Mare’s Left Teat - Swollen?

I have a rather strange situation and it’s not something I’ve ever noticed nor experienced before. I’ve had my youngster for almost two years now, she will be four in April. Therefore I’ve been around for her heat cycles, on and off season.

This afternoon, I went to groom my mare and noticed that her left teat (more so in front of the teat) was hard and swollen. I typically regularly clean the gunk between her teats, hence why I was able to notice. It seemed slightly tender but didn’t bother her too much. I haven’t noticed any signs of her being in heat (we’re in the dead of winter) and I’m not even particularly sure that this would be a symptom of that. She has not been around any stallions so there is no chance that she is in foal.

I have made a vet appointment to check it out just in case, but until then and for my own peace of mind, does anyone have any experience with this? Would this be considered a normal part of a mare’s development? I’m totally lost and I can’t seem to find anything else not relating to a mare that has been bred.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I figured it would be worth it to mention that we have been dealing with a strange hind end lameness, diagnosed in the neck and treated accordingly. This flare up occurred on the same side by which she was lame, so I’m curious if it was potentially an underlying issue that was contributing to the lameness. Any insight on this would also be appreciated!

Sounds like mastitis. What has she been eating? There are some things (such as clover) that can cause a non-pregnant mare to do this. My mare did this last winter, one side only, in feeling around it she started leaking!
Anyway yes, check with vet.

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She has been consuming nothing but hay (alfalfa mix, that she has been on since coming to this boarding facility in 2019) and her grain/supplements. We have not had access to green pasture since November.

Sounds like mastitis to me as well. My mini would get mastitis if she foundered badly. I think it’s some kind of pain response so it may be linked to the lameness, but not necessarily a cause. I also found that massaging it would cause fluid to drain out her teat. My vet advised against ‘milking her out’ because they said it would encourage the fluid to return. However, I found that my mare really appreciated the pressure release and would lean into it when I was ‘milking her out’, so I did it daily until it cleared up. It never seemed to have a negative effect. She had bouts of mastitis periodically over a few years, always with founder. Once we figured out how to manage the founder, no more mastitis. I hope it’s an easy fix for your mare!

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Thank you for your insight!

There was no fluid that I noticed that could be “pushed out”. It was quite stiff. The vet came yesterday to have a look, thinks it is related to her feed and the fact she is quite the chonk at the moment. She hasn’t been in work since July (been in rehab since) and they aren’t moving around much in their pasture due to the snow/ice, so that coupled with maybe a little too much grain has likely been the contributor.

We have opted to cut back on grain and keep and eye on it, she is scheduled to come back into work in April. Vet also mentioned she has a slower metabolism than others, so we will have to be mindful.

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oh, I’m glad to hear that! Now that I read this, I am reminded that a boarder mare here had the same thing during a time when she was overweight and not working, not moving around much in the field. For her it was sensitive to the touch but it disappeared by summer. Good luck with your mare!

My mare has times when one or both udders will swell a bit. They are not tender or warm when touched. The next or so they are back to normal. This happens more in the spring and summer months.

After she had her foal she did get mastitis, it was odd as it happened 8 months after we scanned the foal.

Have you had her checked for metabolic issues? I have a chunky mare who would randomly have swelling around her teats. We also dealt with random foot soreness hear and there. Turns out that she is insulin resistant and one of the symptoms is swelling near the teats. Once we changed her diet she no longer had any swelling or lameness issues. Glad we found out when we did and made dietary changes before she developed laminitis.

No we have not but that would definitely be something I’d like to look into! Does this simply involve bloodwork? Was your mare in work at the time of discovery? Just curious as my mare has not had any issues when in work (when she was sound) but is now developing this issue while being off the past 8 or so months.

My mare was in work (approx 4 days a week). She would be totally fine for 2 weeks and then have a day where she just didnt feel 100%. She was pretty chunky and had some fat pockets despite her not getting much grain. She is on regumate so we know that her teat swelling wasnt hormone related since she wasnt cycling. We did bloodword to confirm it was metabolic problems.
I learned that exercise is very important for insulin resistant horses as it helps them use up the sugar. I had her hay tested and found out that it had quite a bit of sugar in it. We changed her hay, muzzled her when on grass, and gave her a low sugar grain.

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Mastitis can reoccur when they are dry. Can I ask what scanning the foal means?

@kwpn_01 Mastitis is possible in any nursing animal. It is more possible when you handle the udder and especially when you try to express something out you remove the teat plug that keeps bacteria from entering the udder.

I never mess with my mares, breeding goats or dry cows udders( if at all possible) unless they are in milk.

My darn auto correct!

I meant to type “weaned”

Sorry for the confusion

I thought it was something new!

My mares tears are a bit dropped since she did have a foal. They are not upclose and tight like a maiden mare.

I do clean between them with baby wipes quite frequently, as they get very dirty up there and a bit waxy if that the right word.

Are you suggesting they should not be cleaned ? Or cleaned on a regular basis? My mare likes getting them cleaned, I’m sure it feels good to get all the gunk out.