The membrane which covers the lungs and the lining of the chest cavity is called the pleura. Pleurisy is a painful inflammation of the pleura.
In the early stages the pleura may be dry, it is later that excess fluid is produced. Occurs suddenly.
- Raised Temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Stands rather than lying down
- Not wanting to move
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Dry rasping sound, if listen to chest
- Sometimes swelling under chest and in lower limbs
Usually occurs as a secondary infection to Pneumonia (see next weeks blog) or a penetrating chest injury.
Call the Vet. Ultrasound or x-ray can be used to identify any fluid in the chest. Taking a fluid sample and analysing this in the lab will help identify the correct antibiotic treatment.
The vet will usually prescribe antibiotics and if there is a large amount of fluid this may be drained. Rest in a well ventilated space with a balanced diet should help the horse recover. The extent of recovery and the level of work the horse may be able to undertake in the future will depend on the seriousness of the pleurisy.
Although not always possible, caring for your horse to reduce the risk of bacterial or viral infections will help reduce the chance of complications which affect the lungs etc. Prompt diagnosis of other problems affecting the lungs can also prevent pleurisy developing.
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