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Inappropriate lactation in mare! Could she be pregnant?

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    Inappropriate lactation in mare! Could she be pregnant?

    Let me preface with saying that my mare will be going in to the vet hospital for rectal palpation in about 3 weeks, so I know what needs to be done, but I just wanted your opinions and to hear your experiences!

    My mare (to my knowledge) should not have ever been exposed to a stallion in the past 9 years at least. BUT a really sketchy hauler (didn't know he was sketchy until after the fact) transported my horses across the US to my new home when I moved states last summer. I did notice that my gelding's lead rope was switched for someone else's which makes it likely that he let them off the trailer at some point and who knows what could have happened then. There was also a "gelding" in her new pasture that was put down a few months ago that I never checked for a retained testicle or anything.
    That said...

    Last month, my mare started lactating. I have never seen her do this before. She didn't really bag up or anything but I noticed a droplet and expressed her teats and both streamed milk. I have now convinced myself that she is getting a little larger every week and looks just a tad bigger on the left (maybe I'm going crazy).
    She was hauled at the beginning of last August, so about 8 months ago. I will provide pictures. Let me know your opinions.

    She is also a heaves horse and so does not get much exercise, and to manage, she is outside on pasture 24/7. They are still eating a lot of hay because they grass isn't super long yet, but they are getting at the first of it (while getting hay too).

    If I get answers to this post I'll comment with the vet's diagnosis once I take her in!

    #2
    If there is no fever, it is likely hormonal.

    If there is clover sprouting in the field it can cause hormonal fluctuations. Soy in the diet has also been reported by some as well as cushings (with other signs).

    The vet can check her hormone levels. The first thing I think of when the issue lasts more than a few days is an ovarian mass (cyst, tumor, ect.).

    Comment

      Original Poster

      #4
      Yeah ovarian granulosa cell tumor is top of my list. Though she doesn't have a lot of the other behaviors that typically accompany. No clover in the pasture that I can see but maybe they eat it down before I can get a look!

      Comment


        #5
        With her lack of work I would assume she would be one of the mares that would "let it all hang out" rather then tucked up.
        The only way to know for sure is a vet exam. I did have one of my mares palpated because at 9.5 months she was holding the foal so "toght" we could not tell.

        Comment


          #6
          If she is pregnant, she should not be starting to bag up and/or express anything yet. If she is pregnant, to do this now would indicate probable problems, abnormality. Whether pregnant or not, possibly uterine infection.
          www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #7
            Originally posted by NancyM View Post
            If she is pregnant, she should not be starting to bag up and/or express anything yet. If she is pregnant, to do this now would indicate probable problems, abnormality. Whether pregnant or not, possibly uterine infection.
            Well it would possibly indicate infection in a pregnant mare but more likely a granulosa cell tumor if open. Would there be another reason for lactation during pregnancy besides infection? She is not clinically sick. Do her pictures look like hay belly?

            Comment


              #8
              She is well fed. Does she always hang low in the belly? She would still have about 3 months to go in gestation and this is when the foal does the bulk of it's growing.I would get her checked ASAP. You want to feed her right if she is in foal. Stop messing with the teats too. She should not be bagging up now and expressing milk makes it worse.

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #9
                Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                She is well fed. Does she always hang low in the belly? She would still have about 3 months to go in gestation and this is when the foal does the bulk of it's growing.I would get her checked ASAP. You want to feed her right if she is in foal. Stop messing with the teats too. She should not be bagging up now and expressing milk makes it worse.
                Oh yeah i don't do that after the first time. I'm in vet school so I know all about the oxytocin feedback loop. The first time was to see if she had purulent material or milk or what (just saw one drop on the teat).

                I am taking her in right after finals (2 weeks). Unfortunately I don't have a trailer of my own so I'm bribing the property owner to help me out.

                She doesn't typically hang so low. Her belly usually moreso balloons out on the sides.

                Comment


                  #10
                  Originally posted by Mysterymare View Post
                  Oh yeah i don't do that after the first time. I'm in vet school so I know all about the oxytocin feedback loop. The first time was to see if she had purulent material or milk or what (just saw one drop on the teat).

                  I am taking her in right after finals (2 weeks). Unfortunately I don't have a trailer of my own so I'm bribing the property owner to help me out.

                  She doesn't typically hang so low. Her belly usually moreso balloons out on the sides.
                  I would be guessing myself then too , especially since her shape has changed. Looking at your first post she may be closer to 9 months along now. How old is she and has she ever foaled before? That can cause her to begin bagging up earlier if she has foaled before.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #11
                    Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                    I would be guessing myself then too , especially since her shape has changed. Looking at your first post she may be closer to 9 months along now. How old is she and has she ever foaled before? That can cause her to begin bagging up earlier if she has foaled before.
                    One of the pics makes you think she would theoretically be further along?
                    I'm not sure on her age because she was a rescue long ago (I boughte her few years after) but my best guess is 13-15. I have known we for 9 years and she has not been pregnant in that time but idk about before that. Her teats have always been larger than normal mares but that could just be anatomical variation (or conversely because of previous use as a brood mare as a possibility. Who knows!). And she doesn't have a bag (maybe a tiny thicker in the mammary tissue but barely noticeable). Just the weird lactation thing. She is such a mess! Have you seen a hay belly that looks like her belly?

