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weight gain and ulcers in the young event horse -- advice or suggestions?

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  • #21
    I also know a horse who was extremely hard to get past that "passably skinny" point for years. He recently had a low but positive EPM titre. Will be interesting if he starts to thrive more once he is treated.
    Amanda

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    • #22
      Originally posted by JER View Post
      I don't know that he's had moxidectin.

      How do you test for the presence of such creatures? Is there a specific deworming protocol to follow?

      Danny was in BC while you were having this problem, might have been something in BC conditions that made redworms an issue that year.
      Sent you an email.

      For others, here is a link which explains much of what I found out about the evil worms and some of the problems we have due to worms that are resistant to our dewormers. This link also has a very useful chart showing different worm types and recommended rotations of dewormers.

      Encysted cyathastomes (small red worms) don't show up in fecal egg counts - so you can't necessarily test for them. Although Fenbendazole is often recommended for the encysted cyathastomes, the vets I spoke with (and some research I read) suggested that moxidectin is more effective and/or the worms are not resistant to it.
      Blugal

      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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      • #23
        I had fecals tested for occult blood - recommended Quest and seemed to clear up the problem - it could have been ulcers.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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        • #24
          My hard-to-keep OTTB is on Ultiuum, with 2 different probiotics (one specifically for hind gut), ranitidine with each of his two meals, platinum performance, and free choice alfalfa (even when he's out on grass). While I haven't had him scoped, he used to crib like mad and since he's been on alfalfa and aforementioned products, there is NO cribbing. And, he's round enough and very shiny!

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          • #25
            Originally posted by JER View Post

            I'd work on the 'less anxiety' idea, except that I'd have to give him some anxiety first. This is a very assertive, calm horse, both on the ground and under saddle. He would make an excellent police horse -- it's that kind of brain and temperament. He's not being stoic. He's curious about everything and he's quite expressive.
            There are horses who evolve with a stronger "fight" reaction. Often they're males, as that's what a stallion does for his herd. Leaders have to keep a cool head, but that doesn't mean it they don't stress about it!

            However, I can't imagine a better scenario for avoiding ulcers as the one you described so, yeah, I got nothing!
            When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by Robby Johnson View Post
              Leaders have to keep a cool head, but that doesn't mean it they don't stress about it!
              You really have to meet Danny. His favorite activities are (1) sorting through piles of junk and (2) looking at himself in the mirror. He likes other horses just fine but he's doesn't care at all if he's alone. He really does his own thing, on his own time.

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              • #27
                Not a vet, of course, and this should not be construed as medical advice . . . (you know me, I have to say that )

                (Not to mention, it is probably worth what you pay for it )

                But, one thing that sticks out to me is that I wouldn't scope him again unless you have no other choice. You know he has issues (as folks here have mentioned that many cribbers do) and there are some studies somewhere (which, of course, I should know *where* to find them, but I can't remember) that have shown that the very environment in which you set them up to be scoped can create ulcers, especially in an ulcer prone horse.

                Our new OTTB mare responded well to a couple of days of GG, so I went ahead and put her on the SmartGut -- I really like the set up of being able to compare all the different options side by side and that was the one I liked both price and ingredient wise the best. She has done great on it so far -- she is finishing her food, although I want her to plump up immediately, like everyone else here, and that hasn't happened.

                I designed my feeding program with my insulin resistant horse in mind, and everyone else eats the same thing. My NZTB has a tendency to be "ulcery" -- he just has a sensitive stomach, and he's done really well on the diet that I feed here. I would say don't be like me, and have a list of things that gets mixed together, but from your list, you already are! I feed low starch feed, alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, and a little bran (to balance the Ca/P ratios -- had professional help in balancing the stuff when I first started). For the hard keepers, they also get a rice bran supplement, and the new horse gets a little extra high fat feed.

                I have ordered a starter set of the blue pop rocks, and will use those with her, and then maintain her on the SmartGut, but while I was waiting for them to arrive, I started her on the SG now.

                It sounds like you are doing everything right, especially if he isn't showing any symptoms (other than the cribbing). FWIW, Ben was *tough* to put weight on when I first got him at 4 -- he got a lot of feed, and corn oil and other things to try to get him to gain. It seemed as if overnight when he was between 6 & 7, he porked up so much that he looked like a sausage dog on long skinny legs.

