HomeExpert AdviceArticleMoody mare or hidden hormonal problem?

Moody mare or hidden hormonal problem?

Posted in Health and Veterinary

Is your mare moody? In some circumstances their behaviour is extreme and can be caused by a medical problem in the mare’s reproductive system. Vet Kerrie Winstanley explains why some mares are more affected than others and how to spot who’s just feeling grumpy

Hormonal problems are fairly common in mares, but they are not particularly well understood. All mares are different and some will only show hormonal symptoms when in season, while others will be moody all year round. Hormonal mares can show many different signs depending on the extent of the problem, including…

• aggressive or grumpy behaviour
• resenting being groomed and tacked up
• oversensitive about being touched
• squealing
• biting
• kicking
• poor performance
• low-grade colic
• repeated urination
• running milk

Hormonal problems show similar symptoms to many other medical conditions, including low-grade lameness, dental pain, back pain or gastric ulcers. And sometimes the signs seen are psychological and caused by a behavioural issue. It can be useful to write a diary of your mare’s behaviour and look for patterns to determine whether her behaviour is linked to her reproductive cycle. It is likely that your mare has a hormonal problem if…

• signs only occur between spring and autumn
• her behavioural changes are on a three-weekly cycle
• her seasons are not regular

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