Mastitis Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What are Mastitis?

Mastitis is considered to be one of the most expensive diseases of large animals and can be fatal in certain cases. It is much more common in cattle than in horses, but lactating mares are still at risk for this painful condition. Not only is it painful for the mare, it can be dangerous for her foal as well. She will not be likely to let her foal nurse when she is in that much pain and the milk may not be as appetizing as well, leading to malnutrition. If your mare is acting as if her udder is painful or if you can see that it is visibly swollen, you need to take her to see an equine veterinarian. If you do not get sufficient treatment right away, abscesses or induration of the gland may occur.

Mastitis in horses is the inflammation of the mammary glands. Most often, this disorder affects mares within one or two months of giving birth but it can affect any mare of any age. If your mare’s udder is swollen sooner than six weeks before giving birth, you should call the veterinarian because it could be a sign that your mare is having an abortion. If your mare is lactating and her udder is swollen, the foal may not be nursing or there could be an infection or injury.

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Symptoms of Mastitis in Horses

The most common symptoms that are usually noticed first are a swollen and hot udder and standing or walking abnormally. She may also not let her foal feed and may just seem generally unwell. Other common signs of mastitis are:

  • Painful and swollen udder
  • High body temperature
  • Depression
  • Walking stiff
  • Standing with legs apart
  • May kick foal away when trying to nurse
  • Milk changes consistency (lumpy or watery)
  • Abscesses
  • Death (rare)


While there may be many types of bacteria and fungi that cause the infection, the most common are:

  • Aspergillus spp.
  • Coccidioides immitis
  • Gram negative bacteria
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Streptococcus equi
  • Streptococcus equisimilis
  • Streptococcus viridans
  • Streptococcus zooepidemicus

Causes of Mastitis in Horses

Bacteria or fungi may be the cause, but it is important to know the cause of transmission. Some of the most commonly reported ways to transmit mastitis are:

  • Injury to udder that breaks the skin and causes infection
  • Insect bites
  • Dirty bedding material

Diagnosis of Mastitis in Horses

The veterinarian will not have any trouble diagnosing your horse if she has mastitis, although a thorough checkup is necessary to determine the cause of the mastitis. It is most often bacterial, but there are other causes such as fungi or parasites, so the veterinarian will start by getting your mare’s history. This includes medical and shot records, description of the symptoms, and when she last gave birth. Be sure to mention if there were any complications during birth and whether she is on any kind of medication.

A physical examination is done next, including height, weight, body condition code, palpation of abdomen, breath sounds, heart rate, respirations, body temperature, blood pressure, and reflexes. The veterinarian will also have you walk and trot your horse to see if she has any lameness and to watch how the muscles and joints function in motion. In addition, the veterinarian will be assessing your horse’s attitude, stature, conformation, and behavior.

Laboratory tests include a complete blood count (CBC), urine and fecal examination and culture, biochemistry panel, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), packed cell volume (PCV), and glucose level. The veterinarian will be looking for elevated neutrophils, leukopenia, and white cell count. The veterinarian will also get a sample of the fluid from your horse’s mammary gland to see if there are signs of inflammation, bacterial, and fungal culture. The samples must be taken from each teat, and care should be taken to maintain sterilization. The samples will be tested for cytological examination as well because the cultures often come back negative even when your horse has mastitis. Imaging with an ultrasound and x-rays of the mammary glands to help identify abscesses.

Treatment of Mastitis in Horses

Treatment for mastitis may be medication, therapy, or both. Therapy is most important to clear the infected tissue and milk that need to be removed. It usually includes hand milking your mare frequently to remove fluid and bacteria. Some of the other treatments are:


Some of the medications that may be used are trimethoprim-sulfonamide, combination of penicillin and gentamicin sulfate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication for pain and inflammation, and there is a prepared mastitis treatment (marketed for cows) that can be injected into the infected mammary glands.


Therapy includes frequent hand milking and hot packs alternated with cold packs to reduce pain and swelling. Hydrotherapy is also a good form of treatment.

Recovery of Mastitis in Horses

Prognosis is excellent if you get treatment from an equine veterinarian. One complication is a relapse, which happens in about 15% of horses. With proper treatment, your horse should be back to normal within 2-3 weeks.

Mastitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

23 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Yellow sticky on teats, itchy
Yellow sticky on teats itchy

A coupe of years ago my 21 (now 23) year old mare who has never foaled before, had a sticky yellow type sap on her teats which was incredibly itchy for her.
I obviously called the vet, as my first though was maybe mastitis, but after several injections, antibiotics, creams a month later (and a lot of money) things didn't really improve.

