How can I diagnose a mare with Vaginitis?

Mares, like any other living creature, are susceptible to a range of health issues, some of which can be intricate to pinpoint and address. One such condition that often presents a diagnostic conundrum is vaginitis. Diagnosing vaginitis in mares isn’t just about identifying an inflammation or infection; it’s about understanding the myriad of factors that could contribute to the ailment. While the challenge of diagnosing vaginitis in mares can be intricate, modern veterinary medicine has presented us with solutions that are more straightforward than one might expect.

Cracking the Code: Diagnosing Vaginitis in Mares

Diagnosing vaginitis in mares can be a perplexing task due to its various manifestations and potential misinterpretation as other issues. Vaginitis is a common condition that is often overlooked until all other musculoskeletal problems have been ruled out. However, routine evaluation of the vagina is essential in identifying this condition and finding effective treatment options.

Identifying Vaginitis: Observable Signs and Symptoms

Observable signs of vaginitis include a redder than normal vaginal lining, distinct raw areas, frequent urination, and winking. In addition to these signs, mares with vaginitis may also exhibit elevated hind leg motion, a humped appearance, or poor performance. These symptoms can easily be misinterpreted as musculoskeletal issues, which is why it’s important for veterinarians to consider vaginitis as a potential cause.

Eliminating the Infection: Antibiotics and Vaginal Sample Analysis

To effectively treat vaginitis, it is crucial to eliminate the infection. This can be achieved by administering a suitable antibiotic. However, it’s important to note that not all antibiotics are effective against the various bacterial strains that can cause vaginitis in mares. Therefore, conducting a vaginal sample analysis is necessary to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection and determine the most effective antibiotic treatment.

Preventing Reoccurrence: Caslick’s Operation

In addition to antibiotic treatment, performing a Caslick’s operation is often recommended to prevent the reoccurrence of vaginitis. This simple surgical procedure involves suturing the vagina with a small opening for urination. By closing off the lower part of the vagina, the risk of contamination and subsequent infection is significantly reduced. This is especially important for racing or performing fillies and mares, as vaginitis can lead to lost race time and hinder performance.

The Importance of Proactive Measures

Considering the prevalence of vaginitis in mares, it is important for horse owners and trainers to proactively implement preventive measures. Regular evaluation of the vagina should be included in routine veterinary examinations, especially for performance horses. By identifying and treating vaginitis early on, the risk of prolonged infections and subsequent complications can be minimized.

Educating Horse Owners and Trainers

Educating horse owners and trainers about the signs, symptoms, and importance of vaginitis awareness is crucial for early detection and treatment. Providing information on the routine evaluation of the vagina and the benefits of Caslick’s operation can help reduce the occurrence of vaginitis in mares. By raising awareness, the equine industry can work towards ensuring the overall well-being and performance of mares.


Diagnosing and treating vaginitis in mares may be challenging, but with the right approach, it can be effectively managed. Routine evaluation of the vagina, identification of specific bacteria through sample analysis, appropriate antibiotic treatment, and the use of preventive measures such as Caslick’s operation can significantly reduce the impact of vaginitis on mares’ health and performance. By prioritizing vaginal health in routine veterinary care and educating horse owners and trainers, the equine industry can better manage this common condition.


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