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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
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    VA
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    4,345

    Default Removing Processed Feeds for Ulcer Horses

    So I have more or less gone off the deep end. Horse's sixth or seventh ulcer flare (that I have treated with gastrogard, once for 3 months...) and I have got to do something different, other than what is normal. Normal things are not working. He's going back on gastrogard for a month and sucralfate for 2 weeks. I'm getting them knocked out and I want to keep them gone this time. Ranitidine will probably be in the picture, but I am considering the dietary component. We have these expensive show horses with massage therapists and chiropractors and pulsed magnetic blankets and god knows what else, but they eat things that come out of a bag and contain by products and other things that are just not so great. Dog food is starting to go more 'upscale', with high quality ingredients and such. My dog eats great food and he isn't expected to actually DO anything, so why should the horse not have a similar plan?

    Currently he's eating Purina Ultium, Omegatin, and Platinum Performance. Now,the platinum should, in theory, fulfill all his vitamin and mineral needs. I am considering cutting out the processed grains, in hopes that it will not irritate his stomach as much as what he had been eating. From what research I have done, I am thinking it will include: Whey Protein, Flax Seed Oil, Psyllium Fiber (insoluble fiber is supposed to be good for stomachs), Probiotics, possibly extra glutamine, and most likely some other things for the stomach- I am mixing DGL and papaya extract into his sucalfate now, and I'll continue looking into things of that nature. That mix, I hope, will get the nutritional needs met, and I can add extra calories in the form of beet pulp or chopped forage as it is necessary.

    Now, that is the plan. I'll be doing more research into making sure we have all the amino acids, there aren't any ratios terribly out of whack, etc etc. Is anything jumping out at the COTHers who are well versed in nutrition? Also, can these ingredients be safely mixed with the flax seed oil ahead of time so that it would be just a "give him a scoop from the bucket" deal for the BM? The flax seed oil I am planning on purchasing is stabilized with vitamin E, if that makes a difference. Perhaps Aloe Vera Juice. Thankfully, my guy isn't too picky of an eater. Also, I know that horses have starch requirements, how should I best meet those? My goal is to keep it as unprocessed, low in sugar, and low in things that could be potentially irritating as possible. Obviously expense is a factor, but with the quantity that he is eating now, I am mostly interested in the very best and it should be equivalent, cost wise because he will eat less.
    -Grace



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Posts
    1,992

    Default

    I think you are missing the obvious problem: not once in your post do you mention hay. Hay should be the absolute basis of your horse's diet. You should find the best possible quality hay, have it properly analyzed, and go from there. If your horse will eat enough high quality hay, he should need very little other nutrition (perhaps a ration balancer or a vit/min supplement, or a little extra added fat). If your horse is working so hard that he cannot sustain proper condition on this alone, then you are probably going to have to continue using Gastrogard in some dosage, or cimetidine or ranitidine. Feed hay first, then supplement. If your horse always has quality hay in front of him, 24/7, then his stomach will be processing forage, not producing ulcers.

    Also, check out your management--is he turned out for long enough, preferably all day or night, with horses he likes? Is there plenty of room in his paddock to move around? Does he have good grass to graze or a constant supply of hay outside? Does he get enough exercise? Is his stall a light, bright, airy, comfy place? Does he travel often or show often? Does he get tense or nervous traveling or showing?

    Sometimes, letting your horse be a horse is the key to their health. Good luck.
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    4,345

    Default

    Sorry, I thought that when I mentioned I am doing all the normal things that it would include the obvious I didn't mention the hay since the only possible way to get him to eat more would be to buy it chopped in bags or what have you.

    He eats approximately 30 pounds per day of good quality grass hay, free choice. I am at a boarding barn, so having it analyzed is not going to do much good since by the time I get it back there will be a new load, but I understand that it is the foundation of the diet. He goes out with a friend for about 10 hours a day in a large paddock with grass or hay when the grass is not good. Since the last time we finished the gastrogard, he has not gone to any horse shows, has been on an ulcer targeted supplement, etc. He can see other horses across the asile from his stall and he is on the corner so he can look outside. He does tend to get a little tense traveling, but I give him gastrogard any time we go to a show and he has chopped bagged alfalfa on the trailer to encourage him to keep eating.
    -Grace



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Posts
    1,992

    Default

    Well, that's great. You certainly have done "all the obvious." I didn't mean to be so snooty-wooty about it, I just wanted to mention those things, as many times people become obsessed with diet and medicine and they don't treat "the whole horse." It would have been so easy if you could just give him more hay or turnout and voila! a healthy tummy!

    I guess I have no advice for you except to try what you have mentioned. We have spent our share on Gastrogard, but have also used Manuka Honey to help them stay healthy after treatment.

