My TB horse has developed a large soft, non painful swelling at top of his neck, behind his jaw - basically it looks like he has a really thick neck where his head joins his neck. It appeared yesterday and is bigger today.It feels like a bag of fluid. He's not off his food, but seems a bit low (he's very laid back anyway but he's been moving slowly and lying down more than usual for a day or so before the swelling appeared). I've had him for 6 weeks, so I am thinking it can't be strangles - there are no new horses at the field, and the incubation is 2 weeks, so he's been there too long for that. He's a crib biter/windsucker, and has been wearing a crib collar since I got him as he even cribs out in the field. But I took it off him a few days ago - as I thought I had crib-proofed all the fences. Could this be a reaction to not wearing the collar any more?
PS: he cut his fetlock about a week and a half ago and had to have a 5 day course of antibiotics. It was hard to get him to eat all the feed with antibiotics in, but he did finish the course. It occurs to me that he started to seem a bit low when he finished the antibiotics on Christmas Eve. Could this be anything to do with it?
He finished racing in May this year, and spent the summer at grass, but this is his first winter living out. He's well rugged and well fed, but he was thin when I got him and it's hard to put weight on any horse at this time of the year. Initially I was feeding him sugar beet to fatten him up but it made him a bit spooky to ride, so I changed to kwik beet (low sugar) and "calm and condition" a low sugar, conditioning feed. He's not that keen on it, so I have to put a small handful of molassed chaff in the feed to make him eat it. I put the slowness and lying down to him not being used to the cold, or the change to low sugar diet. He is eating his hay happily - he prefers the hay to the short feed though. If the hay is put out before he finishes the short feed he will leave it and eat hay instead.