                    I just have a hard time thinking she could have gotten pregnant when i don't know of any viable stallions that should have contacted her. But I always hear from people "weirder things have happened with horses".

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Just wanted to throw in here that my mare has a weird lactation issue as well. She doesn't have a bag, but her teats are larger than average and I can always express a good stream of fluid from them. I've had her for 4.5 years and first noticed maybe 2.5 years ago- since then, it has been pretty constant year round. I've never had her rectaled, but her heat cycles are normal and mild and she doesn't have any other issues. The vet didn't have a definitive explanation at the time, but was not too concerned.

                      In terms of shape, I've seen a few that look like your mare that are not pregnant, so it is possible.

                      I don't think it's likely that your mare got pregnant while with the hauler- I'm assuming she was with him for a couple of days, maybe a week- so she would've had to be ovulating and exposed to a stallion with enough of an opportunity to breed in that short period of time, and have it take. Just a whole lot of variables that would need to come together. But, as you said, stranger things have happened. Better to be safe than sorry and get it checked out.

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #13
                        Originally posted by cheerio280 View Post
                        Just wanted to throw in here that my mare has a weird lactation issue as well. She doesn't have a bag, but her teats are larger than average and I can always express a good stream of fluid from them. I've had her for 4.5 years and first noticed maybe 2.5 years ago- since then, it has been pretty constant year round. I've never had her rectaled, but her heat cycles are normal and mild and she doesn't have any other issues. The vet didn't have a definitive explanation at the time, but was not too concerned.

                        In terms of shape, I've seen a few that look like your mare that are not pregnant, so it is possible.

                        I don't think it's likely that your mare got pregnant while with the hauler- I'm assuming she was with him for a couple of days, maybe a week- so she would've had to be ovulating and exposed to a stallion with enough of an opportunity to breed in that short period of time, and have it take. Just a whole lot of variables that would need to come together. But, as you said, stranger things have happened. Better to be safe than sorry and get it checked out.
                        That is interesting about the mare! Did she have a foal prior to you purchasing her? Mine has never done this before in the 6 years that I've known her. But you are right about the hauler! That is why I wouldn't be able to believe if she were pregnant. My bigger worry than the hauler is the geldibg that was put down who she was with for a few months. If he were an inguinal retained cryptorchid there is a slim chance (my friends mare got pregnant by one, I know they are supposed to be infertile) or if there was a stallion that I'm unaware of that got into her pasture (though I doubt there are any stallions one pasture over because I have seen a mare in there with all of the geldings.)
                        Last edited by Mysterymare; Apr. 23, 2015, 04:14 PM.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Google "witch's milk". My mare did this a few years ago. NO chance of her being pregnant at the time. I could express a noticeable stream from both teats. She stopped by summer when the clover was past peak.

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #15
                            Originally posted by whitney159 View Post
                            Google "witch's milk". My mare did this a few years ago. NO chance of her being pregnant at the time. I could express a noticeable stream from both teats. She stopped by summer when the clover was past peak.
                            Yeah I read about that but always in the context of fillies and very young mares. How old is your mare? Did she bag up at all?

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #16
                              I swear she was bigger when I went out today! I must be going crazy (or maybe she is just gassy?)

                              http://i1164.photobucket.com/albums/...psrkakznuz.jpg

                              http://i1164.photobucket.com/albums/...psrvlkbg7c.jpg

                              http://i1164.photobucket.com/albums/...psf8yxhlyu.jpg

                              Comment


                                #17
                                About to foal.... Has your vet confirmed, don't see vet in trend

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #18
                                  Originally posted by HealingHeart View Post
                                  About to foal.... Has your vet confirmed, don't see vet in trend
                                  You are being a bit vague with your wording. Did you read the entire post? She is not confirmed and to my knowledge should have not been bred unless some weird freak accident happened that I'm unaware of. And if there was an accident, it would not have been enough time for her to be foaling now anyway. I will be taking her to the vet in about two weeks and she will be palpated. Would love any other specific info about your observations of her pictures and story.

                                  Comment


                                    #19
                                    My older mare expresses fluid each year that she's out on pasture. I have always attributed it to the clover. She does look like she's about to foal any day though.
                                    Semi Feral

                                    Comment


                                      #20
                                      How does the top of her bum feel? (mucles on both sides of her tail)

                                      She really does look pregnant.
                                      Have you try to feel the baby move? Put her on crossties and hug the biggest/widest spot on her belly. Wait. If there is something in there, you should feel it!
                                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                                      Comment

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