Farrah does not really like to bend left. When asked to view her left eyeball ever so slightly, she does resist. Not horribly, but it is definitely there.
Then you add in the rather odd, periodic swelling of her head. Not up by her cheeks, but underneath, around the teeth and towards the chin. Only sometimes, only after grazing (think all fluids follow the laws of gravity).
Go to put her halter on in the dark, hmm, won't quite fit. I check, yes this is actually HER halter. Her face is swollen that swollen, and even caffeine free I can see we have a problem.
I admit the first time I panicked, called the vet as thoughts of snake or spider bites raced through my brain. However, she can eat and drink normally and there is no temperature. Of course, the mystery swelling is gone when the vet arrives.
The swelling comes and goes, and I finally get the bright idea to take a picture with the smart phone and email it to the vet. Lightbulb!
My regular vet says, upon inspection, she might have a stone in her salivary gland. It is mobile, so the swelling comes and goes. You need to get a nice digital xray to know for sure. Ok, no problem. Have the other vet with digital come and low and behold, the left cheek is not formed normally. As in the bone extends up and back towards her ears. A good 2 inches!
This vet says we should have a specialist take a look, but the unique bone malformation could be interfering with the salivary gland and she might need surgery. Now, with all the grooming and clipping this mare has had, you would think I might have noticed it. After all, while you can't see it readily, on palpation it is pretty hard to miss. So now I realize that if I had just started adding a month or so ago, I really should have been able to catch this and not feel like an idiot in front of the vet when my horse's head is clearly NOT like all the other equine residents of the farm.
The xrays do indicate Farrah was made this way....no sign of trauma or bone remodelling. So now we just wait 2 weeks for the surgeon to come back from France and tell us actually how to proceed. In the meantime I count my lucky stars that it isn't a leg and that she is insured and wait to enter that next event, pending a date with the surgeon!