Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Tackling a Windgall
Q I own a seven-year old Arab gelding who has a windgall on his near side hindleg. It doesn't cause any lameness but, because he has very fine legs, it looks unsightly - it's about the size of a large egg.

I have tried a Radiol solution after exercise but it hasn't improved. I have heard that windgalls can be drained, but I have no idea of the success rate and what chance there is of the fluid returning. Is there anything I can do to reduce the swelling as I am worried it may eventually make him lame?

Lameness Made Easy
For your FREE 8-page brochure please send us an email with your full name and postal address. Click here for the email form. Head the form 'Lameness' please

A Windgalls are caused by a build-up of normal fluid within the joint space. Many horses have windgalls and they are not usually considered a problem, but it does sound as if your horse's windgall is abnormally swollen. This just means that there is more fluid in the joint than is normal.

The problem is identifying why he has all this excess fluid and what is best to do about it. Windgalls are caused by minor damage to the joint and more often develop to heavier horses with more upright conformation.

They may swell up more after work or be present all the time. I would not normally advise draining fluid in windgalls because, as soon as it is drained, the joint produces more to fill the space that is left. The best approach is to tackle the root cause which is some type of malfunction within the joint. You should consider having X-rays taken and a thorough examination made.

It is likely that the tissue which produces the joint fluid is not working properly or that there is some form of irritation or damage within the joint. Mild damage or malfunction may not necessarily cause pain or lameness.

As well as a conventional approach to such problems, I would advise using an alternative supplement which is designed to improve the way joints lubricate themselves. They help cartilage, membranes, blood vessels, ligaments and bone to function normally. I suggest you give a supplement containing Sulphur , and a good mineral/vitamin supplement with high levels of antioxidants and use herbal formulas designed to normalise joint function and improve nutrition to cartilage.

If you start on a sensible supplementation regime and get your vet to conduct a very thorough examination, you may find this starts to reduce the swelling or at least prevents it getting any larger in the future.

More about Wingalls (2)

Suggest you also look at: Leg Fill and Ankle Swellings


If in doubt ring for advice. We're here to help.

Free veterinary advice helpline: 01243 773363 (UK)
Free veterinary advice helpline: 0044 1243 773363 (International)
Mobile veterinary advice line: 07734 240 709 (UK)

All numbers available 9am - 5.30pm UK time.
Out of hours: try mobile number.