Vasculitis Concerns

My vet said my filly had vasculitis and started her on steroids and other drugs, in conjunction with hosing and wrapping her swollen legs. If we get through this episode, can this disease recur for the rest of her life, or is it now cured?

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Q:My filly had a snotty nose and a cough this winter, but she never really got sick–she just looked bad for two to three weeks. Last week, however, all four of her legs became swollen and we discovered a lump on her head. Not knowing what had happened, I hosed her legs down, gave her Bute (phenylbutazone), and put her in a stall for the night. The next morning she was more swollen so I once again hosed her legs, gave her more Bute, but this time I left her loose to move about the yard thinking she must have stocked up due to confinement.

But after a few hours things seemed to get even worse, so I took her to the vet. The veterinarian said she had vasculitis, and he started her on steroids and a couple other drugs, hosed and wrapped her legs, and things appear to be heading the right direction with the swelling reduced.

What I want to know is if we get through this episode, can it recur for the rest of her life, or is it now cured? This seems like a serious condition that could make her unable to pasture if not watched daily to catch recurrences. Please tell me if it's worth putting more time and training into an animal with this condition

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Written by:

Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, is an assistant professor of large animal internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s (Penn Vet) New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square. She graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001, and then completed an internship and residency in large-animal internal medicine at Tufts University, in North Grafton, Massachusetts. She spent a subsequent year at Tufts doing research in adult stem-cell biology in mice. She joined the Penn Vet faculty in 2007, where she won the university’s 2013-2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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