Gelding acting like a mare?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Mackenzie M, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Mackenzie M

    Mackenzie M Senior Member

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    Yes, you read the title correctly. To start off, I have already spoke with my vet and we will be trying a few different things and pulling blood in a few weeks. My vet has never heard of this problem, so I thought I'd post here to see if I can get any other ideas. I will attempt to keep this as short as possible....

    I have a 27yr old NSH whom I have owned for 12 years now. He has always been pastured with mares, geldings, foals, and has been around stallions as well. I noticed a slight bit of the behavior this fall, but very briefly. Enough to puzzle me, but I never saw it again so quickly forgot it.
    My gelding lives in a pasture with a 20yr TB gelding, 9 month intact colt, and 7 month filly. This field shares a fence line with my 13yr old Stallion, coming 3yr intact colt, and 6yr gelding. For the past week the hotline has been loose or down between the pastures. I put it back up but have not been able to figure out who is doing it, until today....

    I find my 27yr old gelding teasing my 3yr colt. Yes, teasing. He is backed up to the fence, bent at the hocks squatting (just like a mare breaking down in heat), tail lifted and off to the side, and peeing. Peeing everywhere! Not a normal stream, bursts of urine like a mare in heat. I go into the pasture and chase the gelding away (colt is leaning on the fence, hanging out, and clearly wanting to mount the gelding), for him to only come running back to the fence every time. Backing up to the line and nuzzling/nipping my colt.

    This gelding has always loved his mares and been very protective of them and their foals, unless I have a more dominant gelding in the field. I have noticed little signs from him the past year that make me wonder if he may have a bit of dementia. He has a thyroid goiter and is on Iodine for it (Thyro-L makes him colic off and on, no clue why). Otherwise no health issues.
    I found him down this wed and he wouldn't eat. I checked him over and he had an incisor that was split and infected, it was extracted the next day (thursday). He was given a shot of antibiotics and I have SMZs to give him for 10 days.

    My vet wants to up the dose of Iodine for 3 weeks to see if we can kick start his thyroid (thinking its throwing off hormones). Last time levels were checked, they were normal. If the behavior does not change, we will pull blood to check progesterone/testosterone levels. We will check for cushings as well. Aside from this, we are thinking some kind of tumor. The gelding has been removed from the pasture and put back with his mares for the time being.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Well, it's different. That's for sure. I'd defer to your vet as he's got the problems that are likely interfering with his hormones. Sorry, that's a new one for me too.
     
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  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    First, Get the INTACT COLT and the filly SEPARATED, ASAP~!!

    The behavior is all the thyroid. That makes them act all stupid because their hormones are TOTALLY out of whack. Get the thyroid issue solved, if possible, the behavior goes away and PLEASE get that filly preg checked and Luted if necessary. You can't say a 9mth old colt won't impregnate a filly. I have seen it happen. You don't want her getting pregnant. She should have been separated from stud colts at 4 mths old.
     
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  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Congratulations, as they say, you have a pregnant 7 month old filly(Well, congrats really aren't in order, it's a problem. It's not good for a 7 month old filly to be pregnant - I'd get her out of that turnout and have her pregnancy tested and have the pregnancy terminated if she's pregnant.).

    Some male-male....behavior.... is common in horses, especially in an intense situation like you have with a number of stallions and colts in a small area challenging a fence line. It's also not unusual, when a new male is introduced into a herd, to see some...ah...behavior.

    But exactly what you describe, peeing, squatting, showing, is, well, a little out of the ordinary. I think vets usually try thyroid hormone supplementation when this happens. The gelding might be an intersex, but if he's never done this before, some change in his health is a more likely cause.

    I'm not sure that it's always due to thyroid simply not working, though. There may be a tumor or some other abnormality in the thyroid gland.

    Tumors elsewhere in the body can secrete substances that 'fool' the body and cause female-like reproductive behavior in a male (or male-like reproductive behavior in a female).

    Males always have some amount of 'female' hormones along with their 'male' hormones. But a tumor can 'unbalance' that delicate balance. A tumor, mass or cancer can secrete male hormones, female hormones, or even both at once. Some even secrete substances similar to hormones and trick the body into reacting.

    But I do know that adrenal gland tumors that would secrete only 'female hormones' (androgens) are rare in horses.

    And that if he's gelded, an undescended testicle that has a tumor in it (that is secreting substances that are causing femininization) would be pretty unlikely.

     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  5. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    He is marking territory similar to a male dog.
     
  6. FraggleRock

    FraggleRock Full Member

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    Yeah I'd be a lot more concerned about the filly /colt in together, and the stallion sharing a fence line with the filly....
     
  7. Mackenzie M

    Mackenzie M Senior Member

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    I've spoken at length with my vet about my filly and colt being together (she knows my horses very well and my situation). We had an unforeseen issue with pasture space a few months ago so we decided to put the filly in this field for a sort time. We will have things remedied shortly and she will be moved to a new pasture in a month. The colt has not dropped yet and shows no interest in her, neither do the other stallions.

    As for the older gelding I am having issues with. He was gelded as a yearling/2yr old I believe. He will be 28yrs in may and I have never seen this behavior from him. I am leaning towards his thyroid causing this behavior, or a tumor :( My vet has already recommended an adjustment in his thyroid meds, so fingers crossed that helps. We'll be pulling blood after 3 weeks of the iodine increase
     

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