    Good luck and let us all know if you find the answer.
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    4,345

    Default

    It's OK- I agree with the whole horse mindset myself. You don't know me personally so it was right to go for the hay- they need it, it's what they are meant to have. He is just a very hard keeper. That's why I am hoping that if I give him some really high quality feed, he can eat less of it and it won't irritate his stomach. One of my family's doctors has a project of many years where he analyzes different cultures' diets and charts it against their rates of disease. I'll be giving him a call tomorrow and see what he likes for stomach problems- he's a really interesting guy.
    -Grace



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    866

    Default more on results of manuke honey?

    Mary in Area 1,

    Apologies for going off-topic a bit but, how are you finding the Manuka honey to work for ulcers? And where do you find it?

    I have similar concerns to what OrangeOne expressed, except my horse just had a nasty bout with ulcers and nothing changed in his world and he's been doing nothing but trail-riding. He also gets minimal grain some supps + ration balancer + free-choice reasonable 2nd choice timothy. 24x7 turn-out (although not alot of space, I only have a small property) and he still got ulcers (possibly related to a mystery virus which heaven-only-knows how he got that). I had read about manuka honey at one point so would love to hear more.

    Thanks and sorry for going slightly off-topic!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    16,684

    Default

    Why not use alfalfa pellets as your base "feed" to carry in the concentrates?...start with 2 to 3 lbs a day. Alfalfa is known for helping with ulcers and there are very low carbs in it...less than 10%. I mix them with LinPro which is a good supplement that has added amino acids, fatty acids and major minerals. I'd take his diet back to the absolute basics if you can but that is how I'm approaching feeding every horse these days...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2003
    Location
    Nonsuch House
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    3,507

    Default What I do, it works for me, hope it helps

    I may have missed something in your post, so I apoligize for it in advance. I have a mare that colicked repeatedly and thousands of dollars later we got a handle on it.

    She had ulcers!! SOooo we did 30 days of ulcergard, no riding during this time. After 30 days I did the back off program, 1/2 tube per day for a week then 1/2 tube every other day etc etc.

    Now, I give U7 2xs a day, Platinum performance, TC performanace with alfalfa pellets and an alfalfa mix hay. Before I go to a clinic or Anywhere, I give her 1/4 tube before, during and after any time she travels. I also give her 1/4 tube at home if something stresses her.

    It's been 2 years and no problems. My vet designed this program for me (he competes and has ulcer horses.)

    SOme horses need more when they go away and some never need it again, every horse is different. The older my horse gets the calmer she is. We just went to a hunter clinic yesterday and she was totally chilled, I still gave her 1/4 tube. Most ulcer horses need lifetime maintenance of some sort.

    I should also add that my mare is a Thoroughbred and no the alfalfa does NOT make her hot. Don't get depressed, you just have to tinker until you figure the right program.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Posts
    1,992

    Default

    I get the Manuka Honey from my vet. I'll ask her where to find it.

    It has worked well for us during that time when they seem OK, but maybe not 100%. If they are symptomatic, we go to the Gastrogard, then wean them off to 1/2 tube, then to the Manuka Honey.

    Has worked so far!
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2006
    Location
    Clemson, SC
    Posts
    867

    Default

    I would also add alfalfa to your horses diet as others have suggested. I'll see if I can find the research article I found the info in, but it said that feeding 3 pounds of alfalfa per day was shown to help prevent ulcers.
    A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2005
    Location
    Haymarket VA
    Posts
    414

    Default

    My 8-year old mare was recently diagnosed with severe gastric ulcer disease and is on her fourth week of Gastrogard. I have been trying to educate myself on the best diet plan for her going forward and am curious about the Manuka Honey. How do you feed it? How much does your horse get? I found this product which combines Manuka Honey with licorice -- any experience or thoughts on that? http://64.233.169.132/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=1&gl=us Would this be instead of a product like Neighlox, U7 or G.U.T.?

    I am currently feeding her Pennfield Grand Prix Granola and free choice alfalfa. The only supplement she gets is Mare Magic.
    ~Another proud member of the TrakehNERD clique ~



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
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    2,627

    Default Hay

    I have an ulcery horse as well. I have taken some of the sugar out of his diet by feeding Triple Crown COmplete. It's about 20 nsc. I don't know the terms, if it is 20% or 20 grams or what but it is a lower nsc than what I was feeding previously and probably lower than Ultium.

    TC Complete includes the flax seed, rice bran, probiotics, etc. You don't have to add any supplements. He is doing great on it. But I do supplement with ProCMC, like a liquid Rolaids, 1oz. twice a day.

    My horse does get hot on alfalfa so I actually have taken him off it. HOWEVER in January, when I know I'm not riding, I'm going to put him back on it for a month. I know that 2 months he was on alfalfa really helped, not me and riding but I know it helped his stomach.

    Good luck.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
    One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    We have tried alfalfa in the past, are going to try it again, but my issue with it is that in any significant amount it just makes him crazy. I had to lunge before I hacked when he was just on a heavy mix, and this is a horse that I need some spurs to get moving under normal circumstances. I wonder if there is some kind of sensitivity to alfalfa, which is why once I get on this thing that I may or may not do, I'd rather cut out alfalfa from his daily diet and see if that can work. Knowing him, he's allergic to grass andthat is what's calling all of this... Jerk. I tell him on a regular basis to be thankful that he is pretty and can jump well, because otherwise he'd be on someone's dinner plate.

