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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    870

    Arrow Possible Ulcers? Calling Those Who Know About Ulcers in Horses

    Sorry for the length of this!:
    My horse was found lame at the end of Aug. last year. For over 6 months we battled unknown lameness and then severe suspensory problems, followed by more unknown lameness. He's been improving and we've been working on bringing him back under saddle now since June.

    One of the current "problems" (there's always something with horses, right? ) is that he can be really girthy. Last winter when I'd just hop on him for the odd lameness exam or whatever is when I first noticed it. Well, he now continues to be girthy.

    He eats his "grain" (alfalfa pellets and Progressive Grass Formula ration balancer) and hay (which is a grass / alfalfa mix) just fine. He's currently out during the day alone in a good sized grass paddock that has plenty of grass in it. Before this spring he wasn't getting much grass at all do to just being allowed hand walking and at the time wasn't getting any alfalfa.

    One vet said to try a fuzzy girth / girth cover or a different girth. She said I could try UlcerGard / GastroGard for a few days to see if I see a difference in him but she didn't think ulcers were likely due to the lack of symptoms. She said she could scope him but that I could do a few days of U-Gard for less money and then if I saw a difference, to go ahead and treat him.

    U-Gard / GastroGard is pricey to say the least at $30/tube. Should I do 1/2 tube of U-Gard (2x the dose of preventative dose or 1/2 tube of GastroGard) for a few days to see if I see a difference? If he had ulcers, would I be able to see a difference at that dosage? Or, because of the lack of symptoms, do you think putting him on something (product recommendations needed, btw) such as SmarkPak's SmartGut would suffice? Or should I check his back / saddle fit first?

    *I know UlcerGard / GastroGard is the only proven ulcer treatment for equines. I am working on getting his saddle fit / back evaluated in case the girthy behavior could be stemming from that..I'll be needing a vet out for fall vaccines anyways.

    TIA.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
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    1,089

    Default

    Well, extreme girthiness (mounting in saddle-phobia at its worst) was the only real sign (other than generally being a tense and nervous horse) my TB exhibited. I got him a new saddle, got the chiro out even more frequently etc., all of which helped a little, but the real problem remained. I tried gastrogard for two weeks (full dose) and still couldn't tell if it was working. I finally took him to UC Davis to have him scoped ($150) -- and they found two big honking ulcers. I felt better about spending the $$$$$ knowing that I was actually treating something that needed treating. He had to be on the full dose for two months, then half dose one month, then quarter dose before being ridden for a few months. I then switched him to the SMARTPAK supplement SmartGut, but that took about two weeks to kick in, and it appeared that he wanted to be back on the ulcergard. I finally ended up retiring him (b/c of this, a breathing problem and and ongoing soundness issues...).
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    6,029

    Default

    Yes, it could definitely be ulcers. My horse developed them following lameness with very minimal stall rest.

    Sending you a pm.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,963

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    Symptoms of ulcers can be very subtle and even horses without substantial stressors (being stabled, trailered, etc.) develop them. I'd say bite the bullet and use one full tube a day for at least a week-10 days and see if there's a difference. If yes, then you know. If no, try for a few more days just to make sure.

    And I do use SmartGut and like it quite a lot.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
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    20,404

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    I personally will never scope a horse. A weeks worth of gastroguard or ulcerguard at the full treatment dose will give you the answer and if that answer is yes, he is much better now you will already be a week into the treatment. At that time you can decide if you want to spend the money for the full 28 days or play around with alternatives and see if there is something out there that works for your guy.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2003
    Location
    WA, Land of the damp Thongpend
    Posts
    2,451

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    1 full tube of Ulcer Gard is the same strength/stuff as 1 full tube of GastroGard. They are marked differently on the plunger, GG is by weight UG has quarter doses. Use one full tube of UG (no prescription needed) every day for a week to 10 days. I'm guessing your horse weighs about 1200 or more pounds. See if there is a difference in his behavior. If there is you will want to do the full 28 day treatment.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
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    As InsideLegToOutsideRein's posts would suggest, I also think that horses that have chronic pain can continue to reform them. So getting to the bottom of the pain prior to treating is key (assuming even one can).

