Chronic draining tract

We have a 15 yr old Fjord gelding who was treated 4 yrs ago for a "chronic draining tract" located on the mid-line of the abdomen, about 10" in front of the sheath. It healed but reopened once - was treated and it healed again. Then, about a year later it again opened. It ...We have a 15 yr old Fjord gelding who was treated 4 yrs ago for a "chronic draining tract" located on the mid-line of the abdomen, about 10" in front of the sheath. It healed but reopened once - was treated and it healed again. Then, about a year later it again opened. It ...

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dear Doctor:

We have a 15 yr old Fjord gelding who was treated 4 yrs ago for a "chronic draining tract" located on the mid-line of the abdomen, about 10" in front of the sheath. It healed but reopened once – was treated and it healed again. Then, about a year later it again opened. It was examined surgically and nothing was found in the site. About a 6 months later it reopened and he was sent to the equine hospital where they found a fistula had formed from the muscle wall out to the skin.

There was no infection and the abdominal muscle was not involved. That was 2 years ago. Today, two quarter-size areas on the same site are oozing straw colored fluid. He hasn’t been worked over the winter (we live in Vermont), and he lounges around in the paddock.

He was seen by our vet two days ago for his annual exam. There was only one slightly swollen area and she said to continue to observe it. Yesterday it began to ooze and I called her. She recommended clipping the hair away from the site, thinking it might be due to an ingrown hair or follicle causing it. Today a second area began to ooze. Any ideas you can offer about potential cause(s) and treatment would be appreciated.

This is a mystery for all of us!

Thanks!
Elaide Gahn

Elaide,

The first thing I would suggest you do is to have a biopsy of the site done. There is a parasite that can cause the lesion you are describing and I would suggest a biopsy.

Second, you may try ultrasounding the site to see if you can find the cause of the draining tract. Have you cultured the fluid? This might help in your antibiotic selection.

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder