I have been wondering about my five year old and that he might have ulcers.
He took a long trip back east and was pretty rough after he got back.
He has since not liked moving forward with leg and gets pissy when you put leg on him. He also gets very agitated when in a stall. He has always been lazy, but he is now kicking out at my leg which he never did before.
So I wanted to get him checked out.
Here are my questions.
Does the vet have to scope in order to recommend ulcer meds? Reason I don't want to scope is that my regular vet doesn't have a scope and I would have to take him to a clinic close by that has had a terrible track record with charging way too much for services and not being thorough.
Can they just look at them and discuss issues and say ok, yes he may have them lets put him on a month of ulcer gard?
Will the insurance company make me scope in order to pay for the meds?
I just don't want to scope him and put him through it if I don't have to.
Insurance should pay for scoping and 28 days of gastrogard if your horse scopes and has ulcers. Our insurance made us scope.
There are a few less expensive options to try and see if you notice a change. 3000 mg of Ranitidine given every 8 hrs is a great anti-ulcer drug somewhat similar to omeprazole (which is the active ingredient of gastrogard/ulcergard). It works very well and is very inexpensive. I currently use the compounded buffered omeprazole from Precision Pharmacy (buffered is impotant!!!). It is extremely inexpensive compared to GG and it works GREAT on my horse. However, with a powdered buffered omeprazole, I find that you need contain it and supplement it seperately. It is also climate and light sensitive. He has his own little AM supplement omeprazole tubs that are kept in the dark and only "made" 1 week in advance. The big jar stays in the A/C/heated med room.
There are also some nutritional and lifestyle changes you may want to try to change. Consider switching to a low starch/higher fat feed. Give about 10 tums right before you bridle and give 1/4 scoop alfalfa pellets as well.
I have had a lot of success with my ulcer prone horse with a small hole hay net. He lives at a big A circuit barn, and now about 5 of our horses have small hole hay nets. I can answer more questions about that or anything if you'd like.
If you do use GG/UG make sure to taper off. I have done MANY rounds of gastrogard before I changed his feed and going out time and I usually did 28 days 1 tube, 7-14 days 1/2 tube, 7 days 1/4 tube, 7 days every other day 1/4 tube. Taking them off quickly can make ulcers come back.
In my experience, insurance would only pay for ulcer meds if you scope. But they will pay for scoping if the vet suggests it. This was with Great American. My vet said she had been able to convince other insurers to pay for meds without scoping but not mine. She doesn't like scoping as she thinks it actually can create ulcers on its own and prefers to evaluate with response to meds. Just repeating what she has told me and not trying to argue scope vs. no scope!
I did have Great Am pay for ranitidine when it was prescribed for ulcer prevention following surgery on one horse. But that's far cheaper, for one, than UG/GG, and that was so long ago, it is likely the policy changed since then.
Feel his back behind where the saddle pad would end, if he is sore likely he has ulcers (vet scored four of eight horses for free, he said ahead of time which had ulcers and which did not...right on with it).
Young horses often need more clear reaction to aids. But check (stifles) flexions.
(And scoping is not any more a big deal that tube worming used to be. Make sure the vet SHOWS you either the pix of the ulcers, or lets you look.) If there are ulcers feed little and often (slow hay feeder/etc).
The scopes ive seen/been a holder for have been pretty non eventful. Most were track horses and we did it either with mild sedation or no sedation at all. What area are you in? Is there only one referral type clinic or is that just the one your personal vet has a relationship with?
I'm sure you can get ranitadine paste compounded. At that point, thought, you're likely better off just getting omeprazole paste compounded. My vet here has scoped, confirmed ulcers, treated for 30 days with the compounded omeprazole/ranitadine paste from Precision Pharmacy and scoped again to confirm total healing. Cost for that is about $250 for a month.
If you are in Colorado (or the southern part of WY, perhaps) my vet has the equipment to scope. Shoot me a PM if you'd like her contact info.
My insurance experience is with Great American and while they were happy to pay for the scope, they would not pay for a course of gastrogard without the scope.
My insurance company covered gastro guard treatment without a scope but I called to check first. They went with the vet's diagnosis based on symptoms. We started with a shorter course of 10 days, and when my gelding showed improvement we continued with a full course. I also didn't want to have to ship him to a clinic to scope and it was apparent after a few days of treatment that he was getting better. The only thing I regret about not scoping is not being sure that he's totally healed. It would be nice to scope now to be certain.
If you have questions about coverage, you probably should contact your insurer as they all have differences. When the question came up with mine (whether they would cover meds without scoping), I just asked about it and was told their terms. I would find it hard to believe that they would require a scope then not pay for it if it reveals no ulcers...that's like not paying for an x-ray if it doesn't show anything wrong. Sometimes diagnostics are valuable for what they don't find, as well as what they do find. Heck, the insurance would be "happy" about a clean scope as now they don't have to pay for UG/GG!