I have a VERY ulcer prone horse, who we have just been doing fecals on instead of just deworming. We battled ulcers for 5 years, colicked more than 10 times, has had 6 rounds of gastrogard, etc. Now on a great plan and healthy, but we know his stomach is more sensitive than the normal horse. He internalizes.
The last time he got dewormed (July 2011), he got ulcery. If we had been aware that he was going to be dewormed, we would have given him ulcergard or ranitidine.
He currently lives on what is equivalent to 1/2 gastrogard (buffered omeprazole powder). He is GREAT health wise, but after seeing pictures of those disgusting things (heh i'm pre-vet...probably shouldn't be saying that), I was curious if there were any safe more natural dewormers that wouldn't upset his stomach. I could up his omeprazole, but I would rather not. The plan is to keep weaning down to 1/4 dose by spring (chronically worse in fall/winter).
You don't want to trade one problem for another and leave a horse full of parasites for the sake of protecting its tummy.
Dosing animals with untested products that have no track record of safety or efficacy beyond wives' tales seems a lot riskier than a little extra omeprazole a few times a year to keep him comfortable at deworming time.
Unless the horse was scoped sfter the deworming, it's hard to know if what you interpreted as getting "ulcery" wasn't just a little irritation from passing dead worms.
Better out than in where parasites are concerned IMO. Using current guidelines means deworming less than we used to but I wouldn't personally put any faith in "safe, natural" dewormers unless there was solid evidence that they were altogether UNsafe and UNnatural to the worms.
Well, when he has ulcers, i'm guessing he has some sort of acid reflux and he burps...so I know when he is ulcery. I know it sounds strange, and I have yet to hear another horse do that like he does. He will just stare at you and "URP."
Non-existent when his stomach is 100% and if you hear it about once over 3-4 hours I would consider him to be very good.
When he is sick, he will do it about every 5-10 minutes.
I suppose it could have been irritation from worms, but I don't personally think it was.
After the last deworming incident, he got a round of ulcergard, and he got worse instead of improved. - ETA: not worse because of the ulcergard, hw got worse until i started him on ulcergard. sorry that sounded like I was saying the ulcergard made him worse.
It is not that I am AGAINST deworming, I just want to keep him healthy. He hasn't been this healthy during the winter since 2006 before his accident. I try to baby his stomach as much as possible, which is why I was asking. I also obviously do not want to put anything unproven in his stomach either.
Natural does NOT = safe. Botulinum toxin is natural. Terpenoids, like those found in citrus oils and occasionally tried as "natural" flea control, can be toxic, especially to cats. If I had a sensitive horse the last thing I'd want to do was try some unproven compound just because it wasn't made in a lab.
If you're worried about bots, get him scoped. You can at least see if there are any bots in his stomach (although be aware that some bots live in the duodenum).
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
Former owner of the best Amish-carthorse-turned-eventer ever
An old-time mountain dewormer was a mixture of wood ash, tobacco, and moonshine. All natural, but maybe not safe and efficacious.
As pre-vet student you should have a pretty good science background. As such you know that any product that makes the USDA/FDA cut will have been proven to be safe and efficacious at lease in the case of the population of animals that will be using the product. What, if any, evidence is there that standard de-wormers cause digestive tract issues? I'm not asking a "rhetorical" question, here; it's a genuine request for information. If such information is available then review it and be guided by it. If no such information exists then either there's no need for it or nobody has ponied up the bucks necessary to do it.
As noted you sometimes have to make hard choices in equine husbandry. As also noted "natural" is not always "safe" and/or "efficacious."
You'd probably want to ask you Vet. I know this is way off, but we had chickens and dewormed with things like raw Pumpkin seeds & Apple Cider Vinegar, not together but was mixed in either their water or feed.
You can also look for Diatomaceous Earth. Make sure its the Human/Food grade since there is another form used for pool filter systems....DE is commonly used in food ( both human and animal ) but you can find it in it's powder form for use of parasites. Do your reading though and talk to your vet to make the best decision.
One thing you'll learn as your veterinary education goes along is to be VERY careful about drawing parallels between species. It is tempting, lord knows, and I am guilty of going down that path as well.
Reflux disease and ulcers are not the same thing, not really even remotely related other than sharing the same general neighborhood. So while a horse with a stomach problem may seem to burp or belch, that does not necessarily mean they have the equine equivalent of GERD or heartburn. And if they did, it has very little to do with ulcers, which are a completely different thing although the treatment in humans is similar.
I only deworm about 3 times a year now, per fecal testing. Why can't you just pre-treat the horse with omeprazole for a day or two prior to deworming and for a few days afterwards?
Most natural deworming protocols aren't harmful. At all. Not even to the worms
There is *zero* information out there about ANY of the natural deworming treatments working. None. All you'll find are "my horse has never been chemically dewormed but always has clean FECs"
Well, given about 80% of horses are able to take care of nearly all parasites on their own, that shouldn't be a surprise.
One day those "naturally dewormed" horses may well colic due to a tapeworm infestation - can't see those on FECs (unless you get lucky, then go buy a lottery ticket )
Just start/increase the ranitidine/ulcergard/whatever, a few days before you need to deworm, and continue it a few days after, if that will help.
Keep up with regular FECs so you can see if you're getting an increase in strongyles, which may lead to a colony of encysted strongyles, which can, by themselves, lead to some colicky issues (but it won't be from ulcers in the stomach)
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
All fecals have been clean. Our vet was very happy and she hasn't suggested deworming. I was just hoping that there had been some research or something for a less harmful product. Which is why I figured I would ask. While I know a lot about protocols and info ESP on ulcers, I do know when it comes to some things, for example nutrition, vets are sometimes not knowledgeable.
I would never scope him again because that requires him to have no food for 24 hours. We had a very very bad experience the time we scoped and he actually had to be scoped twice in 24 hours.