Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Cellulitis

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Beatrice Funiciello

Introduction

  • Cause: bacterial infection via skin defect which may be difficult to detect.
  • Signs: lameness, soft tissue swelling of a limb which is firm, hot and painful. Serous ooze. Systemic signs such as inappetence, fever. Usually one leg is affected, most commonly hind legs. Cellulitis may affect also body regions other than the limbs.
  • Diagnosis: history, clinical examination, bacterial culture, diagnostic imaging.
  • Treatment: clip and clean; broad spectrum antibiosis; NSAIDs; gentle exercise.
  • Prognosis: depends on early and aggressive treatment. Response should occur within 24-48 h.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General

  • Sharp pastures.

Specific

  • Minor skin wounds on distal limbs.

Pathophysiology

  • Bacterial entry via minor skin wound, eg abrasions. Infection develops rapidly and follows tissue planes.

Timecourse

  • Rapid development of swelling and heat.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Adam E N (2019) Cellulitis: any change? Equine Vet Educ 31 (12), 625-626 VetMedResource.
  • Vyetrogon T & Dubois M S (2019) Perisuspensory abscessation in eight horses with hindlimb cellulitis. Equine Vet Educ 31 (12), e66-e70 VetMedResource.
  • O’Brien E J O, Biggi M, Eley T et al (2019) Third tarsal bone osteonecrosis associated with chronic recurrent cellulitis in an adult horse. Equine Vet Educ 31 (9), 452-460 VetMedResource.
  • Putnam J R C, Holmes L M, Green M J & Freeman S L (2014) Incidence, causes and outcomes of lameness cases in a working military horse population: A filed study. Equine Vet J 46, 194-197 WileyOnline.
  • Oomen A M et al (2013) An atypical case of recurrent cellulitis/lymphangitis in a Dutch Warmblood horse treated by surgical intervention. Equine Vet Educ 25 (1), 23-28 VetMedResource.
  • Fjordbakk C T, Arroyo L G & Hewson J (2008) Retrospective study of the clinical features of limb cellulitis in 63 horses. Vet Rec 162 (8), 233-236 PubMed.
  • Adam E N & Southwood L L (2007) Primary and secondary limb cellulitis in horses: 44 cases (2000-2006). JAVMA 231, 1696-1703 PubMed.
  • Adam E N & Southwood L L (2006) Surgical and traumatic wound infections, cellulitis, and myositis in horses. Vet Clin Equine 22 (2), 335-361 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Scott D W & Miller W H Jr (2011) Bacterial Skin Diseases. In: Equine Dermatology. 2nd edn. Saunders, USA. pp 130-170.
  • Romero J M & Dyson S J (1997) The Diffusely Filled Limb. In: Current Therapy in Equine Medicine. Ed: N E Robinson. ISBN 0-7216-2633-5.


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