It happened again last spring/summer and usually when gets hot and after shes having a big season.

I simply kept it clean, used canasten and an itch free cream i found online which did really help.

Last couple of days it has returned.

Is she lactating/ having phantom pregnancies?
And the flies are causing more irritation to the area?

Its not hot, one teat will swell, and is itchy.
She absolutely loves me touching and itching it, cleaning it etc.

I would love to get the vet out again (different vets) and explore further..... but I'm not sure where they would start.
If hormonal or an underlying issue.
Or some kind of skin/ sweet itch?

Diamond -
I’ve had the exact same thing with my mare, she’s a similar age. Vet is now treating her for mastitis with penicillin. Good to know she’s now the only one, hoping this course will help clear it up.
Is it a yearly thing for your mare now out of interest?

She is super itchy and has also had other treatments from vet over the course of the last month for it - these include danilon, other antibiotics and piriton - all with no real joy. Would love to know what works for your mare, any advice appreciated.

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Welsh Cob
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fever, sore feet

My mare is seven years old and a maiden she has had mastitis for eight days so far has had antibiotics anti inflammatory and pain relief we are milking about six times a day . She is showing signs of laminitis feet very sore and reluctant to walk . She's had fever on and of have hosed her at these times.
The milk just keeps coming was very thick like semolina but now just watery milk

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8 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


We have a maiden mare that foaled and did not have milk letdown, or very minimum. She did have colostrum and the foal was able to nurse what she had. After waiting to see if the foal reflexes helped with letdown, which was negative, I administered 2cc of oxytocin. Approx. 12 hours later the mare seemed to have mastitis dorsal the mammary gland. It seems that the glad has some milk and the hardness is restricting the filling of the gland on both sides.
I was thinking that massaging only one side at a time to see if this would bring it down into the mammary glad and milk it out,then proceed to the other side to repeat would be beneficial so the foal could still nurse the good milk.
Questions being: what antibiotic should I admin. and does this massage/ milking procedure seem to be the effective route?


Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Without examining Mercedes, I'm not legally able to advise you on antibiotic therapy, unfortunately. Without seeing her, I can't determine if massaging the gland will help, or should be avoided, as different situations call for different therapies. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause of what is happening and get recommendations for appropriate therapy. I hope that all goes well for her.

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28 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

one swollen teet
walks out slow in am
urine in stall decreesing
clear drippy discharge from teet

I'm leasing a 28yr old mare that developed a painful swollen teet w/ milky discharge a year ago and was treated with antibiotics that didn't make a difference. We were told to milk her and after a week blood came out. I then called a holistic vet and she said it was a tumor. The mare was put on a chinese stacis blocker called tan yu tang. At $100 a month with moderate relief in the beginning we couldn't afford treatment. Not sure what to ask a vet in regards to what it would cost for an estimate to treat her now, again since it never went away the first time? Any bloodwork that I should request? I just want her to be pain free in her last senior years.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Mercedes may benefit from an actual biopsy, although I am not sure, as i cannot examine her. if it is cancer, there may be few options for treatment, and she may need pain medications or antibiotics to keep the mass from becoming infected. your veteirnarian will be able to give you a better idea as to treatment options once they have seen her, and a visit with your veteirnarian would be the best thing to do at this point.

Thank you.

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25 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Discharge from teat skin.
Discharge from teat skin. Itchy teats

She is on flamazine cream and liquid antibiotics for 10 days with mild improvement.she has never had a foal but I think she has had an infection in her mammoth glands for years..only recently have managed to convince vets to swab the area and 3 infections confirmed. 2 of which are resilliant to penicillin.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
If Treacle is improving, that is positive. If she has had a low level, resistant infection for years, it may take time to resolve. I hope that she does well.

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Irish cob
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Sore teats and excessive urination

My mare has pink teats and the flys go crazy for them so I am covering them in fly spray everyday, when I touch them she gets very upset which is unlike her, she is also urinating a lot too. She has not had a foal, is it possible for a mare to have mastitis without having a foal ? I wonder if a infection has got in due to the flys and constant products I am putting on. She recently finished a course of antibiotics as I thought she may have a urine infection due to the constant urination but nothing has changed since finishing the course.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Mastitis may occur in a non-lactating mare, but it is uncommon; you should really get your Veterinarian out to take a look to confirm and prescribe treatment as I cannot recommend the use of antibiotics without an examination first. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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