Category Archives: Medical

TIME TO CLEAN UDDERS, SHEATHS … dirty job but somebody has to do it!

Winter is coming to a close and quite possibly, your mare has collected some mud in her udder. She might be rubbing at her tail dock…

Now… there are several reasons why a horse could rub at their tail dock.  Click here if you’d like to look into that further.

But one sure fire reason that they rub at their tail docks is due to itchy udders and sheaths.  Those areas are almost impossible for a horse to reach on his own, so he/she does the best they can by rubbing the tail dock.


This is a pic of MT's tail from long ago - telling me that I have neglected my udder cleaning duty.

This is a pic of MT’s tail  (from long ago) – telling me that I have neglected my udder cleaning duty.


A while back, I found myself using every kind of sweet itch formula, dandruff formula, wormer, lice spotter… you name it, I was trying it – in an effort to figure out why my mares were rubbing out their tails.

Back then, my Old Tymey vet told me to “clean the udders”.

??  Wha?  Udders?  Why?

He told me that mares get gunk and perspiration up between their udders – especially in the Summer when they are playing outside and it is hot and dusty.


So, I checked up in there (be careful if you have a maiden mare or if you mare is not familiar with you checking her udders), and sure enough, MT was full of cakey-gunky black stuff between her udders.

As soon as I cleaned it out, she quit rubbing.

Easy fix.




Cleaning an udder isn’t as easy as it may sound.  It depends, really.  On a mare who is familiar with having her udders handled, it is easy.

On a maiden mare, not so much…  So, be gentle, easy and careful.  I’m not a horse trainer but I do know to for sure keep your body out of the kicking range – and go very slowly and gently.  No tickling.

As far as a gelding and his sheath, same deal.  That area can get full of ‘beans’ which are crusty pellets that sit in there, becoming huge and are irritating.  You might see your gelding kick at his stomach when there are no flies… or even when there are flies… so do have his sheath cleaned regularly.

I don’t personally clean any of my geldings’ sheaths now that Aladdin has passed.  He let me do it but he was the only one.  The rest are not comfortable with it so… whenever I have their teeth done, I have the vet also do their sheaths.

*Many trainers teach a baby colt to ‘drop’ for cleaning.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.01.22 AM

This is not me smiling happily under a gelding while sheath cleaning. I found this pic from a sheath cleaning clinic Google search.


Previous to today,  I used only warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth to clean udders.  This was fine; until I found something much better!

Today, I tried Equi-Spa Udder/Sheath cleaner.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  Why not use something you already have around the house.  Why buy a specialty item?  Yup.  That’s what I thought, too.

The reason why is because it works  so. much. better.  Totally a breeze.  Liquidates and soothes.

I brought out my bucket of warm water, my soft cloth and my Equi-Spa udder cleaner.   (They also make THE BALM that I love!)  Anyway, I was all prepared to not notice any difference between homemade cleaners and this Equi-Spa Sheath and Udder Cleaner. I dunked my cloth in the warm water and squeezed out the excess (hate it when water runs down my arm) and squirted on the cleaner.  The fragrance was clean and flowery.

I started with Tess because she is the easiest.  And, a strange thing happened.  It glided!  I don’t know how to otherwise describe it, but the cloth glided so smoothly against her udders that I thought I was using oil.  And, the yuk broke up so quickly and smoothly that it made me realize my usual homemade formula wasn’t so good…  I swear it made the whole area shiny and squeaky-clean in a matter of moments!  (The bottle says to leave it on for 10-15 mins for hardened debris – but I think that is more for sheaths.  Dunno.  It came right off for me.)

And, the best part, I didn’t have to worry about rinsing the cleaner off.  What I mean to say is that you need to rinse to get rid of the yuk up there, but you don’t have to make sure all the cleaner is gone.  With soap, you do.  I used to get her legs wet, my pants wet, my arms soaked as I rinsed the beejeezus out of that area to make sure her skin wouldn’t be irritated.  But this stuff is E-A-S-Y.

This is my hand holding my Udder (and sheath) Cleaner.


OMGosh!  The bottle says to “Reapply as needed to protect and moisturize the area”.  Wow.

So, I’m sold.


