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Ulcer Medication Alternatives - For LD Rides

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  • Ulcer Medication Alternatives - For LD Rides

    I'm posting on behalf of a friend. She owns an Arab and is training for her first LD (25m), except her horse is known for getting excited before a show/clinic/etc. and getting ulcers. She's been giving ulcer meds a day in advance-a day after, and it's been working great.

    However, ulcer medication (Omeprazol, or however you spell it..) is illegal in AERC sanctioned rides. Are there any legal alternatives/other ways to prevent ulcers?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Sensible diet will help prevent ulcers. The horse should have available roughage 24/7, with a diet balancer. It should be eating up to 22 hours a day, so a small holed hay net will keep it busy and producing the saliva that will neutralise the stomach acids which cause ulcers.
    You can also add fenugreek powder to the balancer, or oat flour, both of which crate a layer adhering to the stomach mucosa, thus preventing gastric irritation.

    Has the horse actually been diagnosed with ulcers though? Some arabs are just very excitable, and you just have to learn to manage them. They love the atmosphere when lots of horses get together and it can take many outings to get them settled, or for the rider to learn how to manage them. It's a learning curve!
    My own mare, after over 2000ks of endurance competition will still argue with me for the first 5ks of a ride. I usually just let her go, and once the excitement wears off she settles down and we continue on a loose rein, lol.

    Comment


    • #3
      I am fairly new to endurance, so no expert, but I have been reading a lot about how to deal with my sensitive horse. Along with everything else for good gut health (mainly appropriate diet), I plan to use Pro CMC this year.

      Some good reading on metabolic health for endurance horses...
      I think it is all related- if the horse is prone to ulcers I would be extra cautious about other metabolic stuff too. The articles "Beating the Metabolic Pull" are full of great info:
      http://www.allcreaturesanimalhealth....onArticles.pml

      Comment


      • #4
        One of my friends rode Endurance for many years on an ulcer prone Arab. She told me one of the endurance vets had advised her to give the horse Maalox during the ride. It was one of the few legal substances allowed. She said it worked. You may want to tell your friend.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks all for the replies -

          wendybird - I will look up fenugreek and oat flower, sounds interesting. I am not sure if the mare has been diagnosed with chronic ulcers, but she has definitely had ulcers (it's not just excitement.)

          TheOtherHorse - I will look up Pro CMC as well as read that article and send it to my friend, thanks!

          5chestnuts - I'll check out Maalox too, thanks for the tip.

          Comment


          • #6
            Caution your friend that a horse prone to ulcers may not be a good LD candidate. I knew a horse whose ulcers perforated on a 30 miler and killed the horse. Until the ulcers are under control away from home, I wouldn't compete. There's a reason AERC discourages ulcer-prone horses from competing by making common ulcer meds illegal.

            With that out of the way, I am seconding Pro CMC and Maalox. FinishLine also make a great U-7 product, which I believe is endurance legal.

            http://www.equinenow.com/store-item-30523

            Comment


            • #7
              **MANY** horses compete in endurance with ulcers and never ever die. Some are diagnosed, and some are not diagnosed. You would have to have an autopsy on a horse at the ride to find out if it really WAS due to ulcers. Not sure you can really determine that or not.

              I know a friend of mine did endurance with her horse, he had ulcers and she never treated him ever, and he did not die, and he did just fine. This horse did LD, and endurance. He is now 25 and doing fine as a pasture pet.

              I know another friend whose gelding has uclers, and she is close to 2500 or so miles on him, including a couple 100 milers. She uses NeighLox. If there is a with draw period then she definitely does it.

              I have not competed a horse with ulcers. But know many who do.

              It has all to do with how you manage a horse on a ride. But that is the key to all of endurance riding, managing your horse.

