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Cross-Post from Horse Care Thread - Increased sensitivity in mare

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  • Cross-Post from Horse Care Thread - Increased sensitivity in mare

    This is a cross-post from the Horse Care forum, and it really deals more with "not-breeding" : ), but we thought the reproductive experts here might be able to help, as it deals with a potential reproductive issue.

    We have a very talented, 7-year old mare who has periodic bouts of resistance and a "screw you" attitude. We are trying to rule out any number of physical causes, including those related to her estrus cycle and/or gastro-intestinal causes.

    We have had extensive musculo-skeletal testing done by our vet and feel comfortable that her difficulties are not related to back pain, joint pain, or issues with saddle fit.

    She tends to have very pronounced heat cycles and exhibits on the top-end of marish-ness during those cycles. We've tried Regumate and herbal supplements in an attempt to regulate matters, but have not had a great deal of success with those. Most recently, we've used the rather new therapy of having a glass marble implanted in her uterus to simulate pregnancy (which causes a natural increase of progesterone in the mare) and suppress estrus; that does not seem to have affected matters in a positive way, at least not yet. When in heat, the mare is difficult to get moving -- her aspect is deadened to touch, more than anything else.

    She recently had an ultrasound; the marble remains in place and there do not appear to be any irregularities with her reproductive organs -- no retained follicle or anything like that.

    Recently, the behavior has worsened -- so much so that it is out of line with her prior mare-ish behavior related to being in heat. Her primary symptom of discomfort is sensitivity along her flanks -- of course, this is the precise place one uses one's leg when riding, so the behvior exhibits itself under saddle, but one gets the same reaction on the ground while palpating the mare's flanks -- pinned ears, a nasty look, tension in the body, and similar expressions of discomfort. We do not believe it is a training or general attitude issue with the mare -- something has changed recently which is affecting her sensitivity in some way.

    We are starting to suspect a gastro-intestinal source for the behavior rather than a reproductive one, and are addressing the issue from that perspective as well. We wanted to find out, however, if anyone else has used the marble therapy and if their mare had any side affects associated with it. There do not appear to be any reported issues like ours, but wanted to see if there are any anecdotal similarities out there.

    Does this sound like a gastro issue? Any other thoughts?

    Last edited by Peregrine Farm; May. 14, 2012, 03:24 PM.

  • #2
    I had a mare who had recurrent internal abscesses, ie chronic peritonitis. Hers would come and go, apparently and cause very similar behavioral problems. She had developed a basketball sized mass of scar tissue that involved most of her small intestine and many other organs, veins and arteries. We only learned all this after the Necropsy.

    She never presented with colic symptoms until the final episode; within two days she was euthanized. I'd suggest having a belly tap done to check for that kind of infection.
    Last edited by vineyridge; May. 14, 2012, 06:24 PM.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire


    • #3
      I have been told to check for Lyme's disease if a horse is unusually sensitive to touch.
      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


      • #4
        No experience re. the marble, but according to this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr05hMmLCY4&sns=fb)... I vote ulcers!

        Best of luck with your mare!
        Breeding & Sales
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        • #5
          I wish someone would come up with a "Midol" for horses. OP, your description of your mare- "resistant, screw you attitude" fits my 2 yr. old filly when in heat.
          Surely there is something out there that could minimize the discomfort during estrus. ???
          Sorry, I'm no help. Good Luck figuring this out.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


          • #6
            I used the marble several years ago but with little to no luck. After the Grand Prix mare's career was over and we went to breed her, we found 2 marbles buried in her uterus covered in scaring. I'm not a fan of the marble! The progestrone shot otherwise know as Depo works amazing if it is hormone related. With tough mares, we give them Regumate daily and Depo every 2-3 weeks. It really helps if the problem is hormone related. I would definitely treat for ulcers as well.