I have a 7 yr old mare who seems to never go "out" of heat. She's had long, miserable heat cycles since about 1 year old, but it's gotten expotentially worse over the years. This spring I purchased a breeding stallion and now she's obsessed with him.
I have a small farm with 4 horses so the 3 mares live in close proximity to the stallion. He's a superb horse with excellent ground manners and disposition and bless his soul he just ignores this mare squatting and peeing down his fence line.
I keep her in the pasture "on the hill" as much as possible so she's not near his fence line, but that is tough because it's artic weather here and there is no shelter up there or heated water. And besides, that doesn't really fix her problem - she'll still squat and pee, though it's not "quite" as much. I put her there on nice days, but those are far and few between in this part of the country.
Sometimes he goes to the fence and sniffs and curls up his lip, talks a little bit, then turns and goes back to his hay.
Given the fact he doesn't go crazy over her, I wonder if this isn't a true estrus cycle???? Submissive behavior? She will forsake her hay pile to stand with her butt to his fence line with her legs squatted. She'll stand there for an hour, go eat for 5 minutes then go back and squat for another hour. She has AMPLE room to get far away from him if she wants, but she chooses to stand as close to his fence as she can.
I had a consult with a repo vet who suggested 1 month of Regumate but given all the warnings about that, I am REALLY REALLY not happy about doing it, for my own health and safety. I've read horror stories of people dying of cancer when they accidently spilled a drop on their shirt. We have used Regumate before on a mare and it was a SUPREME PITA. Also I'm confused in that most info I read about Regumate is that it INDUCES a mare to ovulate and become pregnant (that's what we used it for). Clearly that's not what I want.
I had the mare ultrsounded because 2 other vets suggested she was cystic. The ultrasound was clean, and he said everything looked fine, no cysts. I was told she may be one of those mares who will constantly "show" for a stallion that is teasing her. I certainly wouldn't say my stallion teases her, as he pretty much just ignores her, but apparently she preceives it differently ;-) The cost for spaying obviously is very high - the repo vet I consulted with gave me a quote of $1,800 on up. She would be hospitalized for 7 days, on IV antibiotics, etc. It seemed like a very lengthy process. I'm willing to do it if it will help, but according to the articles I've been reading, spaying is no guarantee for stopping this kind of behavior.
Can anyone give any information? I am tired of looking out the kitchen window to see the mare squatting and peeing. This literally goes on 25 out of every 30 days in a month. And here it is January with average temps in the single digits to teens - night time temps below zero, about 6 hours of sunshine, and she's still doing it.
True that the stallion doesn't help things,but long before the addition of the stallion, this was a problem. She'll squat and pee at about half the public outs we attend if other horses get near her - mare or gelding. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to get her moving because she wants to stop and squat. She sort of "checks out" where she shuts her eyes halfway, drops her head way down, squatts, flags her tail and pees/winks, and you have to whack her a good hard one with a crop to wake her up and get her to move. She'll walk 5 steps then stop and squat again.
What I want to know is this - every female animal I own or have ever owned has been spayed for their own health and comfort. So why in the world is this such a "no guarantees" procedure in mares? That is terribly frustrating. I just want to spay the mare and be done with it!
Ok, I hate to step in as I know this will be a touchy subject. LOL I had a mare who was eternally in heat years ago, and the vet suggested breeding her. We really didn't want a foal from her, but the mare was an awesome performance mare, and I wanted badly to keep her. So, she took a year off to be bred, and it actually worked. She was a true B*%CH while she had a foal at her side...but when the foal was gone, she was a very nice mare again with no endless heat. I have no idea why it worked, but it did. It's a thought.
The most likely explanation is indeed a submissive behaviour. If that is the case, although the use of progestins might help, they also might not. All I can say is that it might be worth a try - but it will be expensive. If you decide to try progestins, you might want to consider the use of BET Pharm's biorelease progesterone or altrenogest formulations, which are time-release and only require treatment once every 10 or 30 days depending upon which product is being used. they are also injectable so are less messy than Regumate, consequently posing less risk of accidental exposure to the human administering them.
It may be worth having her checked by your veterinarian, as there is an outside possibility that she has a uterine infection that is causing a rapid return to estrus; or possibly even an ovarian tumour. These are however less likely than the behavioural cause. I would recommend such a check prior to commencing progestin therapy though, as if there were a uterine infection present and she was given a progestin, it wold be most likely to make it worse.
Progestins (including Regumate) are used to suppress estrus display (although as noted above may not be successful in all behavioural response cases). When treatment is ended, typically 3-5 days later a mare will enter estrus. It is the cessation of treatment that causes onset of estrus, not the treatment itself.
Breeding a mare may or may not have a positive effect. There's absolutely no way of knowing, so unless the mare is a good quality mare that should be reproduced, you may want to think long and hard about production of another dubious quality animal to add to the over-abundance currently available (Diana's point, I'm sure).
Mares do not get "cystic ovaries". That's a cattle problem, and some bovine vets are not aware that the condition does not translate to the equine.
Removal of the ovaries will almost certainly make the condition worse! The ovaries produce the hormone progesterone, which is responsible for suppression of estrus. If you remove the ovaries, you will have no suppressive hormone and given the current behaviour, the mare is likely to be in persistent estrus as a result. One point worthy of consideration is that right now in winter, the mare's reproductive system may be shut down and she may not be cycling. This means that she is not ovulating (mares are seasonal breeders) and consequently her ovaries are not producing progesterone. Hence it is more likely that she will present a submissive estrus response now than when she starts cycling and her ovaries (after ovulation) are producing progesterone, which will cause resistant behaviour to the stallion. It may therefore be that in a few months time your frustrations will end (until next winter!).
The cheapest and easiest solution to your problem though is to not look out of your kitchen window!
Very interesting information, thank you!!! I appreciate the time you both took to respond. :-)
I was told by 2 different vets that they have seen very large cysts on ovaries - would they have meant tumors, and not cysts perhaps?
She did have a physical exam complete with ultrasound and was not found to have any infection or other notable problems. Of course that was in October so it would definitely need to be repeated before commencing hormone therapy, if that's the chosen route.
I admit to sometimes just not looking out the window so I don't have to see it. LOL. Only problem is that her tail is generally wet and gross, her hind legs get covered in frozen urine, blanket straps wet and gross, and her hiney is always dirty. That's not good from a health or grooming standpoint.
I wonder if there are behavior modification techniques available? When I'm out there and I see her doing it I yell at her to "quit it!" and she drops her tail and walks off to eat in a hay pile. So she has learned she's not supposed to be doing it when I'm around, but there has to be a better training technique than hollering at her.
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