              OP you may check out NeighLox also. I am not sure it tests or not. I am trying Summer Games Plus e'lytes this year. I couldn't find LyteNow, so switching. The Summer Games Plus has a tummy buffer in it, I think it may Neighlox. I am not using it in competition, whereas I am not competing any more as of a couple years ago. But I always have e'lytes on hand just in case, and I do use them on hot hot rides and sometimes for hauling, here in the wicked hot humid summer. Some e'lytes do bother a horses tummy. I like the idea this KER product has some buffering in it.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I think NeighLox (Maalox in disguise ) is sounding the best so far, but all the ideas will be researched. Thanks EVERYONE for the input, it is very appreciated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheOtherHorse View Post
                  Some good reading on metabolic health for endurance horses...
                  I think it is all related- if the horse is prone to ulcers I would be extra cautious about other metabolic stuff too. The articles "Beating the Metabolic Pull" are full of great info:
                  http://www.allcreaturesanimalhealth....onArticles.pml
                  These articles are wonderful - they were linked on this board a couple of weeks ago and I printed them all off. LOTS of excellent information in them.

                  I've used U-7 on several horses - I'm not sure if it's legal but it's good stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                    **MANY** horses compete in endurance with ulcers and never ever die. Some are diagnosed, and some are not diagnosed. You would have to have an autopsy on a horse at the ride to find out if it really WAS due to ulcers. Not sure you can really determine that or not.
                    I was not trying to imply that all horses with ulcers die if they do endurance. Nor was I trying to scare the OP into thinking this particular horse would die. I was simply saying that it's a risk, and a very real one.

                    The horse I knew was necropsied following his death at the ride, so we DO know that perforated ulcers were the CoD. We also know that the use of electrolytes contributed to the perforation.

                    My point is that competing a horse with ulcers is a risk (one that I, personally, am not willing to take). If a horse is dealing with an active bout of ulcers, I tend to treat the ulcers and address the underlying cause before competing the horse again. That is not to say that a horse with a HISTORY of ulcers can't or shouldn't compete. It's simply a case of management... and management, IMHO, starts at home. I have seen many horses compete successfully with ulcers, but I also know that some of those horses are 'useless' if they don't have an endurance career. In my case, my horse is my pet first and my endurance partner second. I wouldn't risk him. If I was more goal oriented or had a large string of competing horses, perhaps I would feel differently.

                    I know that one horse dying in endurance because of ulcers is not a reason for all ulcer-prone horses to be retired. I also know that 'lots of horses compete with ulcers and don't die' is not a good reason to diminish the severity of ulcers.

                    At the end of the day, this is something I would consult with a vet on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ^ I think the key to the above is the phrase "We also know that the use of electrolytes contributed to the perforation."

                      In the case of ANY horse that has been diagnosed with ulcers, or has suspected ulcer issues, it is critical that the rider - if they wish to use any type of electrolyte at all - MUST use a mixture that is light (soft) on the amount of salt. There are many e-lytes out there that are so heavy in salt that most horses will fight dosing. Those e-lytes will put a horse off it's feed, make it's tummy hurt, and do less good overall than using nothing. Try tasting it. If it makes you gag, the horse won't like it any better.

                      I would suggest to the OP that if her friend's horse is only going LD, then don't use e-lytes. Use carrots instead. Carrots contain a great deal of natural electrolytes, plenty enough for any LD ride. You can offer free salt to the horse at the finish. If the horse wants it, it will eat it. That helps the ulcer issue by keeping good root food in the stomach, and preventing any tummy "burning" from raw salt.

                      If the OP's friend decides to ramp up to Endurance, then I would strongly suggest she pick up some Perform N Win electrolytes. It is formulated with more sugar to get the essential e-lytes to the bloodstream quicker, and is very light on salt. Horses LOVE this product, and readily take the dose, licking their lips for more. I would mix it with applesauce, and my horse would grab the syringe with his teeth, trying to suck it out before I could squeeze it into his mouth. It is very gentle on the GI tract, and gives that extra boost to the horse for the long run, especially if it is an excitable horse that uses a lot of it's internal resources fretting at the beginning of the ride.

                      Competing on a horse prone to ulcers means:
                      1. You keep food in front of the horse, and in the horse, at all times. As long as there is food in the stomach, the stomach acids have something to do, and won't splash up to cause issues.
                      2. You carry treats with you that your horse will eat while on the trail. Apple slices, carrots, hay cubes. Anything that will tempt the horse to eat, and keep it interested in chewing.
                      3. Grass and alfalfa is your horse's best friend. Timothy, soft grass, anything green and delicious. So is any kind of wet mash.
                      4. Don't fight with the horse if it doesn't want to eat your stuff. See if it will eat someone else's food. Generally, it will!! If all else fails, squirt some applesauce in a syringe in the horse's mouth. Once you jump start the swallowing process, a horse will resume interest in food. Even if it eats nothing but treats, that's fine.

