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Itchy udder

I have a mare who had a foal last year, and she was a tremendous milk producer. She came back to me after weaning in the fall and although she dried up normally, she still has very large teats. So much so that when I was bringing her back into work, her teats made a slapping sound at the canter and I joked that girlfriend desperately needed a sports bra.

She collects a large amount of smegma in the cavity between her teats and she gets itchy and uncomfortable if she’s not cleaned almost daily. I hose her well after every ride and wash her udder with ivory soap, which she is very good about thankfully, but I can’t seem to get on top of it. If I let it go even a few days, she starts rubbing her rump against the stall walls or anything else she can.

Is there anything I can put up in there that will help, like Desitin or something similar? Or any other advice?

Editing to add that she’s in a stall during the day with a fan and fly control so her itchiness is not from bugs.

I would not use soap but just water, and maybe something soothing. You don’t want any additional irritation.

I have the same issue of gunk and itch I need to stay on top of though maresy is more a B cup not a DD. I also wash under her tail.


Try soothing baby wash. Maybe makeup removal cloths if you are in a hurry. She just may need to be cleaned every day with her new cleavage.

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I would just use water and a sponge or washcloth. As Scribbler said you don’t want to introduce anything that could potentially cause irritation or leave a residue.

On my mare, I use water and a sponge, or sometimes a baby-wipe (all natural).

Drop the soap, and use either just water, especially if you’re doing this almost daily, or get a tub of reproductive exam lube from your vet, or the largest bottle of KY-type jelly you can find.

Even the “mild” soaps can be drying - I can NOT use Dove, or Ivory, without feeling like my skin has been stripped (and my face is pretty oily), but even if that doesn’t do that to your horse, it’s still disrupting natural, necessary bacteria, which may be exacerbating the problem

You could try slathering a little Desitin (or plain zinc oxide, you can get powder to make a paste which makes it much less $$) and see if just wiping that out every 1-2 days and smearing a little new in there helps, or just smoosh some KY Jelly in there every day and hose it out when you’re done riding

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Could it be something bacterial or fungal if abnormally itchy?

I get a little diaper rash thing going if I sweat around my bra and everything rubs. Usually Aloe Vera soothes my skin and contains the itch.


I like a moisturizing cream for this sort of thing. Like cetafil or vanicream. Something thick, with no added weirdness. My mare tells me that lube–which does work well to remove smegma–dries into an itchy layer if not removed.

My mare is like this. I try and rinse daily with plain water during warmer weather. A nubby washcloth helps, too. If it’s really gross and the smegma won’t cooperate with water and some elbow grease, I use Excalibur.

I use baby oil and a washcloth. :woman_shrugging:

just remember that any sort of oil is very hard to remove without using a soap (which you’re trying to avoid anyway), and just attracts dirt

I’ve changed to mild soap for a couple weeks and it hasn’t improved things. Tried plain water but it makes removing the black gunk very difficult. At least with baby oil the gunk came off easily so I’ll probably go back to that unless anyone has had better luck with desitin or ky jelly?

I’ve been having some luck with desitin. Mare seems more comfortable if I keep her smeared with that and it loosens the gunk enough to wipe off.

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Maybe my mare’s smegma just comes off easier, but I can get it off with just my hands.

Yes, gross, but effective and no added chemicals.

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I give my itchiest mare a daily wipe down with a sensitive skin baby wipe, which helps a ton and doesn’t seem to add to the crud.

My mare who was weaned last fall ended up with a gnarly skin infection deep between the folds of her large udder that was unknowingly affecting her profoundly. I felt pretty bad that it took as long as it did for me to find it.

Hm, sounds like baby oil will be the same as desitin in terms of effectiveness. I don’t remove it - put it on a washcloth so very little remains on the horse. Level of gunk with or without it seems the same.

KY gets the gunk off, but if left on the skin, it dries very itchy.

I like moisturizer for this. It improves the health of the skin overall. I use Cetafil, and it’s my mare’s favorite part of our grooming routine.

What about using baby wipes? There are several with just a base of water…maybe some aloe. That is what I use on my mare in the winter (provided they aren’t frozen :cold_face:).
Easy peasy to use after every ride.


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Well, originally my thinking was that I’m trying to avoid single use plastics, and the majority of disposable wipes are made partly of plastic. The plastic free ones are certainly available and come in around $0.05 each, so maybe I should try them! But I find a $3 bottle of baby oil at least comes in a bottle I can hope is recycled, and seems to last a very long time. Maybe it’s about the same at the end of the day!

But if it’s just/mostly water, maybe wipes wont work so well? I tried just water on a washcloth and it was not very effective on the ol’ crusty gal!

I know…the plastics :stuck_out_tongue:. I have boarded mostly at barns where there was not easy access to warm/hot water…the wilds of Idaho (actually Boise…but people don’t seem to think you need hot water :face_with_raised_eyebrow:). So, baby wipes it is. I find them to work fine. If you clean regularly it shouldn’t get that bad? My mare isn’t so bad. I can get away with once a month or so.

Yeah my mare wishes I’d clean her daily, but I do it a couple times a week because I’m an awful person. :scream: