Grass Glands: Similar to Strangles but Not as Serious

Last Updated on March 31, 2022 by Allison Price

Don’t panic if your horse has a swelling in his throat after coming from grazing. This could be due to Grass Glands.

Horses can develop large submandibular lymphodes (the area behind the jawbone at the back of their throat). After grazing for several hours, horses and ponies will often bring in large, firm, but usually not painful, swellings from the area where the throat latch would be. Sometimes, fluid will form under the skin to accompany the swelling.

Horses with severe symptoms may look a lot like hamsters, and they might be reluctant to work. These lumps can be mistakenly thought to be a sign of Strangles disease, but they are actually swellings of the parotid salivary cells.

Grass Glands

These swollen glands may vary in size depending on the day. These swollen glands are frequently associated with specific areas of grazing, and they are thought to be a form allergic reaction.

After the horse is out at grass, the glands grow larger and most horses return to their normal size within 24 hours. To drain any fluid, it is a good idea to feed such horses from a high height after they have been brought in.

You don’t need to do anything, but you can feel the area and confirm that it is not swollen parotid. If the swelling continues or involves surrounding tissues, this could be abscessing which is also quite common in horses. A vet should be consulted if there are any other symptoms such as pain, nasal discharge, nausea, vomiting, or lethargy.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!