What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Sores on Udder or Teats of Lactating Mare


Nursing mares occasionally develop sores on their teats. This is often a consequence of physical trauma, windburn or sunburn but it can also be seen in some viral conditions, most notably Vesicular Stomatitis. In some cases, sores can be painful enough to cause a mare to not allow a foal to nurse. This can quickly develop into a serious veterinary emergency for the foal.

Assess your mare's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE). Assess the mare's mouth (wear gloves), looking for ulcers inside the mouth. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

Your vet may suggest that you apply an udder balm to soothe the irritated skin, however this may interfere with nursing. If there is any concern about the foal, your vet may want to examine it too.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If the foal is only days old and the sores are serious enough that the mare is not allowing the foal to nurse.
  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If you think that the mare could have vesicular stomatitis.
    • If the sores are worsening or the mare is not allowing the foal to nurse.

your role


What To Do

your vet's role

Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • Is the foal active and nursing?
  • Does the mare's attitude and appetite seem normal?
  • How old is the foal?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • Can you send a photo of the problem?
  • Does the mare seem to be in pain?
  • How is the foal's appetite and attitude?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP