I have a 15 year old arabian mare that used to be my main riding horses. About 7 years ago she began acting colicy shortly before she came into "heat", but it was never a colic. When she was not in heat she would act studdy, very protective of the other mares in the pasture and when they were in heat she would do the stud nicker and crest her neck and had even tried to mount. I had her ultrasounded and the vet said she had a large granulosa cell tumor on her right ovary, and a smaller one on her left ovary. He said it was possible that she was ovulating with many follicles of different sizes but given her history he felt it was bilateral GCT's.
Since then she has continiued to act this way but was able to be ridden with manners and did ok. Last summer one day she just seemed to kind of go crazy, and it has gotten progressively worse since then. She often looks behind her and around her whipping her head side to side and will run away like something is chasing her, she will squeal and strike for no apparent reason. She used to be a very codependant mare, didnt like to ever be alone, since last summer she has started to isolate herself from others, spends alot of time standing alone, but if a horse is removed from the pasture she will go frantic till it is returned. She has gotten so taking her out of the pasture is traumatic to her, she will shake violently and break out into a sweat. These symptoms seem to get progressively worse as time goes by. I am wondering of she could have a tumor on her pituitary gland or something. Or are there diseases out there that could do this? She has no other symptoms, healthy, eats and drinks fine. Easy keeper(fat).
Any input would be great. Also I am thinking for her safely and others, not that she is violent but in one of her fits of fear she could hurt someone and she no longer can be trusted to ride that she should be euthanized. However I would like to donate her to research. How or who would I contact for that ? I live in MN, thanks!
Treatment for a GCT is removal of the affected ovary (follow that link for more details on GCT's). To diagnose a GCT and not remove it (or recommend removal) if diagnosis is confirmed and behavioural problems are associated would be questionable practice of veterinary medicine.
I would have the mare evaluated again by a competent veterinarian, and if an ultrasound suggests a GCT, have inhibin and testosterone blood assays performed to confirm the ultrasound diagnosis (other things can visually mimic a GCT at least temporarily, but not hormonally). If diagnosis is confirmed, have the affected ovary removed. It would be extremely unusual that both ovaries are affected, and typically the hormonal secretion from the affected ovary will shut down activity on the contralateral ovary, so the mare does not cycle.
O.J. Ginther's lab at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) does a lot of work on hormones, and if it is found not to be a GCT but something else they may be interested, or could give you (or your vet) some advice.
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