                      As Dorrie the fish said in Finding Nemo "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming" the ulcered horse rider needs to keep chanting to their horse while down the trail "just keep eating, eating, eating..."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gothedistance View Post
                        ^ I think the key to the above is the phrase "We also know that the use of electrolytes contributed to the perforation."

                        In the case of ANY horse that has been diagnosed with ulcers, or has suspected ulcer issues, it is critical that the rider - if they wish to use any type of electrolyte at all - MUST use a mixture that is light (soft) on the amount of salt. There are many e-lytes out there that are so heavy in salt that most horses will fight dosing. Those e-lytes will put a horse off it's feed, make it's tummy hurt, and do less good overall than using nothing. Try tasting it. If it makes you gag, the horse won't like it any better.

                        I would suggest to the OP that if her friend's horse is only going LD, then don't use e-lytes. Use carrots instead. Carrots contain a great deal of natural electrolytes, plenty enough for any LD ride. You can offer free salt to the horse at the finish. If the horse wants it, it will eat it. That helps the ulcer issue by keeping good root food in the stomach, and preventing any tummy "burning" from raw salt.

                        If the OP's friend decides to ramp up to Endurance, then I would strongly suggest she pick up some Perform N Win electrolytes. It is formulated with more sugar to get the essential e-lytes to the bloodstream quicker, and is very light on salt. Horses LOVE this product, and readily take the dose, licking their lips for more. I would mix it with applesauce, and my horse would grab the syringe with his teeth, trying to suck it out before I could squeeze it into his mouth. It is very gentle on the GI tract, and gives that extra boost to the horse for the long run, especially if it is an excitable horse that uses a lot of it's internal resources fretting at the beginning of the ride.

                        Competing on a horse prone to ulcers means:
                        1. You keep food in front of the horse, and in the horse, at all times. As long as there is food in the stomach, the stomach acids have something to do, and won't splash up to cause issues.
                        2. You carry treats with you that your horse will eat while on the trail. Apple slices, carrots, hay cubes. Anything that will tempt the horse to eat, and keep it interested in chewing.
                        3. Grass and alfalfa is your horse's best friend. Timothy, soft grass, anything green and delicious. So is any kind of wet mash.
                        4. Don't fight with the horse if it doesn't want to eat your stuff. See if it will eat someone else's food. Generally, it will!! If all else fails, squirt some applesauce in a syringe in the horse's mouth. Once you jump start the swallowing process, a horse will resume interest in food. Even if it eats nothing but treats, that's fine.

                        As Dorrie the fish said in Finding Nemo "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming" the ulcered horse rider needs to keep chanting to their horse while down the trail "just keep eating, eating, eating..."

                        Great suggestions

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lol about the carrots! My pony ADOREs carrots at home but won't eat them at rides. Or apples. She gets molassed muesli during and after the ride, and grass! loves to graze, and will often eat rather than drink at a water stop.

                          Every horse has its own little quirks , bless them all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I use Pro CMC as a liquid carrier for my electrolytes. It's cheaper than human Maalox and is just an antacid. Very plain and simple.

                            U-7 is helpful BUT it has MSM in it which is illegal in therapeudic doses. A single dose of U-7 is low in MSM but multiple doses would push the levels of MSM too high.

                            I have found that you just can't count on a horse eating something during a ride. I train them to stop and eat grass and insist on them doing so within the first couple of miles and to continue to do so. How ever, if you have a horse that is a worrier and poor eater during a ride then I'd suggest to that you just find them a different job as they rarely will change their habits/personality and the frustration for you (and them) isn't worth it. Trust me, I know all about that.

                            If you will work at going slow and concentrate on them eating (grazing) thru the rides and get that working for you then maybe you can turn them around. Unlikely, but maybe.

                            Bonnie

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