    Edit: Ultium has an less sugar than TC complete-He isn't EPSM so I assume he needs some starches to keep going, but I don't know of any need in his diet for sugar. I tried him on that and legends performance pellets and both of them made him nutty too. It seems to be the only concentrate that is tolerable to him, which is why I am looking into making him a 'salad' to go with his payapa/DGL/sucralfate 'smoothies'
    -Grace



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2001
    Location
    SE Virginia
    Posts
    1,235

    Default

    Aw, Gracie, he's just missing his paddock pal! Hugs from Magee



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2005
    Posts
    465

    Default

    My recurrent ulcer horse (endurance horse) does best when I not only manage his regular diet in a particular fashion (free choice grass hay, beet pulp with a handful of Senior for palatability, probiotics) but also do the following:

    1. 30-60 minutes before saddling, feed 2 flakes alfalfa
    2. 10 minutes before saddling, feed 1/2 lb beet pulp, soaked, with 1 oz U-Gard
    3. 40 minutes into ride, give 1 oz dose Pro CMC by oral syringe
    4. 90 minutes into ride, give 1 oz dose Pro CMC by oral syringe and graze 5-10 minutes

    That plan will get us through a 20-mile ride (about 2.5 hours) in good form. The idea, obviously, is to keep his tummy full (to limit acid sloshing) and the acid neutralized with antacids and alfalfa.

    I, too, have done the repeated Gastrogard routine too many times. No more -- too expensive!! I'm going to try MSM and aloe next time (if there is one). MUCH cheaper (about $2/day) and although it's an alternative treatment, I figure it's worth a shot!
    Training and campaigning Barb endurance horses at The Barb Wire.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    I bet! His current paddock pal is not nearly so pretty as mr. magee, maybe he is stressing about the company he is keeping. The horse he is with is a good babysitter though, Lego can harass him and he doesn't kick or bite him like any normal horse would.
    -Grace



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 21, 2001
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    300

    Default

    My horse just finished treatment for an ulcer flair-up and I have been thinking about grains, preventatives, etc, too. I think it's going to drive me crazy!

    I do not use the super low sugar grains - my BO just won't budge on the types of feed that we use. What seems to work best for my horse is Purina Senior + beet pulp + canola oil + U-gard and then Ulcergard before, during and after travel. When he had the flair-up I had taken the canola oil out. Now, I don't know if this had anything to do with the ulcers coming back, but it was the only thing that changed in his life (he didn't even travel at that time).

    One thing that I have started doing is giving 1 scoop of the senior feed while I tack up and give antacid "treats" too. That way, he gets something on his stomach before the ride. That has seemed to help him alot - especially with his attitude.

    I also try to have hay in front of him all the time - I can't make him eat it, but it's there. I have also eliminated apples, carots and molasses based treats.

    I hope you find what works for your guy - they are all different!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2003
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    Nonsuch House
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    3,507

    Default

    If you do want ulcergard at the best price, I buy it on line for 28.99 a tube which is about $7.00 or more a dose with 1/4 tube. No one commented on U7. . . and do you give ulcer gard when he is stressed?

    Are you thinking of going to whole oats and alfalfa?
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    Keeping him on the name brad stuff is not going to happen, though he'll probably live on ranitidine. Any comments on the diet itself?
    -Grace



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2004
    Location
    Scottsville, Virginia
    Posts
    348

    Default

    I just read a short article in this months PH... in the back somewhere about a study done where they feed a group of horses alfalfa/grass hay and another group with same hay but added sweet feed to their diet. It said the horses all got the same amount of training and exercise. The ones that were fed the sweet feed exhibited more nervous behavior, didn't learn as easily, were more herd bound etc, etc. It was a short article but I have been considering trying to cut down on the sweet feed sugars and replace it with more plain beet pulp, soaked flax seed and rice bran if needed. My horses already get as much alfalfa/orchard grass hay as they can eat and are out on good grass pastures for approximately 8 hours a day (longer in the summer) I only have one hard keeper but he is gaining weight and doing much better since he arrived. None of my horses are nervous but I just don't like the idea of the amount of sugar in their diet. I do believe that their diet should start with good quality grass, then as much hay as they want and lastly grains. I have also heard (don't remember where though) that feeding alfalfa hay before graining them is good for their stomachs. I think it was the alfalfa helps to balance the PH in the stomach... certainly a good preventative against ulcers. Anyway just a suggestion regarding the processed feeds and sugar levels. maybe it's the processed feed upsetting them instead of the alfalfa making them hot.
    One last thing...I don't know if this is true for horses but in humans it is not a good idea to take probiotics when the stomach lining is damaged (ulcers) It irritates the lining further. They are great for a healthy digestive system though. So make sure all the ulcers are healed before putting them back on probiotics.



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