventral edema is usu­ally not a cause for con­cern—es­pe­cially if it gets grad­u­ally smaller over a pe­riod of sev­eral days. If it’s per­sis­tent or large, sched­ule a visit with your vet­eri­nar­ian to rule out more se­ri­ous causes.

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