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  1. #1
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    Default ulcers and spooking

    Just a spinoff from all of the threads going on with ulcers, how many feel that spooking was the cause of ulcers? It seems like many feel that ulcers are the problem when it comes to behavior issues. When I talked to my vet, he felt that this is low on the list.



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    Just a spinoff from all of the threads going on with ulcers, how many feel that spooking was the cause of ulcers? It seems like many feel that ulcers are the problem when it comes to behavior issues. When I talked to my vet, he felt that this is low on the list.
    I have an OTTB that had a tough time gaining weight for the first year I had him. I had him about 6 months before I started treating him for ulcers and only treated him for about a year. He is not spooky and was not when I first got him, just weight problems. He's now ulcer free and a moose (17hh went from 950 lbs to 1400lbs and not look fat!) and still laid back, ulcer free.

    At different times I had a paint x tb and a qh that were very spooky when I first got them. neither had ulcers. i gave them thiamine (b3) supplements. The paint turned out to be totally bomb proof and went off the extra b3 after 6 months and the qh just spooked occassionally, but he always got the vitamins.

    I think the b vits helped with digestion, but also got their brains straightened out.



  3. #3
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    my horse wasn't just spooking, he *is* a "looky" horse... he was much more... he was highly oversensitive and highly overreactive, to the point of being dangerous to be around. Just standing around him loose, you were never safe. A bird might land on a branch and send a pine cone down and he'd explode into the air and kick viciously at anything remotely close to him... just try to kill any possible threat. Things like that. You could not ever relax around him... he'd be fine one second and and an absolute explosion the next, for no reasonable reason. Riding was like riding a ticking time bomb, seriously, I felt like I was riding a powder keg that had a hidden timer on it.

    If he was your regular run of the mill spooky horse, or ordinary high strung or hot head, ulcers would not have occurred to me either (rather, I would not have been receptive to the idea when it was suggested to me).

    I've had hot, spooky, high strung horses, and this one was different. It was like he wanted to be calm but couldn't, he couldn't help himself (you could see it in his face), and all the training in the world didn't make a dent. I specialize in 'de spooking' hot edgy horses, horses that have lost their confidence and don't know how to deal, and after 6 months of hard work on this one I still couldn't get through to him. Not even a little. (what was really sad is that during his training there were times he really was trying, and just couldn't control himself, it was really disturbing to see at times).

    Watching him become hyper and frantic because a light rain was tickling his hair coat really solidified in my mind that his case was different than anything I'd ever experienced.

    I have no proof my horse had ulcers, and if he did, I have no proof that they're healed/gone. But for us, pursuing ulcers changed everything. He's a different horse now... maybe he just matured, maybe my training finally did get through, maybe he was experiencing some kind of pain then and not now, who knows, but I'm happy to believe it was ulcers.

    I'm just happy to have moved on from that awful time period



  4. #4
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    So Buck22, you did treat for ulcers? Interesting story. I guess the only way to know if a horse has ulcers is to scope. My horse is only exhibiting a few signs, nervousness, spooking and lack of weight gain. The barn had a vet that specializes in acupuncture make rounds and his comment to me is that he got a reaction for stomach troubles at a pressure point. Part of me wants to believe that yes, this is the reason that my horse is reactive, but the other half wants to blame the weather, lack of consistant turnout, the horse itself, etc, etc, etc. I'm thinking that I'll try the Ulcerguard for 10 days to see if it makes a difference.



  5. #5
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    I would definitely disagree with your vet. If a normally compliant/well behaved horse starts spooking for no reason, becomes hyper-reactive to any little stimuli, the FIRST thing I would think is ulcers.

    We're not talking about "looking" or a dog running out of the bushes and scaring your horse or a plastic bag flying out of the bleachers, we're talking about the same chair that has been in the same place next to the arena for a decade and suddenly it has turned into a gremlin kind of spooking.

