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Can Ulcers cause sore back and Hind End lameness?

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  • Can Ulcers cause sore back and Hind End lameness?

    I have a horse that is always girthy and sore in the back. When in work his back gets more reactive to palpation, particularly behind the saddle area. After about three months in work he goes right hind lame. He is usually stepping short right hind which leads to slight suspensory strain, then 3 months off then it all starts over agin. I have had 3 different vet lameness specialists go over him. He has had scintigraphy, xrays, ultrasounds, PEMF, joint injections, you name it. His xrays are good, his back is good (no kissing spine or problems on scintigraphy), I have even had his back ultrasounded. The vets are at a loss. No vet ever mentioned ulcers as he is in great condition but I recently read that ulcers can be the cause of unexplained lameness. He hates being groomed, he hates being rugged and is very girthy when in work,
    After disussions with my vet, we are going to now try him on the injectable Omprazole. Would just like to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience, and also if people have used the injectable omperazole, how does it compare to oral?

  • #2
    Well, I never say never when it comes to horses but I would say no. If anything his hind end lameness and back soreness could cause the ulcers.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      In my experience it's unlikely.


      • #4
        Unfit saddle.
        Unproper work load.
        Unproper rehab work.

        Back soreness could be the result of hock, stiffles and SI problems.

        At this point I would do the omeprazole as well.

        But 3 months off for a suspensory strain in a hind leg is not sufficient. Especially if it’s been a reoccurring injury.

        Doing the same thing again and again will bring the same result.

        Were there echos done during the rehab to make sure the ligament was ready to be trotted on, and then cantered on?

        It appears that the injectable omeprazole is more effective.

        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

        Originally posted by LauraKY
        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.


        • #5
          I'm not sure what article you read, but I would not suspect ulcers are responsible for a pattern like this. You should definitely check saddle fit however. And get several opinions from people who were not just trained to sell saddles.

          You mention suspensory strain, and I am by no means a vet, but my understanding is that suspensories are extremely difficult to heal. Even when they look good on an ultrasound after "successful" rehabs, I have known quite a few horses that were never able to return to work at the same level as before the injury.


          • Original Poster

            Sorry, I should have added that the suspensory strain was very mild and the vet said the measurement was within "normal limits" for the thickness with no tears or holes, but it was slightly thicker that the left so he felt felt a reasonable excuse for him to be stepping short right hind. So he was rested and rehabbed as a suspensory strain. He has had several different saddle fitters and even 2 new saddles! We have done this cycle twice in 12 months. It takes 6 months to do the full cycle of rehab riding to the 3 month mark, 3 months off, and repeat. The vets wanted him in work right up to the scintigraphy so they could see all hot spots. But that was $5k to find out nothing. Utrasound on back showed no muscle tears or damage along back. Of course the Ultrasound can't get deep enough to read close to the spine but they said the scintigraphy would pick up injuries close to the spine.


            • #7
              Have you considered the hooves? If there are poor angles in the hooves that can easily lead to back pain, lameness, and other issues in the limbs. I've seen negative angles (discovered via x-rays) have quite the impact throughout the body. And if you haven't looked there, it's simple enough to take a few x-rays. Otherwise I'd suspect the SI area, but then you get this chicken and the egg thing with finding the area of pain, but it actually originating from somewhere/something else. At this point treating for ulcers may be worth a try, but I think that's only part of the problem here and not the problem.

              The other thing you can do, is toss the horse in a field for a year, then slowly bring him back to work after a year and see what you have.


              • #8
                It seems to me that it could. A horse could hold himself in a funky way to avoid pain caused by ulcers, thereby stressing other parts of his body.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                • #9
                  I spent probably 9 months chasing down a NQR feeling that did, indeed end up being hind gut ulcers/right dorsal colitis. Horse made himself sore in his back, hocks, stifles etc. You can PM me for the whole saga w/ diagnostics if you'd like!


                  • #10
                    What about the footing in your arena? Too deep sand could cause soft tissue injuries while too hard of a surface with no give could cause all over soreness, or lameness due to repetitive pounding on the joints.


                    • #11
                      Could it be mild tying up or form of epsm?


                      • #12
                        I would think it could for the same reasons Equibrit mentioned. My horse started violently bucking when she had hindgut ulcers. She was also girthy and too sensitive to brush in many areas. However, if it's hindgut ulcers, I don't think injectable or oral omeprazole will do anything for them (and I think there is some evidence that the oral version can make them worse). The hindgut can be treated by sucralfate or you could try Succeed (they have a money back guarantee). If you've tried PEMF, what results did you see with that? Did the horse show a reaction in areas that would be common areas to react if they had ulcers (stomach or hindgut)?


                        • #13
                          Why not buy the 90 day box of the Succeed tube paste and try it, it's pricey but worth it. I don't think it would hurt and might help if that is a possible issue. I've had good results with it.


                          • #14
                            I second the feet. Spent last two years with NQR and back pain and kept thinking if I found right saddle he would be fine. Negative plantar was causing it all. Moving like a stiff old pony, hock and stifle soreness, lumpy lumbar, shoulder pain where saddle sits, etc And yes I thought ulcers too and treated for that no difference. Injected hocks and stifles, no difference. Whacked the hell out of toes, instant difference!


                            • #15
                              Has he been scoped? I've treated for ulcers sans scope when it was quite clear that was the issue, but with a situation like this I'd be inclined to scope.


                              • #16
                                I will say that there was absolutely a correlation between back pain in my horse and ulcers.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Lostcoast View Post
                                  I second the feet. Spent last two years with NQR and back pain and kept thinking if I found right saddle he would be fine. Negative plantar was causing it all. Moving like a stiff old pony, hock and stifle soreness, lumpy lumbar, shoulder pain where saddle sits, etc And yes I thought ulcers too and treated for that no difference. Injected hocks and stifles, no difference. Whacked the hell out of toes, instant difference!
                                  Same! I am so thankful my vet insisted on taking a few rads with the farrier and my poor horse was significantly negative. His posture changed within days and his topline in two months is that of a different horse, not to mention his gaits! I've been playing the ulcer game with him for a year now and we're again weaning off the medication. I feel confident this time will be different as I believe the pain was causing the ulcers, not vice versa. All from hoof angles!!


                                  • #18
                                    Another person here suggesting an evaluation of the hind feet! I have a horse with bilateral TMT spurs and he started exhibiting R lumbar pain, not lameness but more so not fully using himself and stepping short at the walk/trot. I thought the obvious, I would finally get him blocked out (I have never had him blocked or injected for hocks yet) and likely injected. I took the horse in, they blocked the hock with no change, moved down to the foot hoof test and block- bang! Resolution which sent us to radiography and U/S. Slightly negative plantar angle and an oblique ligament strain.

                                    When he first came up back sore I shot rads of his back (had baseline from PPE) and there was nothing. I am very thankful I went to a great vet who recognized the need to investigate lower and did not hyper-focus on the existing rads/only joints.


                                    • #19
                                      Fourth or fifth the suggestion of checking out the feet. I lost almost a year of training on a NQR issue that turned out to be a slightly negative plantar angle that 100% resolved immediately with a change in shoeing. Two vets and lots of experts tried everything else first - injections, saddles, the list went on and it cost a fortune. Finally found a vet who took a couple basic lateral views of those hind feet and let's just say you didn't need to be a trained professional to see what the problem was. And for the record - even that vet said he almost didn't do the xrays because he feet looked SO good from the outside... we were all shocked when we saw the films.

                                      Good luck.
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                        e. Finally found a vet who took a couple basic lateral views of those hind feet and let's just say you didn't need to be a trained professional to see what the problem was. And for the record - even that vet said he almost didn't do the xrays because he feet looked SO good from the outside... we were all shocked when we saw the films.
                                        X rays are invaluable. I had a lame horse and we took X-rays and found that he was carrying too much toe. His trim looked fine from the outside. We ended up trimming the toe back more which looked odd at first, but he became more comfortable. My farrier feels that rads should be done at least every two years; ideally annually.
                                        Last edited by HappyTalk; Dec. 8, 2019, 10:23 AM.