Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lump

In the beginning of July I noticed a lump in Maggie's throat latch region as I was grooming her. It was only on right side of her neck and about ping-pong ball to golf ball sized. I couldn't see it, but I was lucky to run into it by feel. The other day I noticed hay I could see it very faintly in the right lighting:

You can only faintly see it. Particularly a curved outline on the right side of the circled area.

Three weeks ago I had the local vet out to look at it, since it hadn't gone away or decreased in size. He said enlarged gland in that region weren't uncommon and that he'd seen some the size of apples with no detriment to the horse. He did say it felt like her thyroid though. I suggested we draw blood anyway and have her thyroid hormone levels screened so that at the very least we could have baseline levels in case it ever got bigger later.

Last week the vet called me with the results. All three of the hormones that they tested for (free T4, T4, and T3) were elevated, which the vet explained was very rate; he'd never seen it before and the lab that processed the tests had only seen it three time before. True hyperthyroidism is rare in horses - there are only two published papers citing cases! My vet also called another (very experienced) vet in the region who said that it was highly unlikely that a lab mistake would yield these unusual results. 

Maggie's blood test results

So according to these hormone levels, Maggie might have a thyroid tumor - fun stuff! I've made another vet appointment for this Wednesday and the vet will take blood again to retest the hormones, plus he will try to aspirate the mass to see if we can get some cells to identify. The mass could either be an adenomas, which is benign, or a carcinoma, which is cancerous. In the latter case, she'd need to have. Thyroid surgically removed :/

On the bright side, Maggie is doing perfectly well and seems totally healthy other than that stupid lump. Her coat looks great, she's well muscled and in good body condition, and totally fine with her current exercise load. The vet said that with a thyroid tumer he'd think she'd be displaying some other symptoms like a poor hair coat and body condition. Very mysterious...

I'll keep you posted as I find out more! For now, I'll be enjoying working her as normal!

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