    I have found that 9.9 times out of 10 when my horse starts spooking unexplainably it's ulcers.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"



  6. #6
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    Hi Aventura

    Yes, I've read your story several times. I guess the little part in my brain can't believe that ulcers is the cause. It seems like ulcers is the diagnosis du jour. Believe me, I'm going to treat my guy this week to see what happens and will be surprised if it turns out to be true. Heck, its only money! What else am I going to do with it????



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    So Buck22, you did treat for ulcers? Interesting story. I guess the only way to know if a horse has ulcers is to scope.
    Yes, and I was unorthodox. Dynamite Miracle Clay was suggested to me, and I figured I'd give it a shot... it didn't seem to have a downside (aside from preparation, it is a pita). I treated both my horses, one a 28yr mustang who is retired and I'm positive has ulcers (though didnt' have him scoped, he had a strong reaction to bute), and my riding horse, a 10 yr morgan with a dubious past and had never really been successfully ridden in all his years.

    Both horses immediately had wonderful manure.... it wasn't bad before, but it was unbelieveably nice when they were on it... huge soft moist fluffy piles, big balls that broke apart when they hit the ground. I was incredibly impressed.

    Change was slow, and for the first 3 weeks I wondered why I was doing it at all, but then slowly, little things I'd been working at with my horse suddenly began to happen... like, not freaking out when the buddy finishes his breakfast first and leaves, or being able to stand tied and not panic when the cat scampers past... little things. One by one.

    My mustang lost some of his haybelly and his top line restored a bit.... slight but noticeable. Both horses put on a bit of bloom too, and both have stayed dappled throughout the winter, and even now in their shedding coats, are still dappled. Both are less prone to snits and bouts of crankiness, and more exuberant.

    Though not in consistent work, my morgan developed a nice topline too, and moves out nicer under saddle than he's ever in the past. He used to have a funny issue with his tail too, and its less so now.

    We can finally trail ride now, and actually enjoy it.

    Neither one had classic signs, like picky eating, consistent grouchiness, or flinching when being brushed, etc., but things got happier, less stressed, and more harmonious during the course of treatment, and since.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    I guess the little part in my brain can't believe that ulcers is the cause. It seems like ulcers is the diagnosis du jour.
    well aventura I believe has proof, and had her mare scoped. I have no proof.

    it does seem like the diagnosis du jour, and I hate jumping on the bandwagon all the time, and its amazing how many vets (ones around where I live too) put it so low on the probability scale, yet in mags one can read about studies that show 80% of pleasure horses having ulcers....

    its a try and see thing if you don't get your horse scoped. I guess the good thing is that seemingly, the course of treatment has no downside other than wasted money.



  9. #9
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    Oct. 2, 2004
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    I had one that was ALWAYS spooky from the day I got him. And I didn't treat for ulcers for years because I truly didn't know. The vet didn't ever bring it up, nor did my trainers. Years later, and new vet and trainers later, I don't know how any professional could see a spooky, cranky, hypersensative TB straight off the track and not suspect ulcers. I guess I can blame it on being a kid, but I still feel SO guilty because he was obviously in a lot of pain.

    He is a naturally hot horse - stereotypical thoroughbred I suppose.

    However, he calmed down about 95% after treatment - the rest of the antics are just fun, not dangerous and crazy like they were before.

    I think that ulcers were the cause of the major spooking though - not the spooking causing the ulcers. Cured the ulcers, fixed the spooking.



  10. #10
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    Dec. 14, 2008
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    Buck22-

    Is this where you got the Miracle Clay? http://dynamitemarketing.com/

    All I could find under Miracle Clay was a topical. Can you post a link to exactly what you bought? My guy is still loopy as all get out and I figure its worth a try based on what we talked about in my Hot Horse thread!



  11. #11
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    Ulcers may be the disease du jour, but there seems to be something to it.

    I have TWH gelding who acts like the king of the sawdust pile but is a chicken at heart. He has alwasy eaten well, is an easy keeper and has not shown any sign of colic (knocking wood) since he came here. But he tried to get anything & everyone in his mouth (not so much biting as chewing on things), was fussy about being groomed on the back to belly to flank, kicked out at girth tightening & was reluctant to go forward. After reading various comments on ulcers and comparing notes with my vet I treated him for 2 weeks w/ Gastroguard.

