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.