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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
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    2,273

    Default I think my boarder may have ulcers, advice please?

    *This is not my horse*

    Got a new boarder in two weeks ago. Things didn't go very smoothly, she was literally shaking, and she went off 85% of her grain and hay. She's doing much better now, drinking normally, but is presenting with ulcer symptoms. The owner said she was aware of the symptoms before the move but it's too expensive to treat with gastroguard. Her "treatment" is 2.5 lb of alfalfa cubes and probiotics each day. The mare is VERY girthy, she gets nervous at the slightest changes, and doesn't eat hay very well. She has great hay (my horses gobble up the stuff she brought with her) but no, the mare goes through maybe 10-12 lb hay a day, which is free choice for her. She is an old (24) ottb mare. Diet consists of 2 lb strategy healthy edge, 3 lb Alam, and 2.5 lb alfalfa cubes. The grain is split into two feedings, alfalfa cubes fed pm. She also gets Probios, bl solution, flax seed, msm, and salt. She is healthy for 24, in work, and at a good weight. Her teeth are done regularly, she gets a yearly vet check.
    So, I'm leaning towards an ulcer diagnosis, but what am I supposed to do? I told her I thought she should try treating for ulcers, but she said no, too expensive. I don't want to try pushing a treatment on her when I can't be sure she even has ulcers. But I don't want an ulcery, unhappy horse in my barn either. What should I do? What other options for treatment can I give besides the typical ulcer/gastroguard?

    Thanks in advance my lovely fellow COTHers, your advice means a lot!
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2009
    Posts
    574

    Default

    Alfalfa is a good choice for ulcery horses, but it only buffers for about six hours at a time. Try splitting up her alfalfa into three or four meals if you can and see if that helps at all. You can also try aloe vera juice in her meals. I don't know what that does, but it did help my old guy when he was bute long term. Some people live by that papaya juice, but I can't remember what it's called.

    Antacids like neighlox only work for about 2 hours in the horses gut because of the way horses produce acid. That's why omeprazol is the drug of choice, it actually shuts down the acid production. However, if the owner won't treat, then you have to stick with managment.

    I'd keep her outside on pasture as much as possible, give her an alfalfa meal three to four times per day, and maybe an antacid with her meals. Also, make sure she has some hay on her stomach before exercise to keep the slosh factor down.

    Good luck. The ulcery types can be a booger to manage....



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,251

    Default

    If I think one of my boarders' horses needs vet care, I tell them it needs vet care and I expect them to get the vet out!

    I would never diagnose someone's horse with anything. I might say "I think your horse has ulcers, you'd better get the vet out to look into it". What if you are wrong?!

    If they refused to get the vet out against my advice, I would ask them to leave. I do not want horses suffering with untreated problems here.

    I am sensitive to tight budgets, I don't insist on the vet coming out for every little thing -- I am very happy to soak and wrap a suspected abcess for a few days to see what happens, e.g.

    And I have asked someone to leave when they wouldn't follow their vet's advice to treat their horse for Cushings. (Actually, I gave them a choice, treat per their vet's orders; decide they did not want to put any more time or $$$ into horse (it was a retired broodmare that they "inherited" when they bought a farm -- the sold the farm, but kept her and boarded her w/me -- she was about 25) and so put her down; or, find another place)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
    Posts
    3,621

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance_Solo View Post
    *This is not my horse*

    Got a new boarder in two weeks ago. Things didn't go very smoothly, she was literally shaking, and she went off 85% of her grain and hay. She's doing much better now, drinking normally, but is presenting with ulcer symptoms. The owner said she was aware of the symptoms before the move but it's too expensive to treat with gastroguard. Her "treatment" is 2.5 lb of alfalfa cubes and probiotics each day. The mare is VERY girthy, she gets nervous at the slightest changes, and doesn't eat hay very well. She has great hay (my horses gobble up the stuff she brought with her) but no, the mare goes through maybe 10-12 lb hay a day, which is free choice for her. She is an old (24) ottb mare. Diet consists of 2 lb strategy healthy edge, 3 lb Alam, and 2.5 lb alfalfa cubes. The grain is split into two feedings, alfalfa cubes fed pm. She also gets Probios, bl solution, flax seed, msm, and salt. She is healthy for 24, in work, and at a good weight. Her teeth are done regularly, she gets a yearly vet check.
    So, I'm leaning towards an ulcer diagnosis, but what am I supposed to do? I told her I thought she should try treating for ulcers, but she said no, too expensive. I don't want to try pushing a treatment on her when I can't be sure she even has ulcers. But I don't want an ulcery, unhappy horse in my barn either. What should I do? What other options for treatment can I give besides the typical ulcer/gastroguard?

    Thanks in advance my lovely fellow COTHers, your advice means a lot!
    It really doesn't sound that bad - it sounds like she's a sensitive, picky mare, who may or may not have ulcers, but since you describe her as being healthy and in good weight, I would say continue as the boarder has instructed. I would not blame boarder for not wanting to change anything else right now based on your description of the move.

    It might still be early to decide that she's an "ulcery, unhappy horse" that you don't want in your barn -- give her a little more time to settle in.

    Treating a horse that is not yours based on your own diagnosis is really not appropriate.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    20,848

    Default

    Like SMF11, I require boarders to have a vet out for a serious or potentially serious problem. However, it sounds like this mare hasn't been with you very long. Why not slowly switch her grain to TC Senior (she is a senior, after all), it's low in NSC, high in fiber which is all good for an ulcery horse. SmartGut can be a good supplement for a horse prone to ulcers too. Keep up with the alfalfa, make sure she has hay or pasture in front of her at all times.