    It was a tremendous change in attitude, his face appeared to relax. I used the Ponymeds.com pills + aloe vera for several months. Now am treating on daily basis with a top-dress over the counter product - have to run out to the tack room to get the name, it is the one that uses M Matz's in ads. Even Mr Fooler, whose schedule keeps him away most of time, noticed the difference in Homer's appearance and attitude.

    I am beginning to think equine ulcers are more common than we ever thought. This is the 1st horse I ever treated for ulcers and only the 3rd horse I know of being treated for ulcers. At any rate Homer is much happier & that is all that matters to me.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  12. #12
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    Just got off the phone with my vet and he was more than willing to try Ulcerguard for two weeks to see if it makes a difference. He wants me to do 1/2 tube daily but I thought you need a full tube to treat ulcers?



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    Just got off the phone with my vet and he was more than willing to try Ulcerguard for two weeks to see if it makes a difference. He wants me to do 1/2 tube daily but I thought you need a full tube to treat ulcers?
    A full tube is the treatment dose, so yes you need a full tube to treat.

    However, if he does have ulcers you'll probably see improvement with 1/2 a tube - so I suppose it would work to diagnois.

    I saw results in 3 days using a full tube.



  14. #14
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    Default Hay

    Buck22 said: "Both horses immediately had wonderful manure.... it wasn't bad before, but it was unbelieveably nice when they were on it... huge soft moist fluffy piles, big balls that broke apart when they hit the ground. I was incredibly impressed."

    Only horse people....arh, arh!
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  15. #15
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    I thought it was kind of a diagnostic 'fad' for a while myself, but now I definitely think it is a pretty common problem-

    My young gelding ate fine and was plenty energetic, but spooked a lot, was overly sensitive on his sides, and just never gained as much weight as I wanted or had that 'glow'. We tried ranitidine, and in 2 WEEKS he gained 45 lbs!! The sensitivity went away, too. It was truly an amazing change. I kept him on it for 2 months and he's been fine ever since.

    Since that experience, I have met several other horses that have had similar issues, mainly having a hard time gaining weight (when worming and teeth were fine and appetite was good), and it has helped them, too.

    Now I'm wondering if my poor old TB gelding has had them for a long time... He's always been that 'picky TB eater' and was hard to keep weight on. He's been that way as long as I've known him, I've spent years trying to coax him to eat as much as I want him to, and it never occurred to me until a month or so ago that it could be ulcers (instead of it just being 'a TB thing') with him, too. I'm going to try him on the ranitidine soon and see what happens. I will be very happy if it helps him, but will feel horrible that I didn't think of it years ago if that's what has been going on.
    Work - feed - ride - shovel poop - repeat.



  16. #16
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    Okay. Just started my gelding on his first tube of Ulcerguard. Just to update his symptoms he has no topline, losing weight even with good food/hay, likes to do circles in his stall to the right, especially during feeding time and the big thing is that he is a very reactive/nervous horse that has problems focusing. His favorite move is the stop, drop and roll back spin when things set him off. After giving the first UG, the first thing I noticed is the amount of water he started to drink. He was constantly going to his automatic waterer to drink. I guess some say that that is a good sign since horses with ulcers do not drink a lot since it hurts them? Can't believe that it would kick in that fast....Anyway, I'm hopeful that this is what is causing him issues. If not, I think he and I will have to part ways. Also trying more turnout and fixing the grain situation. Currently he is getting beet pulp and TC complete. I'm hoping to switch him out to either the low starch or the senior. Trying not to do too much to figure out what exactly is the issue.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    Anyway, I'm hopeful that this is what is causing him issues. If not, I think he and I will have to part ways.

    Just curious, does your horse eat all his food? What problems are you having under saddle?