                It may be the calories required for growing are just burning faster than he can eat, but it sounds like you are on the right track with everything suggested here.

                Libby
                *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*
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                • #28
                  Can you switch him to free choice alfalfa rather than the timothy re "nice" pH effect of alfala for ulcerative horses?

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                  • #29
                    Hmmm.
                    I've fed a lot of hard-doers.
                    I really do not force a horse to eat something they dislike. Oils and high fat liquid supplements seem to have the opposite effect on some Thoroughbred types.
                    I usually switch thru feeds, JER, before I find one they relish and then stick with it about two weeks until I see some sort of difference -- either a bloom on the coat or little bit of weight gain.
                    Do you use a weight tape regularly to see if there are any changes -- up or down?
                    I know you want to do something, but I think more roughage before more concentrate is a generally safe rule of thumb.
                    I think the cribbing is the culprit. It stresses his system.
                    Could be just weather...hot and buggy, more time inside, more cribbing opportunity...?
                    I have a horse whose been a stall walker all his life and I switched him to Buckeye Eq8 (equate) after trying many other feeds...he was on Southern States on and off for five years and never really liked it. Within two weeks on the Eq8 he began eating the bottom out of the tub. The ingredients should be listed on the Buckeye site. Just has the addition of some live probiotics, it is a high fat feed as well and other than that, I just think he likes the taste. It has made a very good noticeable difference. This has been the first BIG change I've seen in this horse in about six or seven years and everything else is the same, so I am pretty sure the feed is doing this. It took a month, though, before I could really see the fat cover over the ribs and the weight tape kept going down and down. Occasionally a big hunting day would show a loss the following day but mostly he maintained pretty well on it last winter.
                    In the straw-grasping category:
                    something insidious like Lymes perhaps -- doesn't have to have a clinically presented case of this to simply not do well and remain thin without any outward signs of disease for a long while.
                    Lymes is a tough disease to pin down and diagnose, for sure.
                    Heart murmer?
                    Low grade deep lung infection? Blood work would indicate something for that, though.
                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by Bensmom View Post
                      But, one thing that sticks out to me is that I wouldn't scope him again unless you have no other choice.
                      What you're really saying is that winning a free scope as a prize is perhaps not the best reason to scope a horse.

                      Originally posted by Bensmom View Post
                      FWIW, Ben was *tough* to put weight on when I first got him at 4 -- he got a lot of feed, and corn oil and other things to try to get him to gain. It seemed as if overnight when he was between 6 & 7, he porked up so much that he looked like a sausage dog on long skinny legs.
                      This is what happened with all of my homebred mares. They were skinny and immature until age 6. Unlike Danny, they were also mentally immature so they didn't go out in public much.

                      This is Danny last October at 3.5 years old, in an unskinny phase. We weren't feeding him anything special then, I just kept hay in front of him when he was in at night and gave him equine senior 1x day.
                      [/QUOTE]

                      Originally posted by alto View Post
                      Can you switch him to free choice alfalfa rather than the timothy re "nice" pH effect of alfala for ulcerative horses?
                      This depends on who he's sharing hay with. I'm not sure who he's out with at the moment but he does live in a social situation, which is why timothy is probably more advisable.

                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                      Hmmm.
                      I usually switch thru feeds, JER, before I find one they relish and then stick with it about two weeks until I see some sort of difference -- either a bloom on the coat or little bit of weight gain.
                      If you saw the above pic, you'll see he can get that look. He was getting equine senior before, so maybe we'll switch back to that.

                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                      I think the cribbing is the culprit. It stresses his system. Could be just weather...hot and buggy, more time inside, more cribbing opportunity...?
                      He's outside. He's not what I'd call a nervous cribber. It's more like a guy enjoying a beer.

                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                      In the straw-grasping category: something insidious like Lymes perhaps -- doesn't have to have a clinically presented case of this to simply not do well and remain thin without any outward signs of disease for a long while.
                      Lymes is a tough disease to pin down and diagnose, for sure.
                      That straw has been grasped at. Last month. By Mike Plumb, so consider yourself in good company. No Lyme, however.

