Air Under The Skin.....

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by jacko88, May 18, 2009.

  1. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    I have a mare that staked her chest on a fence. She now has air under her skin (between the skin and the meat). In some areas you can press the skin in about 3 inches before you touch the meat. If you put a needle under the skin the air hisses out. This is over the whole body, even her head. It is very strange.

    I think this condition may be called "crepitus" and is apparently from the would acting like a one way valve and letting air into the body.

    Wondering if anyone else has had this happen and how long it took to go away, how they treated it etc.
  2. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Is it seriously over the WHOLE body?? I've seen it happen in areas next to the original wound and not ever worried about it - as the wound heals, the air stops going in and the body then reabsorbs the air although that can take a long time. But over the whole body... I'd be getting a vet and exploring that wound especially if it is on the chest to make sure the air is actually being drawn in from outside and not coming from a hole into her chest cavity somewhere... Also with a view to dressing or stitching the wound (if it turns out not to have penetrated the body wall) so no more air can go in, as it will take MONTHS to go away if there's that much of it.
    I've not seen the whole body affected on a horse but I have seen it on a cat, who swelled up like a football...:eek: He was fine but it took 6 - 8 weeks to go down again.
  3. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    I would be calling in the vet.

    It is possible that the injury allowed a disease called blackleg in which is primarily a disease of cattle but I know it effects humans as well. Dont know if it effects horses but I would checking it out.

    it can be very very nasty very very quickly.

    Sorry to worry you. :(
  4. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member


    mmm..Ring your Vet !!....

  5. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    Yes over the whole body. Some spots just worse than others.
    The vet knew what it was but didn't offer much advice other than to cut her and let the air escape. thats why I thought I'd see if others had seen it.
  6. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    bugga jacko......ring another vet ?? :confused:

  7. jonty

    jonty Well-known Member

    I also agree, ring another vet!
  8. milzenzab

    milzenzab Active Member

    Call a vet ASAP. This happened to my horse after a dog attack. The air must be released. It was too late for my girl and it caused strain on her vital body parts- Heart etc and she died. So please do it now!!!!!!
  9. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    Milzenzab, i think your case must've been different to mine.
    I've talked to more vets, top horse vets, and found out that although it looks pretty bad it won't kill them. The only time it can kill is when the air is gas from an infection. In my case its just the open would sucking air in when she walks around. I'll keep the penicillan up to her and put her in a smaller yard so she can't walk so much and see what happens then.
    The biggest problem, by the sounds of it, is if the skin gets too swollen the blood supply could be affected.
  10. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    jacko88...why didnt the Vet put stiches in ??..

  11. Rambo

    Rambo New Member

    This condition is called subcutaneous emphysema and occurs from acute injury to an airway or alveoli pockets....

    it traditionally presents at the area of injury and can travel through the pleural spaces to the mediastinum, neck face and chest.

    it is usually painful for the horse and sound like crackling or popping when pressed. in the worse cased scenario the horse can become short of breath and blood vessels lose their oxygen carrying capacity if it is severe.

    really the only treatment is to make incisions to release the air pockets, and then treat in a sterile way and use prophylactic antibiotics (IV is best).

    wow that sounds like i read it out of a book haha i havnt ive just seen it and treated it a few times before.

    good luck!

  12. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    Lee, she was stitched up within an hour of cutting herself.
  13. Naomi

    Naomi Well-known Member

    Wow that's amazing. I would definitely be getting a second opinion or asking the vet to come out and reassess. Let us know how she is.
  14. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    oh sorry I thought I read somewhere she wasnt..okaly dokaly

  15. Naomi

    Naomi Well-known Member

    How is she?
  16. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    She's not too bad. Still has the air under the skin but her wound is healing well. Once it closes up a bit the air should stop coming in.
    For a while I was releasing the air with a large needle but she just filled up again so I stopped. It doesn't seem to get any more than a certain amount under there.
  17. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    The mare is almost back to normal in the skin department.
    The chest wound has healed enough to stop the air getting in and since then the air under her skin has slowly been going away.
    I'll have to wait and see if the skin has been affected at all by being swelled up for so long.
    Thought I'd post it on here as most people I mentioned it to had never seen it over the whole body before.
  18. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Thanks that's good to know - I was curious!! I would have thought that since the original post was over 2 weeks ago, if the skin was going to be damaged due to the pressure, you would know about it by now.
  19. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    Yeah, well her skin and coat still appears normal at this stage so hopefully there's no damage done.
    I would've like to put photos up to show people but can't use the program needed to add them on here.
  20. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    Just another update for those that were reading on here before.

    The mares skin is completely back to normal now. Has been a fairly slow process though.

    There doesn't appear to be any damage to the skin and her coat is still fairly healthy.

    It was a fairly alarming thing to see but didn't turn out to cause any major dramas. Once the chest wound started to heal the air slowly started going down.

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