My horse did not drink well when he had ulcers. 2 days into the ulcerguard and he was guzzling water. He ended up with an impaction and spent 4 days at horsepital before the ulcerguard though. If you suspect that is the reason for not drinking get it treated quick. My guy was prone to colicking. He had two bouts of enteritis, plus the ulcers and a couple of gas colics in between. He finally had an anuerysm and died in the field at 17. All in 4 years or so. He was an Arab as well.
Thanks for all the replies! And please, continue to chime in!
My horse actually took a tiny sip of water yesterday. Not alot, but I'll take any sign of "improvement".
And, he finally lay down last night (judging by the shavings all over him!) Another good sign as he typically is flat out at night and takes a nap after breakfast which he hasn't done for a week. Hopefully another sign of improvement! Yes, I am keeping all my fingers (and toes!) crossed...
As far as stress, there have been no changes in his life, other than 3-4 weeks ago the nights getting cold (below freezing) and days in the 50's. He was being ridden 1+ hour walk/trot hacks 3-5x/week, turned out 7x24 (12 hours dry lot w/run-in, 12 hours in small grass "field" I use the term loosely). Diet is Triple Crown Low Starch, alfalfa pellets, soaked beet pulp, ration balancer, Vit E (per vet as he tested low in Vit E in August), magnesium + hoof supp (Select the Best Nu Hoof Maximizer) and free choice timothy hay.
No changes in diet, no changes in hay, no competing, no changes whatsoever except maybe fall arriving so if it is ulcers, it's baffling as to what would cause it.
However, as the vet said to me "Blink wrong and the horse can get ulcers"...
I went back and looked at his blood work from August and compared with the recent results and the changes were RBC, WBC, hematocrit
Really, they don't have to be in some amount of stress to get ulcers. Your vet is right. We have a vague theory on why my old guy got them.....some horses stress when they retire, and he had gone into retirement a few months before he got so sick. He certainly didn't act stressed, so this might be a stress.
We've completed 7 days of a tube of UlcerGard a day and horse is now drunking again. He's still on mainly soaked hay and soupy meals (much to his dismay) and he is eating everything in sight and demanding more.
Based on the response to the UG, I'm going to guess ulcers were the culprit (probably caused by some unnamed virus (given the temp in the early stages).
I'll do 1/2 tube UG for a week and then 1/4 tube of UG for another 2 weeks and then.. What?
I've heard recommendations for UGard, Finish Line U7 and G.U.T. by Uckele. He's been on the Peptic Ease by US Animal Nutritionals which seems to have the same ingredients as the others, but didn't keep him from getting ulcers. Then there's also the SmartPak SmartGut.
Not drinking cold water is classic but also can occur in older horses with a bad tooth. Has his teetch been checked lately?
Also....eating/drinking anything in salt in it can sting their stomachs so they may avoid salt/electrolytes too. I know my fillys are acting up when she curls her lip while eating a scoop of lytes. They'll avoid anything that makes their tummies hurt hence their reluctance to eat or drink in some cases.
Preventatives? How about alfalfa hay? Papaya "Stomach Soother"?
And don't forget tapeworms causing hind gut pain. or a Panacur power pack to get encysted stomach worms? Do a search please!