    Good Luck!
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    870

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    Thank you for all of the replies!

    Getting U-Gard is on my horse list of things to do as well as getting the vet out for fall vaccines / chiro (and maybe acupuncture) and a FEC. Then I'm hoping to get a saddle fitter out but we shall see when that is (I am having the vet check his back while she is out soon though).. Thanks again.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2008
    Posts
    20

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    Hello, my horse had ulcers and his symptoms were:
    - stretching to pee when he didn't have to several times in a ride.
    - reluctance to move forward (resulting in stretching to pee)
    - started wind sucking in the cross tie, and undersaddle (this is when I knew something was really not right as he doesn't crib or windsuck normally)
    - eat his grain and beet pulp but would be slow with eating the hay, and leaving quite a bit of it.
    - lying down and taking long naps during the day.

    The vet that I talked to recommended scoping instead of treating the horse because the gastrogard is expensive and depending on the severity of the uclers, you may not notice a change within a week. I did the scoping for piece of mind and eliminate other posibiliites as to what may be causing the issues.

    My guy had ulcers quite bad and it actually took about 6 weeks to have them fully heal (thats after week 4 where we did another scoping to make sure that they were healing). Then afterwards I had to keep an eye on him for any kind of stressors where I may need to give him a lower dosage of gastrogard over a few days. I could tell by him leaving a bunch of hay. It probably took a good 6 months to a year for his body to "normalize". For example, I couldn't take him out for a trail ride last year without having to give him gastrogard a few days before, during and afterwards cause he would go off his hay. This year he has been handeling the trail rides quite well.

    Good luck with the treatment!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Location
    Apex, NC
    Posts
    682

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seal Harbor View Post
    1 full tube of Ulcer Gard is the same strength/stuff as 1 full tube of GastroGard. They are marked differently on the plunger, GG is by weight UG has quarter doses. Use one full tube of UG (no prescription needed) every day for a week to 10 days. I'm guessing your horse weighs about 1200 or more pounds. See if there is a difference in his behavior. If there is you will want to do the full 28 day treatment.
    If you go the UG/GG route, you really do need to use it for more than a couple of days to see if there is improvement. Seal Harbor is right in the week to 10 days route first. Yes it is pricey, but well worth the $$ spent if you see improvement.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2003
    Location
    Nonsuch House
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    I agree, in a couple of days you will see a difference and things get better after that with continued dosage.

    I almost lost my mare to ulcers and the treatment was a miracle.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

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



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
    Posts
    2,201

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    I personally will never scope a horse. A weeks worth of gastroguard or ulcerguard at the full treatment dose will give you the answer and if that answer is yes, he is much better now you will already be a week into the treatment. At that time you can decide if you want to spend the money for the full 28 days or play around with alternatives and see if there is something out there that works for your guy.
    While I think "never" is too strong a word, I agree. I suspected ulcers in my gelding several years back and just decided to give the 2-weeks worth of (full dose) gastroguard.

    Look around online; you can sometimes find less well-known pharmacies that'll sell you the tubes for much cheaper. I ended up finding it for $6/tube cheaper than the "regular" prices.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,963

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    Just to be clear -- Ulcergard and U-Gard at two different products. Ulcergard is a treatment that is the equivalent of Gastrogard. It's just marketed as a preventative with a 1/4 tube dose, but if you use the full tube it's the same thing. U-Gard is a supplement that may or may not work for ulcers, but it does not have the science behind it that Ulcergard does.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    870

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    Ahh thanks Hollyhorse! I meant Ulcergard. Was just trying to shorten it when typing but didn't know if was another product. Thanks again for all the replies everybody.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



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