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Wind puffs, also known as wind galls, are points of swelling due to fluid buildup that occur on the horse's lower legs, but they can be harmless if the horse has not experienced other injuries. Understand how wind puffs occur with helpful advice from a veterinarian in this video on caring for horses.
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Hi, I'm Dr. Joanna Robson. I'm a doctor of veterinary medicine with Inspiritus Equine Incorporated, and I'd like to help you understand wind puffs, or wind galls, as they're sometimes referred to. Get a lot of questions about wind puffs, and whether or not they're a problem for horses. So what the heck are they? Wind puffs are usually an out pouching or a swelling that we see in the lower horse's legs, or the distal limbs, right about here at the fetlock of the horse's legs. What a wind puff is, is fluid build up in the joint capsule of the horse, that then is trapped by what we call the retinaculum, which is a band of soft tissue, so it's a little bit like a belt, having your shirt pooch up over the belt of your jeans. Excessive fluid in the wind puffs can sometimes look very swollen, and very unsightly, but it doesn't mean that the horse is going to have a performance problem. Most commonly, if the horse is lame in that particular leg, then we'll spend more time and attention in diagnosing whether or not the wind puffs are related to that injury. But quite a few performance horses can have wind puffs with out any outward signs of a clinical lameness, or of being off. If you're concerned about wind puffs, or wind galls, or if they're a new occurrence on your horse, don't hesitate to call your veterinarian to have your horse evaluated. Sometimes all that's needed is cold water hosing, or wrapping in a standing bandage to provide some support for the limb. In really severe cases of wind puffs, they can be injected with hyaluronic acid, but this isn't typically recommended because of other potential side effects, or risks involved with injection. So, in review then, wind puffs are not usually a performance problem; however, the out pouching of the fluid, if they're new, or if it's excessive, don't hesitate to have your veterinarian evaluate the horse to tell you whether or not the wind galls are a new problem, or nothing to worry about.
Specialty: Vetrinary Medicine