Friday, June 4, 2010

Limerick: Research Subject

Well, it looks like there's a part two to Limerick's pseudopregnancy story.

The year began uneventful--she started her heat cycles in March and they continued somewhat regularly until late April. But that's pretty much where they ended. After that point she did not display any obvious heat symptoms. I didn't think much of it until I noticed her udder in early May.

The reproductive vet told me last year that her teats would never go back to normal again; that I was to expect them to remain larger than normal. Okey dokey. And true to his word, her udder dwindled down to nothing while the teats themselves remained kind of puffy looking.

But in early May, the udder began to bag up again and her teats slowly grew back to the sizes of last summer. Familiar with the routine, I decided to wait and see what happened. And nothing did for a while. She did not have any heat cycles. She was pleasant to ride (most of the time! She did have some silly moments, but nothing related to going into heat). Then this past Saturday, May 30th, I took her down to graze on some grass. Within a moment of arriving I noticed something falling from her udder area. I looked and saw milky white droplets dripping rapidly from each teat. Witch's milk!

The dripping slowed after a few seconds until a single drop hung from each teat. When I got home, I emailed the reproductive vet because I knew he would be very interested in this. And indeed he was--he wanted to see her as soon as possible. We set up an appointment for noon on Tuesday.

(I love seeing Limerick in the middle of the work day!)

When she saw him, her eyes went wide. That's the guy that always puts his arm up my butt!

He performed the usual ultrasound and rectal exam (everything pointed towards another pseudopregnancy) and this time drew blood for a hormone test and after 20 minutes of dodging flying hooves, he managed to get a sample from her udder.

All of this is for the vet's personal research. He is now drawing blood from her twice a week to see if there is a pattern in the hormones. We'll see what happens....Limerick may be a medical oddity, and a research subject, but she's still my baby.

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