    Give her time to settle in. I wouldn't require a boarder to call a vet for suspected ulcers, but I would suggest it.

    I have asked a boarder to leave after vet care and pain meds were refused, but this was for a serious problem and was listed for sale. We won't show or sell a horse that needs pain meds or is in pain. Period. The horse was removed within 4 days.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Lucama, NC
    Posts
    5,868

    Default

    You can buy the generic ranitidine (my bad I put the wrong drug in origianl post!!) double strength (150 mg) and give an average 1000 pound horse 7 tablets 3 times daily to treat ulcers. Works quite well, I recently had to use it on an ulcer prone TB that was moved to my farm (this was after vet examined him and recommended this). You can buy them for 3.99 for a bottle of 60 at Target and I treated him for a couple of weeks.
    Last edited by shawneeAcres; Apr. 10, 2011 at 02:52 PM.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,891

    Default

    I would mention to your boarder that there are many cheaper treatments for ulcers, many of which were the standard of care for ulcers before Gastrogard came along. Sucralfate, ranitidine, those enteric-coated omeprazole granules (what COTHers are calling "the blue pop rocks from Vanuatu," etc. You can do a 4.5 week course of the "blue pop rocks" for about $185. It ain't Gastrogard but it's way better than nothing.

    I would put it to your boarder in these terms: "I am not a vet but there is clearly something wrong with this mare. She is not eating enough food to hold weight despite being offered an ample amount of quality food. Whether it is ulcers or something else, this horse is suffering. I will not watch any of my boarded horses suffer, so whatever is wrong with her, I expect the vet to be called and to be out for an exam within X days/weeks. If it turns out to be ulcers, there are many economical treatments that you can discuss with the vet." If you want, bring her a printout of the "blue pop rocks" prices from omeprazoledirect.com to show how economical it can be.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
    Posts
    2,273

    Default

    Thanks everyone for the advice.
    I would like her to get the vet out to scope, but I understand tight budgets, so I understand her not wanting to. I will mention the other treatments available and see if she seems responsive to my suggestions. The woman is a very nice person, she is a very savvy horsewoman, and I do trust her to do what is best for her horse. It is fairly early to tell this mare's "true" personality, but she does overall seem to be the nervous type, her owner mentioned it before, so I'm assuming the nervousness isn't new. Maybe unhappy isn't the right word, she gets great care from her owner, but when she gets girthed up she is very clearly not happy about that.
    I don't intend to diagnose the mare, I voiced my opinion to the owner, I don't claim to be an expert in the field.
    I wouldn't dream of forcing her to get the vet out unless it was a true emergency situation, which this is not. The horse seems nervous and a little uncomfortable, but nothing extremely dramatic. She is eating as much as she was at her old barn, and she stayed in good weight there, so I don't think she's going to lose weight on this diet.
    I mainly just wanted to know some options I could give her other than ulcer/gastroguard. I will relay that info to her and see what she says. Thanks everyone!
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    1,523

    Default

    I got good results with ranitidine. You can use the human version from Wal-Mart.
    "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
    http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,576

    Default

    Since the boarder has obviously considered GG/UG but is wary of the price, I would definitely give her the info for the Blue Pop Rocks From Vanautu -- they'll send a week's supply for you to try free, and a month of treatment is about $175. http://equine.omeprazoledirect.com/ I ordered mine a few days ago.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
    Posts
    3,621

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    I would put it to your boarder in these terms: "I am not a vet but there is clearly something wrong with this mare. She is not eating enough food to hold weight despite being offered an ample amount of quality food. Whether it is ulcers or something else, this horse is suffering. I will not watch any of my boarded horses suffer, so whatever is wrong with her, I expect the vet to be called and to be out for an exam within X days/weeks. If it turns out to be ulcers, there are many economical treatments that you can discuss with the vet." If you want, bring her a printout of the "blue pop rocks" prices from omeprazoledirect.com to show how economical it can be.
    Did we read the same original post? She said the horse is a bit nervous and girthy and picky with hay. She also said the horse is in good weight and gets regular vet care. If it turns out to be just a sensitive TB mare, are you going to pay for the vet exam??



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,891

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by saultgirl View Post
    Did we read the same original post? She said the horse is a bit nervous and girthy and picky with hay. She also said the horse is in good weight and gets regular vet care. If it turns out to be just a sensitive TB mare, are you going to pay for the vet exam??
    The question in this thread is not "Does this horse have ulcers?" The question is "If I am a BO and I see a horse receiving what I consider to be inadequate treatment for the horse's discomfort, what are my options?" Among those options are "demand that your boarder call a vet." I consider that an undesirable and slightly over the top option, but it's an option.

    I also suggested another option, which is to review the many alternative protocols for ulcers with the boarder--but I guess you missed that part of my post.

    I'll take full responsibility for missing the bit about the horse being in good weight. Not that it changes my answer much.

    For the record, *I* would not have my vet out in this situation. I would call my vet and discuss options over the phone, both for altering the horse's diet and pursuing ulcer treatment.

    But I'll let the real-life sensitive TB mare in my barn, whose novice owner came to me for advice and I suggested some minor modifications to the diet instead of a pricey ulcer treatment, know that I'm an equine hypochondriac who's quick to call out a vet.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



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