Article Text

Metallic foreign bodies in the tongues of 16 horses
  1. N. Pusterla, DrMedVet1,
  2. K. M. Latson, DVM2,
  3. W. D. Wilson, BVMS, MS1 and
  4. M. B. Whitcomb, DVM2
  1. 1 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  2. 2 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA


The history, clinical signs, results of diagnostic imaging, treatment methods and outcome of 16 adult horses with a metallic foreign body in the tongue are reviewed. All the horses had a swollen tongue, they salivated excessively and were partially to completely anorexic. Less common clinical signs were fever, an enlarged and painful intermandibular space, dysphagia, unilateral tongue paralysis and halitosis. Most of the horses had shown clinical signs for less than 24 hours. The foreign bodies were diagnosed by oral examination, radiography and ultrasonography; they were removed from the tongue of four of the horses during the initial oral examination, and were removed surgically from nine others; the other three horses were treated medically without attempts being made to extract the foreign bodies. Twelve of the bodies were small pieces of wire and one was a hypodermic needle. All the horses received a combination of antimicrobial and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and they all made an uneventful recovery. Feeding hay and the use of cable-framed tractor tyres as feeders were commonly associated with the cases.

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