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UPDATE Post #7- Vetting for the ehm *special* mare *long*

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  • UPDATE Post #7- Vetting for the ehm *special* mare *long*

    So on monday my (new) vet is coming to examine my mare, one I've had since December. She's 8, she's chesnut, she's tb...and from late winter (feb) on, she has shown off her devil side. At first it appeared to be a bad heat cycle... this behavior of wanting to kill all in her path would dissapate in a week or so. But then the heat cycles were seemingly merging together. Maresy broke a few electric fences trying to kick at horses, yet herdbound when taken away from them, and was not even rideable- way too out there. If she was rideable and there were folks in the arena, she'd get so preoccupied with trying to zoom backwards to try to catch other horses and double barrel them.

    Then it all seemed to cease. She became nice, loving. Riding with others was not so much of a problem. Nervous, yes, but green-horse like. The fences stopped coming down. She was kissy-kissy with my geldings on the other side.

    My friend took her to put some trail miles on her (with full disclosure of her behavior), with the idea that being in the great outdoors, having a job, she'd focus more on that and be able to be ridden with others more amenably.

    Weeeellll...that sorta worked. She double barreled one horse when she got stressed and didn't want to cross a puddle. Ok, green horse. Forgiven.

    She was ridden everywhere in 2 weeks, and my friend said she LOVED it, super athletic, long trotting out, could leave the herd with no problem, etc.

    And then the behavior started....in the pasture this time. she started attacking the other horses. if they'd go to get their other horses, maresy would try to run them off. when separated, she was breaking their fences.

    So she came back yesterday, and she's back in her 1-horse bubble, and she was kissy-kissy with my geldings again.

    Back to the original intent of this post...on Monday my (new) vet is coming to see her. They are a large animal hospital in the area, and we're new clients. The receptionist was sorta asking me what *I* wanted done, and I had no idea other than to examine the horse. I threw out the phrase "hormone panel" and "palpation" (because that is what my other vet, who can't make it out, said). But I also said, hey, I am going to rely on the vet to run what tests they deem necessary.

    So I told a friend of mine this, and they wondered if they'd do the palp right along with the hormone panel, apparently when she had a mare like this, the vet said the hormone panel would tell them whether or not they needed to palp. She was telling me this because said large animal hospital, while awesome, also has some vets who appear to run multiple, unnecessary tests, seemingly to run up the bill. Its common lore here, and something we're all careful of.

    As a result, I come to COTH. I want to make sure I know what SHOULD be done on Monday, for those of you who have been through this. What is excessive? What was done for your mare, in what order?

    Thanks in advance! I hope to have a positive update after our visit!
    Last edited by myhorsefaith; Jun. 28, 2010, 11:08 PM. Reason: updating
    My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage

  • #2
    I can't speak to sequence or priority of tests, but I might suggest that u/s of ovaries *might* be more effective than a simple palpation.

    Don't ovarian cysts cause/ contribute to the type of behaviour you're suggesting.


    • #3
      Ovarian cysts dont actually exist in horses. So you aren't really looking for those, but I agree an ultrasound of your mares ovaries would be the best place start.

      That said, since this is coming andd going, the best time to have her checked out would be when she's acting weird. From what you describe, this could all be related to normal heat cycles (when it went on for a long time this spring it was probably when she was transitional, and mares can stay in heat for several weeks, or come in and out of heat erratically during that time).

      In the winter thier ovaries shut down, so there are no cycles, but some mares act witchy then too because there are 2 hormones produced when mares are cycling (estrogen and progesterone). Estrogen is the "in heat" hormone. Progesterone is the "not in heat, you might be pregnant" hormone that teh ovaries release right after they ovulate.

      In the winter there is no estrogen (so no "hey, you're in heat" signal) BUT there is also no progesterone (so no "hey, you might be pregnant, so you definitely better not act in heat"). For some mares the lack of progesterone is enough to make them act kind of in heat and be weird.

      So, after all that said. I would be tempted to wait 2-3weeks to see if hte behavior returns, and heave hte vet out then to ultrasound her ovaries and see if she has an active follicle at that time. If she does Regumate (or the long acting progesterone/altrenogest shots) should be a big help with her behavior. Plus they can look for a granulosa/thecal cell tumor (GTCT) at that time (a tumor they can get on thier ovary that can make them act weird).

      I wouldnt waste money on a hormone panel because I really cant thinik of any info it's going to give you that an ultraosund would not. The only exception to that would be if they are worried about a GTCT, there is a very specific hormaone panel they can run to check for that. Just general progesterone or estogen levels wont really tell you anything beacuse they fluctuate widely based on what part of their cycle they are in.


      • #4
        When we were checking into behavioral issues with my mare, the first step was an ultrasound of the ovaries to rule out any obvious problems, and then a trial of Regumate. We never did a hormone panel.

        I had it done by a university vet, but my bill was less than $100 (w/o Regumate), so I don't think the ultrasound should be unreasonably expensive.


        • Original Poster

          see, this is why I love COTH!! Thank you!!!
          My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


          • #6
            I think I would describe her symptoms, and then ask what tests vet recommends, what said test would show, and how much it would cost. This approach rather than advising the vet to do one test or another, based on what the previous vet planned to do.


            • Original Poster


              Well, vet came and went. News isn't exactly good.

              I neednt have worried, the palp and the ultrasound were on the same line item. Findings not so good, but not definitive. Basically, her right ovary is smaller than it should be, and her left, well, the vet couldnt really tell what exactly was going on, but it wasn't normal.

              Blood for hormone panel was taken, shipped to UC Davis and will have results hopefully in 4 days.

              The vet is going to talk to their repro vet about her findings, and that repro vet will most likely be coming out to do another ultrasound, on the house, so to speak.

              So while I am somewhat relieved to know there appears to be something wrong, I'm also sad for my mare, and anxious about next steps.
              My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


              • #8
                Jingling for a good update
                At least you will know what is going on and will be able to make her feel better...
                Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!


                • Original Poster

                  This is definitely a learning journey for me. i've been reading articles alll night on the surgeries, different types of tumors, and my head is officially spun.

                  Who has had their mare's ovary(ies) removed with success? Pls share your stories!

                  My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


                  • #10
                    If you never, ever intend to breed her, consider having her spayed.
                    Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                    Now apparently completely invisible!