ISSN 2398-2977      

Mammary gland: mastitis

pequis

Introduction

  • Mastitis is relatively rare in mares; most prevalent during lactation.
  • Cause: bacterial; Streptococcus spp most commonly isolated.
  • Signs: mammary swelling, local heat and pain, ventral edema, hindlimb lameness, pyrexia.
  • Diagnosis: cytology and microbiology of milk samples.
  • Treatment: frequent milking, hot packs or hydrotherapy, systemic and/or local antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General
  • Lactation.
  • Recent weaning of foal.
  • Death of suckling foal.
  • Non-lactating mare.
  • Trauma to teat(s) or udder.
  • Insect feeding.

Pathophysiology

  • Lactating mares probably infected via the teat canal.
  • Non-lactating mares infected via teat orifice secondary to trauma or insect feeding.
  • Neonatal cases are also infrequently encountered.
  • Infection may occur in lactating or non-lactating mares.
  • Infection after weaning or death of foal may be due to accumulation of milk in udder.
  • Trauma or biting insects may allow entry of infectious organisms.
  • Chronic mastitis may persist in non-lactating mares   →   develop into clinical mastitis when lactation resumes.
  • Low incidence of mastitis in mares ascribed to:
    • Small size and concealed position of udder.
    • Frequent emptying of udder.
    • Rarely milked by hand or machine   →   reduced trauma.
    • Endocrine environment or local immunity may provide resistance to infection.

Timecourse

  • Usually acute onset.
  • Chronic, mild or subclinical cases also occur.

Epidemiology

  • Occurs in lactating and non-lactating mares.
  • Low incidence of mastitis compared with other species.
  • An insect vector has been suggested.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • McGladdery A J (1998) Differential diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the equine mammary gland. Equine Vet Educ 10 (5), 266-268 VetMedResource.
  • Perkins N R & Threlfall W R (1993) Mastitis in the mare. Equine Vet Educ (4), 192-195 VetMedResource.
  • Walker R L et al (1993) Coccidioides immitis mastitis in mares. J Vet Diagn Invest (3), 446-448 PubMed.
  • McCue P M & Wilson W D (1989) Equine mastitis - a review of 28 cases. Equine Vet J 21 (5), 351-353 PubMed.
  • Jackson P G G C (1986) Equine mastitis - comparative lesions. Equine Vet J 18 (2), 88-89 PubMed.
  • Roberts M C (1986) Pseudomonas aeruginosa mastitis in a dry non-pregnant pony mare. Equine Vet J 18 (2), 146-147 PubMed.

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