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Full udders in a mare that’s not pregnant?

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  • Full udders in a mare that’s not pregnant?

    I briefly had my mare at a small stable with only 4 horses and one of the geldings started acting REALLY stud-ish to the point that I was unable to ride her or take her away from the stable without him going nuts calling for her and running up and down the fence. Unfortunately she would respond to him and it was such a mess that we had to move to a different stable after a few weeks because they’d gotten so attached and her hormones were out of whack.

    That was in June and since then her udders have been VERY full (I’ve attached a picture). They don’t seem to be overly tender and she hasn’t had a temperature but it’s been almost 2 months and they’re not getting any better. The fullness seems to fluctuate - some days they appear less full than others but they’ve not been close to normal. I’ve avoided messing with them other than keeping them clean because I don’t want to stimulate them further but if you squeeze them a stream of fluid will come out and sometimes they appear to just be leaking on their own.

    While we were at the stable she was on Altrenogest (injectable Regumate) and since then I’ve switched her back to Medroxyprogesterone (depo).

    I don’t think it’s mastitis because they’re not overly tender, she hasn’t had a temperature, and she was on SMZs for a few days due to a cut on her leg and there wasn’t any improvement during that time.

    I talked to my vet and sent her pictures and she doesn’t think it’s mastitis either and thought I should continue with the depo and see if they improved over the next month or so. That was a month ago and there hasn’t been any improvement. My vet said there wasn’t anything that she could do to dry her up or anything but recently I’ve not been overly impressed with this vet’s diagnostic experience and have been planning on using a new vet in the future.

    Has anyone had any experience with this and did you or your vet do anything that worked? I thought there was an injection that could dry her up and get her prolactin levels back to normal like when a mare has a miscarriage but my vet didn’t seem to know anything about that.

    I’m also wondering if I should take her off depo and let her go without hormones for a while to see if she levels out?
    She’s been normal behavior-wise and has not been in season since we left that stable.

    She’s due to have her teeth done so I’m planning on bringing a new vet out in 2 weeks but wanted to see if anyone had any experience with this?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Most likely from the clover in her pasture or the soy in her feed or both. Nothing to worry about unless it gets hot and tender or she gets a fever.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      I’ve read about that but there’s no clover in her pasture and it’s continued in 2 different stables (last summer, at a different stable, she had so much clover she was drooling) and she’s on the same food she’s been on for 9 years and this has never happened before so I don’t know how likely that is...

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      • #4
        I've never heard of any kind of clover causing this type of reaction, but I would think something along the lines of a phantom pregnancy.

        Not very much research has been done on edroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) (because Depo is not approved for use in horses, your horse isn't getting Depo per se, but getting MPA which is the same chemically), but in a small study done between Regu-Mate and MPA by Dr. Patrick McCue showed that the Regu-Mate group was the only group that suppressed estrus when teased by a stallion. MPA has anecdotal evidence of behavioral changes, but not estrus suppression. It's actually banned in Canada now due to testing showing extremely high dosages and high frequency of administration, to create a tranquilizing effect.

        Given that information and the fact that you had her on Regu-Mate and now she is back on MPA, her hormones are probably out of whack. She went from being suppressed around a stud like gelding who teased her, to not being suppressed at all in a somewhat short amount of time.

        I am not a DVM so take what I have to say with a grain of salt for sure. Having a second DVM out is a great idea. Please let us know how this plays out
        I’d rather ride on a Mustang, than in one.

        BaileyAnn Neal

        Comment


        • #5
          I had something similar happen to my mare when she was young (2 or 3 IIRC). It was from phytoestrogens: high soy diet + summer pasture + alfalfa hay. I could even express fluid from her. Scaled back on the soy and the problem corrected itself.
          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            WildGooseChase

            I’m thinking it could be a Phantom Pregnancy (or just her hormones being out of whack) because it all happened after she was around that stud-ish gelding and she was definitely receptive to his behavior. After I first noticed it we continued on the Altrenogest for about 6 weeks and there was still no improvement so my vet suggested we try Medroxyprogesterone Acetate since she had done well on it in the past. She’s been on MPA for about a month. I’m thinking I may stop the hormones for a month or so to see if that helps.

            I’ve read about mares having this reaction due to diet but I don’t think that’s the case with her - partly because it all happened right after her interactions with the stud-ish gelding and her diet hasn’t changed. She’s been on TC Complete for the 9 years I’ve owned her and she’s had enough clover in the past to make her drool without having this happen. Her current pasture hardly has any grass, let alone clover. It started while she was on the same grass and hay that she’s been on for the past 2 years.