  18. #18
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    Jul. 15, 2005
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    He does eat his food but he chews it funny. He kinda turns his head and chews on the side. I've had the dentist out several times but he can't find anything wrong with the horse and chalked it up as learned behavior. He is not the fastest eater in the world and will often leave his grain to go eat hay and then return. I too thought it wasn't ulcers because my vet told me that horses with ulcers will not eat or want to eat but can't. That symptom he never had. The biggest thing that I notice with him is that he is hard to keep weight on, no topline even after several months of development exercises and good food. Also lack of focus. He will go by something several times, then spook severely or on the trail will fixate on something until he gets himself nervous. And I mean heart pounding, sweating and trembling. This usually turns into the spook and bolt routine which is always fun. This is a relatively new horse for me. I bought him a year ago from a BN event rider who sold him because he was too quiet for the upper levels. I've been in contact with him several times about it and he claims that he's never had such issues. Does not mean to say that with a new rider, environment, etc, horses can change but I find it hard to believe that this horse can flip to the dark side so quickly. I'm hoping its ulcers. But like I said in previous posts, it seems that ulcers is the blame for every behavior issue. So I'm a bit skeptical. I'll try to keep this post updated as we progress through the month of UG.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 23, 2009
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    I've recently had a revelation that my horse could have ulcers. Very looky, overly sensitive, a pacer/stall weaver/worrier, seemingly random bucking under saddle (with 4 different riders & 4 different saddles), slow eater, difficulty gaining weight & never seems to be able to get those last few pounds, & has recently taken up wood chewing.

    Have ordered u-gard, if it seems to help then I plan on ordering something to actually treat them & will keep him on preventive suppl & diet. Whatever of his issues aren't caused by ulcers definitely seem to be able to contribute to the likelihood of him having them.

    Although I was researching them more on thehorse last night & it sounds like simply not giving a naturally good natured horse enough fiber can cause them. So it's not just the high strung ones & they don't always act awful.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by manyspots View Post
    Buck22-

    Is this where you got the Miracle Clay? http://dynamitemarketing.com/

    All I could find under Miracle Clay was a topical. Can you post a link to exactly what you bought? My guy is still loopy as all get out and I figure its worth a try based on what we talked about in my Hot Horse thread!
    Thats it, exactly what I bought. I too, questioned the dealer I bought it from as I'd read only external usages, but it can be used internally too, its just not published on the site for some reason.

    I have a jar infront of me, this is how the label reads:

    INTERNAL: "DMC" can be taken once or twice daily with or without food as desired by mixing 1 to 3 heaping teaspoons of the "pre-mixed" gel in a glass of ocld water, juice or milk. Ther eis no laboratory proof that DMC is effected for any internal disorders, but people sometimes take the clay for acid indigeestion or heartburn for its cooling effect. People sometimes take it for diarrhea, stomach ache, and ulcers for its soothing effect. Some feel that its ability to absorb water is beneficial for constipation. There are no proven studies indicating DMC is effective in curing any ailments.

    TO MAKE PRE-MIXED READY-TO-USE GEL: Mix 1 to 2 parts water with 1 part DMC to make a gel or mud the consistency of mustard. Shake or stir by hand with a non-metallic spoon, and then wait 3-4 hours for the clay to activate. If it seems to thin, add more DMC, if it seems too thick, add more water. Keep the gel in a covered, non-metallic container and it will not dry out and will not separate. It stores with or without refrigeration for an indefinite period of time, which makes it a good item to keep on hand in every vehicle you own. If it does dry out over prolonged storage, just add water and remix. If you don't want to store the gel, you can mix 1 teaspoon of the dry DMC powder with 1/2 glass water, stir, and let it set for 6-8 hours or overnight. You may drink the clear liquid or re-stir and drink the entire mixture (using the pre-mixed gel eliminates the 6-8 hour wait).

