Ask Horse Journal: 10/04

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Cosequin Or Cheaper'
I am a recent, and very satisfied, subscriber to your magazine. It’s wonderfully informative and very useful. I have a question about an article in the 2004 Buying Guide for new subscribers. You don’t mention Cosequin which is often described as the “gold standard” of the glucosamine products due to its extensive testing. I’ve used Cosequin for several years and found it to be effective on my mildly arthritic 17-year-old Appaloosa. He has recently suffered a flare-up in his right stifle, and while it now seems to be subsiding, I am interested in adding HA to his current supplements. Since all these products are expensive, should I take him off the Cosequin and put him on a less expensive chondroitin/glucosamine product'

As a general rule, once you have a product that works well for your horse it may not be a good idea to change.??Cosequin is excellent, and the manufacturer deserves credit for investing in actual studies and trailblazing in the field of joint supplements. On the other hand, other products work well, too, and cost can get to be an issue for most of us.

Before considering a change, speak with your veterinarian about what might have caused the recent stifle problem and whether joint nutraceuticals are likely to help.??If the problem doesn’t involve arthritis and the joint cartilage per se, adding HA isn’t likely to help.??Pain from soft tissue/ligamentous strain or damage is a fairly common cause of stifle pain.

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Swollen Udder
The left side of my mare’s udder keeps swelling, as if it is “stocking up.” I initially assumed it must be from a bug bite, but after a week or so when it hadn’t gone away, I called the veterinarian, who agreed it was probably a bug bite reaction.??Now it’s been over three weeks. What’s happening is the left side of her udder is swollen every day (occasionally the right side also). It swells more in the heat and humidity, and then the swelling goes down after exercise.?? The next day it is back again.?? In the cool weather it is not as swollen and in the hot weather it is quite swollen.??Have you ever heard of this' She’s 22 and has a history of tail itching and bug sensitivity.

Hot weather worsens swelling regardless of cause, so it’s no surprise you see this worsen in the heat and shrink some when it’s cool. With her history of tail itching there’s a possibility this is indeed bug-sensitivity related.?? The same tiny biting flies that can cause allergic midline dermatitis may result in udder or sheath swelling, too.?? In addition, mares can get a buildup of greasy material in the udder area and inner thigh.??It’s similar to smegma in sheaths.??If that’s the case, cleaning with a tea-tree-oil-based sheath cleaner may do the trick.??

There’s also a possibility of mastitis.??If you can milk any material out of her udder, look at it against a black background to see if there are any clumps.?? If so, have your veterinarian check her.??

Finally, at 22 she’s getting to be high risk for a pituitary tumor (Cushing’s disease).?? Mammary enlargement may be the first sign of this in mares, usually accompanied by changes in their cycling.?? If no other causes are found, we suggest you keep a close check on her for Cushing’s disease by periodic ACTH testing.