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Swollen utter

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  • Swollen utter

    I am new to posting so hope i do it right.I would like a few opinions please.I have a 30 year old mare that has never been bred that has a large swollen utter on one side and is really hard.Took her to the vet, he said older horses seem to have a problem with their hormones going crazy sometimes.He said to put a warm compress on it 3 or 4 times a day for 4 or 5 days.Did not go down.Then he said to use the warm compress as before and 2 clicks of Bute once a day for 4 or 5 days.May have gone down a little.Then He put her on 10 days of Dexamethasone 4mg ,5 tablets twice a day. It MAY have gone down half way. When i call him back he said to stop all treatment that she has a tumor and a horse this old there is really nothing more we can do.I hate to lose her we have grown old together.Just wondering what some of you think,sorry for the long post.Thanks:

  • #2
    Sorry you're having troubles with your old girl. Did your vet do some kind of testing to determine she has a tumor?

    Age catches up to all of us in a variety of ways, and 30 is very old for a horse. Yes, there are some who live longer, but at that age we must acknowledge that every day is a real gift.
    Patience pays.


    • Original Poster

      Melissa he did no testing .He looked it over and felt of it.


      • #4
        Get another opinion. Find a vet that will explain things to you so that you understand what is going on and what you should be doing for her.


        • #5
          I dont think its automatically a tumor. Try to get a second opinion. This has been going on for a few weeks now? Did it come on suddenly or was it slowly getting larger?

          Dont give up hope yet. I think there might be more to the story.


          • #6
            Is it hot? Does it bother her? If you "milk" that side, does anything come out?

            While unusual, mastitis can occur in a dry mare. You'll need some antibiotics if that's the case.


            • #7
              Has it seemed to effect your mare?

              My much younger mare had the same problem with one swollen udder and I did the whole warm compress thing too with no luck. Per recommendation of my vet I also had it ultra sounded along with other attempts at treatment to see if we could figure out what it was with not much luck there either.

              I noticed it on her when she was about 15 and she is pushing 22 now and has always just been lopsided. Some times it seems bigger or smaller but its always larger that the other side.

              I wouldn't hop on the doom and gloom train just yet
              Last edited by Bellissimo; May. 9, 2012, 05:30 PM.


              • #8
                Another vote for a second opinion. It was irresponsible of the vet to tell you your mare has a tumor when there is no confirmation. Is there a large animal hospital in your area, or a vet school? If not, try to find a vet who is board-certified in equine medicine to take another look.

                Possibilities without thinking about it too much:
                - Cushings disease
                - Ovarian cyst
                - walled abcess
                - mastitis

                Since the udder became swollen, has your mare changed her appetite or attitude? Have you taken her temperature?
                Patience pays.


                • #9
                  uDDer. Not "utter"

                  thank you. This public service announcement brought to you by someone with the last name "utter" who was mooed at as a child becuase people didn't know the difference.

                  (anyway, good luck and hope it's nothing problematic for your mare)
                  "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                  My CANTER blog.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by caffeinated View Post
                    uDDer. Not "utter"

                    thank you. This public service announcement brought to you by someone with the last name "utter" who was mooed at as a child becuase people didn't know the difference.

                    (anyway, good luck and hope it's nothing problematic for your mare)
                    I IMMEDIATELY thought maybe you'd gotten pregnant again when I saw this thread title!
                    "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                    • #11
                      Second Opinion ~~~ lymph system ? mastitis ?

                      This happened to one our maiden mares .. young, strong mare ... one side ... warm compresses, milked her out , antibiotics .....on and on ...

                      Believe now is was lymphistis ~ please get another vet out for a second opinion and MAKE him listen to you ~ keep notes ~ temperature .. appetite ....affect ....

                      Jingles & AO

                      FWIW I do not believe it is a tumor rather a infection ... bacteria / virus ...??? but not a tumor .
                      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                      • Original Poster

                        Wow sorry for that huge spelling mistake ,should have been udder...

                        .Not sure when it started ,just noticed it one night at feeding time and it was huge then but it is some smaller now.I would say it has been 6 weeks ago when we first noticed it.

                        No, it's not hot...no milk of or liquid ...does not seem to effect her in any way especially her food.

                        Yes sounds like i may need another vet,but It may take me several days to get this other vet out here for a farm call.Do not know why but we had a terrible time getting her to load this last time,she had never acted like this before, broke my heart.So i don't want to haul her any more if there is any way around it.

                        Thanks to every one for your replies.


                        • #13
                          Sounds like some kind of infection to me; possibly even caused by a tick bite. Take her temp. twice a day for a week and see if that tells you anything; you'll also never hurt her with a gram of Bute every 2nd day. Does she show any discomfort with it at all?

                          Even if it WERE a tumor, chances are very good it's something she'd die WITH someday, not "of." The udder is outside the abdominal wall and any tumor would have a long way to go to get to anything vital. Elderly horses can also get the same kind of "fatty tumors" often seen in dogs, and they are benign for all practical purposes.

                          Don't be in denial about her age, however; those who see 30 are Darwin's four-star champions, but even so, Nature one day calls all their names . . . just sayin'!


                          • #14
                            Just an added thought. My 7 yo maiden mare, for several years years now, develops a swollen udder as first sign of reaction to flies, to which she is allergic.


                            • #15
                              You did not state if she “milked up”. If not;
                              There could be a sarcoid developing also in addition to what others have posted. We had a mare that had nodular sarcoids in her rear area for several years that moved into her udder. I don’t remember her bag getting enlarged to any great degree other then getting the “bumps” that we had biopsied. We were advise that it would spread quite quickly at this stage. Sorry, but we had to put her down several months latter.
                              What was going on with our mare was visual. But it seems to me if there was a tumor in there you should be able to feel it. Our foaling mares come up with an udder edema after foaling which makes it very painful for them to nurse we also warm compress and give banamine.
                              Your mare is 30 so it comes down to how much money you are willing to throw at a diagnosis and treatment. At her age there is a good chance of your vet being correct and do what you can to keep her comfortable until the inevitable comes. Everything/one dies of something. I just call it old age. I just hope I wake up dead. My horses and dogs also.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post

                                Even if it WERE a tumor, chances are very good it's something she'd die WITH someday, not "of." The udder is outside the abdominal wall and any tumor would have a long way to go to get to anything vital. Elderly horses can also get the same kind of "fatty tumors" often seen in dogs, and they are benign for all practical purposes.
                                'Sure would be nice if this were true. Breast cancer wouldn't be so high on the list of fatal cancers if that were the case. Older mares DO get mammary tumors and at the age of 30 it's a distinct possibility. If she's healthy otherwise, at that age you wouldn't be wrong to monitor the "swelling" before spending more on diagnostics. If you just need to know for your own sanity perhaps your vet, or a second vet could look into it further.
                                It's a reflection of your love and care that she's lived to see 30 years. I hope the old girl has a few more left in her.
                                "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen


                                • #17
                                  I had this happen to a three year old dry mare just about six months ago! One side of her udder swelled up significantly yet there was no discharge ect. She was sore but you could touch it. It mystified four vets, we tried everything from three different antibiotics, ultrasounds, bloodwork, dmso, hot compresses, taking her off alfalfa ect ect. It never helped, it just seemed to harden and now just feels like scar tissue....

                                  "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                                  • #18
                                    Bumping this for an update ~ JINGLES & AO ~

                                    Jingles & AO continue ~

                                    any update ?
                                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "