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Windpuffs (US) or Windgalls (UK) are distentions of a tendon sheath, bursa, or joint capsule on a horse's legs, usually on the fetlock.


Windpuffs usually occur when a horse is young, especially after he begins work, and are a chronic problem often lasting the rest of the animal's life. They are fluid-filled sacs that are firm to the touch, almost always soft and are usually found on the fetlock just above the sesamoid bones. Windpuffs should be cool to the touch. If the swelling is hot, it is most likely an acute injury (such as one from trauma) or a more serious osselet, than a windpuff.

Windpuffs tend to increase with size after strenuous work. Concussion irritates the windpuff, causing the area to produce excessive lubrication fluid (a natural role of the tendon sheath or bursa). This causes distention of the area, resulting in swelling.

Because they are harmless, windpuffs are considered a blemish rather than lameness, but do indicate excess strain. This excess strain could develop into arthritis, tendinitis, or bursitis.

Conformation that Promotes Windpuffs

Windpuffs are especially common in horses with short, upright pasterns due to the excess concussion that type of conformation places on the legs.

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