            Hopefully the vet has some answers! It doesn’t seem to be bothering her much other than getting dirty and itchy more easily. I’ve been keeping extra baby wipes on hand!

            Comment


            • #7
              You could investigate potential causes of elevated blood estrogen and prolactin concentrations. Estrogen is a primary driver of mammary development. Prolactin is one of the hormones that causes the milk producing cells to "turn on". What color is the secretion you get from her?

              Others have mentioned soy, alfalfa, and clover. These have compounds that can have estrogen-like activity. Did the vet palpate the mare? Does she have any unusual structures on her ovaries?

              Sometimes mares with Cushing's will have udder development and elevated prolactin. Some vets treat these horses with pergolide. However, this likely would not be appropriate for a horse that doesn't have Cushing's. Bromocriptine is a drug that will reduce prolactin concentrations, but it is not approved for use in horses.

              In most cases, this udder development just goes away in time with no intervention needed.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Skip's Rider

                The secretions have ranged from clear to a milky white.
                I’m suspecting an imbalance of estrogen and/or prolactin due to her exposure to and her behavior around the stud-ish gelding rather than a dietary cause. In the 9 years I’ve owned her I’d never seen her act the way she did around him and I’d never seen a gelding act like he did! It was since then that her hormones just seemed to be out of whack.

                Her ovaries were palpated a few months ago when we had a mystery behavior change and wanted to rule out ovarian cysts (it was turned out to be her SI). At that time the vet said her ovaries were normal. I have not had a vet out for her this current issue - I just sent my vet pictures and have been monitoring her temperature and she thought it would go away on it’s own. I’m bringing a new vet out in about 2 weeks for routine stuff and am planning on adding an udder check to the list, haha!
                I figure an exam and maybe blood test wouldn’t hurt. It seems to bother me more than it does her! Typical, haha!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BabyDentist2021 View Post
                  Skip's Rider

                  The secretions have ranged from clear to a milky white.
                  I’m suspecting an imbalance of estrogen and/or prolactin due to her exposure to and her behavior around the stud-ish gelding rather than a dietary cause. In the 9 years I’ve owned her I’d never seen her act the way she did around him and I’d never seen a gelding act like he did! It was since then that her hormones just seemed to be out of whack.

                  Her ovaries were palpated a few months ago when we had a mystery behavior change and wanted to rule out ovarian cysts (it was turned out to be her SI). At that time the vet said her ovaries were normal. I have not had a vet out for her this current issue - I just sent my vet pictures and have been monitoring her temperature and she thought it would go away on it’s own. I’m bringing a new vet out in about 2 weeks for routine stuff and am planning on adding an udder check to the list, haha!
                  I figure an exam and maybe blood test wouldn’t hurt. It seems to bother me more than it does her! Typical, haha!
                  Interestingly I’m going though this too. I don’t have the regumate issue to complicate it though. I’m at a loss. Had the vet run blood work, nothing. She’s not on a soy feed. Not overweight. I’ve cut back alfalfa. I also started washing her tail and udders every other day and did the listerine thing mixed with almond oil, lavender, and lemon eucalyptus, which may have helped. My mare is prone to cellulitis, so I went at it from that angle. For us, I think it’s bug/fly strikes with an alfalfa component. It’s strange and I’m going on a month. It’s better, but still turgid and somewhat swollen. It’s 106 here today which is not helping...

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Sfbayequine View Post

                    Interestingly I’m going though this too. I don’t have the regumate issue to complicate it though. I’m at a loss. Had the vet run blood work, nothing. She’s not on a soy feed. Not overweight. I’ve cut back alfalfa. I also started washing her tail and udders every other day and did the listerine thing mixed with almond oil, lavender, and lemon eucalyptus, which may have helped. My mare is prone to cellulitis, so I went at it from that angle. For us, I think it’s bug/fly strikes with an alfalfa component. It’s strange and I’m going on a month. It’s better, but still turgid and somewhat swollen. It’s 106 here today which is not helping...
                    That is odd! We’re going on 2 months. I’m planning on asking the vet because they’ll be out anyways for routine stuff but I’m hoping that it’s something that will just go away on it’s own. It doesn’t seem to bother her and I’ve been trying to just keep it super clean. I’m in Memphis and we’ve had some ridiculous heat and humidity - the heat index was close to 120 earlier this week! My poor girl has such major cleavage now that she’s got boob sweat!!

                    Comment

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