A diffusely enlarged leg below the knee or hock may be due to a number of causes including subsolar infection, mud fever, cellulitis, tendon/ligament sprain, lymphangitis, direct trauma or long periods of reduced mobility (e.g. during box rest).
Lack of muscle movement causes lymph to stagnate in the lower leg, the lymphatic fluid spreads to the surrounding tissue rather than being circulated back up the legs. If such symptoms go untreated the condition may degenerate into lymphangitis.
Can Equissage help?
But firstly it is important to try and ascertain the cause of the filling. Some horses do have a predisposition to filling of the lower legs, particularly around the joints of the hind legs when they are stabled and soon after they start moving around, the filling goes. Such filling is basically just poor circulation because lymph fluid particularly relies on muscular action to pump it around the body - the blood has the heart as its pump - and unlike blood vessels which form a complete circuit around the body the lymph vessels have closed ends so this is why fluid tends to accumulate at the base of the lower limbs. Equissage excels in these situations as the deep penetrating massage with its palpating, cycloidal action gets to work moving the lymph fluid and eases the congestion where the vessels close off.
For other causes of Filled Legs see Strains, Tendons, Lymphangitis.
Use the Pad on a higher speed to really "kick start" the system and reach the extremities provided the horse in question has no other condition which will be compromised by the higher setting. Some horses are a little concerned initially about the higher speed as it is a bit noisy, so see what the horse is happy with. If the leg boot can be used as well, then all the better with 10 minutes (medium to high setting) on each leg alternating daily between the fore and hind legs.
If the horse is on a period of box rest due to injury or following surgery then use the Pad on a lower setting (No.3-4) two or three times a day with as long as possible between sessions so as not to over-stimulate the lymphatic system into working too hard.
Point to note:
Do check that the horse's diet is not contributing to leg filling.