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Damaged Milk Vein in Senior Mare; Solutions?

This category is to be used for general mare questions that are not covered by other category descriptions.

Moderator: Jos

Damaged Milk Vein in Senior Mare; Solutions?

Postby chiere » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:54 am

Greetings! I have a 24 yr old draft cross mare that had quite the athletic career as a young lady involving combined driving and trans-contenental driving. She has had 7 pregnancies and 6 live births, her last foal was when she was 14. She is in very good health and weight, gets regular dental work and vet visits and gets riden regularly. Her milk veins just behind her elbows have always been a tad swollen, but I put that down to having nursed 6 foals (and any others she managed to steal.)
About a year ago I noticed her adopting a left foreleg forward position. Whether grazing, standing, or dozing, that left front leg is always a good 18" in front of the other. She also started shifting from hoof to hoof if she stood in one place for very long. But lameness tests only show mild arthritis as is expected of an old lady with a past athletic career. When riding her, she moves out sound as a three yr old.
I mentioned to the vet that she hates to be poked under her left armpit, and she's always been a tad girthy. So the vet thoroughly checked that area, noticed the left milk vein was a third again bigger than the right, registered the backed ears and side eye of pain upon poking about in her armpit, and came to the conclusion that somehow the old lady has damaged that part of her milk vein. Vet said it could be a year old injury, or accumulated damage throughout her career that got finally worse.
My question; is there a way to fix this? Is there some type of surgery or varicose vein procedure that can be done? I Googled V. mammaria cranialis surgery and found nothing. She's obviously uncomfortable. She still runs and bucks in the pasture, and is no way near being disabled, but I know I don't enjoy the dayly grind of background pain, she can't either. And I don't want to keep her on a constant dose of NSAIDs. And, I feel horribly guilty when I girth her up and she looks at me like, really? You're really gonna squeeze that thing again???
Is this unusual? Anyone else ever have to fix a milk vein? Will the other side have problems? That's a big fascinating vein, (flow changes direction when a mare is pregnant!) and I'll admit to a little bit of worry...
Thank you for any insite!
Cheri
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