Cranky Mare

My wife has a 9 year old Mare that she barrel races with. She completed her last show for the winter in October. Sometime in December the mare was not being herself and excercising was something she did not want to do. She is always in the pasture and runs in with 11 other horses.My wife has a 9 year old Mare that she barrel races with. She completed her last show for the winter in October. Sometime in December the mare was not being herself and excercising was something she did not want to do. She is always in the pasture and runs in with 11 other horses.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder,

My wife has a 9 year old Mare that she barrel races with. She completed her last show for the winter in October. Sometime in December the mare was not being herself and excercising was something she did not want to do. She is always in the pasture and runs in with 11 other horses.

More recently in the beginning of January she did not like to be brushed in front of the stifle on either side. The stifle does not seem to bother her it is actually in the belly area in front of the stifle.

We have had the Accupunture man tell us it was cystic ovaries, we have tried 5 days of penicillin for any infection and had the chiropracter give her a full treatment. It is getting worse. If you touch slighlty in either side in this area she will try to kick or bite (never kicked or bit before).

Winter fever is getting to all our horses but this seems like something else.

Any suggestions.
Gary

Dear Gary,

Your mare definitely needs to be seen by a licensed veterinarian. If she truly is having abdominal (belly) pain, there could be a number of causes. Abdominal pain or "colic" in a horse can be caused by pain in any of the abdominal organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, uterus, or peritoneum (lining of the belly).

The most common cause is pain in the gastrointestinal tract (stomach or intestines) which can cause them to be very sensitive and not want to be touched. Usually pain in this area presents as very rapid signs of pain, however, there are things that can cause chronic or prolonged intermittent pain.

The mare could have inflammation in the lining of her intestines, some type of cancer, a stone in her GI tract, an impaction, adhesions, ulcerations, or muscular spasms of her GI tract. She could also have an infection in her urinary tract or liver that could be causing abdominal pain. It is important to determine if she has had any change in her diet or exercise program, change in her water intake, deworming history, any history of weight loss, previous infection, change in manure, or previous surgery.

These facts may help to lead you and your vet in the right direction to determining which system in her abdomen is causing her pain. She will most likely need some type of testing to determine where her problem is such as bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasound, or even gastrointestinal endoscopy where they look around with a tiny camera. Since her problem is becoming worse, I would strongly recommend you have your vet come out to see her. She should be rested until then.

Thanks you,
Dr. Lowder