    HORSES AND DOGS: Clay may be used internally or externally as desired. It is excellent for legs and hooves, adjust the consistency to suit your needs. It is thought that horses fed quantities of grain become irritable and "tie-up" due to the grain by-product, propionic acid (also true of performance dogs). You might consider trying the clay gel for this problem. One tsp. for dogs, 1 ounce for horses as needed.
    I moved my horses to a new facility in June '08. Because of the newness, I waited 5-6 weeks before starting, just so I could have a baseline of their behavior. I had put up and tested my hay for the year at that point too, so that has been a constant, and their hard feed diet had been established and wasn't changing at that point too. The only non-constant in their diet had been the pasture, the new facility had moderate to sparse pasture that they progressively grazed down.

    At that point, my horse and I had a lot of time under our belts together, training for calmness and maturity, but it was sporadic at best. An example, he had separation anxiety from his buddy so bad, he would panic, tremble, holler and then finally break any ties if his pal went even 15 feet away from him. The way my new barn was situated, my horses are at constant liberty around the barn and there are lots of "blind spots", aka, one horse can wander away 20 feet and be completely out of view... so, I had lots of opportunities for training. in the first 5-6 weeks I was there, my horse had broken 5 ties and 3 halters. I had to 'start all over again' with learning to tie and give to pressure, as I had twice before at the 2 other places we boarded.

    I was talking to nutritionists at the time, when two of them suggested ulcers due to my horses behavior. A friend, who knows about DMC and whos opinion I trust implicitly, suggested it to try and see. When I started the clay I was shocked my horses ate it, but they did happily (I ate some too, tastes like chalk). I have to look at my notes, but I started with 3oz per day for a few weeks, then 2oz per day, then 1 oz perday, the total course of "treatment" was about 10 weeks.

    I have my morning routine, part of which involves tying the horses for hard feed. Every day I would *test* my problem child by allowing the one to leave early, and then work on the anxious one.

    About 3 weeks into it, and I remember the morning clearly Buck, my older gentleman, untied himself after breakfast and wandered out alone. I was tending to chores in the tack aisle and heard the shuffling of feet, and then pawing of my younger horse, but didn't think to look up. I came around back into the barn to find Buck gone, and Dutch, having pawed, tangled in his tie quietly giving to the pressure and standing with his head down between his legs. He had a desperate look in his eye, but he was quiet. It was a first.

    Since then, its been all uphill. He's still a hottish horse, he's still looky, I didn't change that and frankly don't want to, thats who he is.... its just that now he uses a bit of sense when rattled, he's not pure reaction. I can stand next to him (and did this morning in the high winds we're experiencing) he can get startled and I don't get kicked or bitten... this morning I was actually standing directly behind him messing with his tail when a branch landed on the roof and made both horses jump, and I didn't get kicked... a year ago, I wouldn't even dare going near his hind end on a day like today, just too risky.

    The one thing thing that is new in this whole situation is that the boarding facility I'm at now is self-care, so I'm there every morning. Was it my 5 minute daily lessons that did the trick and not the clay? I dunno. I just know that since having used the clay, my horse is completely and utterly different.

    Since October of 08, I've barely tinkered with their diets, mainly adding cocosoya and r/s/r their beet pulp which I had previously fed dry, but thats about it. Oh, and extra salt during the winter. I do intend to balance the cu and zn, but haven't done the math yet.

    When I had to give my problem child bute to drop a severe fever he had one day, I put him back on DMC for 10 days, just 1oz per day.

    During a horrendous 2 week cold snap we had in January this year, I put both horses back on DMC to keep their manure looking good. (it did improve it).

    So, I don't know if my horse had ulcers. I don't know if DMC did anything. I do know that something happens because manure is completely different when they're on it, but other than that, I just don't know. I've read comments where people swear by it, I've read where people say its overpriced ground up kitty litter. All I know is that during the course of its use, my horse did a complete turnaround in attitude. It could be anything, but I'm content to believe it was the DMC.

    DMC isn't proven to heal anything to my knowledge, and maybe just soothes. Maybe its just an overpriced TUMS. I don't know, I really don't. But i bought extra to keep on hand because I was happy with it.

    I hope this helps.



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