Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

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Her Milk Won't Dry Up
Q Eight years ago my 23-year old mare had a foal and her milk has never completely dried up. This has baffled my vet but he has always told me not to worry about it. Recently she has been treated for mastitis.

My worry is that, if her milk won't dry up, she will get mastitis again. Is there anything I can do or give her to help stop her milk?

A. It sounds like a difficult problem and one that is probably related to a hormonal imbalance of some kind. I suggest you discuss with your vet the possibility of giving your mare treatment to stimulate hormone production.

This might involve the use of progestogens or prostoglandins. Alternatively, there are some herbal formulas that can either stimulate the production of oestrogen or progesterone. You might consider phoning some herbal companies to discover the possibilities.

Another alternative is to try to use a product to increase water loss from the body (a diuretic) while at the same time not giving her quite as much to drink. This will have the effect of discouraging her from producing milk and might work in conjunction with some form of hormonal therapy. Nettle leaves are a good diuretic and could be used as a safe means of encouraging water loss.

If your question has not been covered adequately in the Vet Advice Topic Section, please feel free to start a thread in the Forum, and - time permitting - Stephen will endeavour to answer your question.