I emailed Equi-Spa and asked what ingredients made this cleaner work so well.  Here is the reply:

The Udder cleaner is based in  vegetable glycerin and organic Aloe vera gel.  The glycerin is slick, hydrophilic and helps soften and loosen smegma…easy rinse and pulls the dissolving “dirt and debris” with it.  It also contains a small amount of witch hazel along with the Aloe is very very soothing and helps leave a healthy “environment” .  Horses like it because it feels soothing and yes a bit cooling to them from the Aloe.   The cool smell is Tea Tree…there is no camphor or menthol to make it feel “icy” to the horse.  It is very clinical smelling.  There is also other essential oils that are beneficial for discouraging yeast and bacteria growth  but are in very small amounts as to not cause any irritation…in fact just the opposite.  I also use it to detangle tails, (it dries fluffy)  great for cleaning out dogs ears, and for applying over scratches to soften the scabs and accelerates the healing process.

IF YOU WANT SOME, TOO (no affiliation)

If you would like some EquiSpa Sheath and Udder Cleaner, here is the link.  It is only $17 and it goes a long way.



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Does your horse have VALLEY FEVER? It is rare, but growing in the West… check out the symptoms.

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 | Filed under Medical

I’m so sorry that I have been MIA since Saturday… this is the first time in 8 years that I’ve missed posting due to illness.  Usually, I can power through whatever is ailing me… But, this time, no.

I’ve yet to be formally diagnosed because the labwork has not been revealed to me.  But, the docs think I have VALLEY FEVER.

Immediately, they took a chest Xray which ruled out pneumonia.  But, the actual diagnosis comes from a fungus culture, so they tell me, and that is growing.  They think this is what I have… and luckily, it isn’t too bad.


I feel horrible.

However, it could be worse…  People die from this, and I’m not dying.  So, there’s that.  And, once I get the official diagnosis, I get the anti-fungals and I’ll be fine.

But what about your dog, cat or horse?  Do they contract Valley Fever, too?

Yes.  They do.

For me, the symptoms are:  Horrible chest pain like I was having an heart attack, then dry cough, chest pain, headache, joint aches, lethargy, weird taste/smell coming from my lungs, no sense of taste (so horse may be off feed).

…I’m guessing it is about the same in any animal.

This is a photo I found on the internet. It does not depict a horse with Valley Fever. It does show a horse in Arizona, where Valley Fever happens.


Original article here.

click image to go to original article






CLICK IMAGE to go to original article

Click here to go to original article.

Valley Fever in Other Animals

Valley Fever can affect many other animals besides dogs and cats.

Most mammals can be shown to be infected with the fungus, even if they do not get sick from it very often.

Valley Fever can be what is considered an “incidental finding” after death:

the organisms are present but are not causing any illness in the animal. This is very typical of cows and other ruminant livestock. Occasionally, an animal may become sick and die from the illness but it is very rare.

Species in which Valley Fever has been found:

  • cattle and other livestock
  • horses
  • llamas and alpacas
  • apes and monkeys
  • many kinds of zoo animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, tigers, bears, badgers, otters, etc.
  • marine mammals – sea otters, dolphins, and California sea lions on the west coast
  • occasional wildlife that lives in the endemic area – skunk, cougar, javelina


Infections are uncommon in horses but if they manifest the disease, it is usually severe or disseminated at the time of discovery. Of the 20 or so cases reported in the literature prior to 1990, all were euthanized. Since the advent of itraconazole and fluconazole, successful treatment of horses has been reported. This is likely dependent on awareness, early diagnosis, and the decrease in cost of medication, particularly fluconazole. Horses in the literature treated with ketoconazole all died despite the medication.

Llamas & Alpacas

Llamas and alpacas appear to be exquisitely sensitive to Valley Fever. They develop severe and fulminant disease. Death is a common outcome. No information on treatment of llamas and alpacas is published in the major veterinary literature at this time. However, this author is aware that some southern Arizona veterinarians have had success treating these species with ketoconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole.

We are currently surveying alpaca owners, for more information please click here.

Apes & Monkeys

Apes, monkeys, and all other smaller primates are very susceptible to Valley Fever. Many of the animals in the Phoenix, Tucson, and San Diego zoos, as well as primates in centers and refuges that exist in the endemic area, are being treated long term for Valley Fever, and the zoos lost many of these creatures before treatments for Valley Fever were developed. Treatments are the same as for dogs and people.

Other Zoo Animals

Other zoo animals, most of which are exotic to this part of the country, are variably susceptible to the disease. The zoos are very aware of this disease and often get early testing of animals that are not feeling well. The animals can then be medicated.

Marine mammals

Unusual cases crop up periodically in marine mammals such as sea otters and dolphins, suggesting the spores can be blown out over the water where these animals inhale them and become sick. An occasional case is also found in wild native animals. Likely, these animals have become debilitated in some way, making them susceptible to the disease. The infection is discovered after the animal has died or been euthanized for poor condition.


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