                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                      Heart murmer?
                      That too. The vet actually commented on how good his heart is.

                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                      Low grade deep lung infection? Blood work would indicate something for that, though.
                      Interesting idea, but again, his blood is fine.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by JER View Post
                        Current diet is as follows:

                        -- free choice timothy
                        -- alfalfa 2x day
                        -- beet pulp 1x day
                        -- 6 qts textured 10% protein 10% fat 3x day
                        -- grass turnout with friends 24/7

                        We have consulted several vets, had bloodwork done, checked for parasites, etc. Nothing turned up
                        OK, aside from treating the ulcers, the weight issue - questions:

                        1.You know you need to weigh your feeds... How much alfalfa, beet (dry) and grain is he actually eating?

                        2. What brand/line of grain is he on? The protein and fat content are part of the picture - if they're also high in sugar and starch they could be helping those ulcers brew.

                        3. Parasites. Your vet may have checked for parasites but if they did a fecal it's worth noting that tapes don't show on fecals, and if you haven't dewormed regularly with a product that kills them (praziquantel), well. Similarly encysted larvae don't show up on fecals. I'd do a Panacur Power Pack and follow up a week later with a Zimecterin Gold.

                        4. Teeth? I have seen many mouths with awful sharp teeth that the vet said were fine. Go the equine dentist out and he showed me the waves, hooks, sores and so on.

                        5. Fat supplements. The expensive ones in little tubs don't actually give many calories to the horse - you're only supposed to feed an ounce or two! Pick any or all of the following: BOSS, ricebran, flax, oil. Feed up to 2# (or cups if oil) and in any combo your horse loves. Build up slowly - if he gets the runs its too much fat.

                        OK do all that and sit back and wait a month before you see any major changes!
                        ----------------------------------------
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                        http://pssm.xanthoria.com/
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                        • #32
                          I always have an assorted mix of ottb's that are coming in from various places- straight from track, from our let down farms and from other barns.

                          I have a routine that works for me:

                          -I powerpak everything right away. I just assume they need it. It doesn't hurt. Without a fecal you don't know what you have and my farm has quite a bit of turnover so I would rather they be clean to start.

                          I sort of just assume that all horses have ulcers. I feed straight alfalfa...I haven't died yet I find the alfalfa does the most for adding weight and making the stomach calm. It doesn't make the horses hot. The fatties don't get the alfalfa.

                          I really try to not feed a bunch of concentrates. I LOVE Triple Crown senior. It's a high fat/protein feed with very low sugar. It puts weight on w/o adding sugar. I try not to feed a bunch of it so if they need more calories than I add ration balancer to the senior. I like the TC 30%. A find that fat isn't always the answer with these horses. Protein really seems to do the trick (alfalfa/ration balancer for me). Some people do the tri amino to help with the muscle building as well.

                          I really like the cool calories. I also like the omega fat supplement that SStates carries.

                          I have had great success with the blue pop rocks. I had one that went off his feed, dropped weight, was kicking out and showing all ulcer signs. He seemed to make a complete turn around on the pop rocks. I was a bit skeptical but pleased. I didn't scope so can't say he did or didn't have the ulcers.

                          Turnout if they like it. I have stalls that open into my fields so they can just come and go. It seems to ease the nervous horses who don't want to be in but sometimes don't want to be out either. Ha, I let them decide.

                          When they are growing they can sometimes look worse before they look better. I know it can be really hard to accept especially when you want everybody to look awesome.

                          If your glenbear doesn't have alfalfa hay (hard to get in that area) than alfalfa cubes or pellets can work.
                          http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

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                          • #33
                            I am with Jlee. All of my horses get powerpacked, pop rocked, and put on a high quality, known nutrient feed (for example nutrena performance pellets). I will add a supplement with both probiotics and prebiotics and often will consider stablized rice bran along with the feed.
                            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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                            • #34
                              I did not feel cool calories or rice bran made any discernible difference (n=1). Of course, maybe they were preventing further weight loss... it's so hard to know with all the different factors involved. For the cost, I went back to feeding oil.
                              Blugal

                              You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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                              • #35
                                ^ I agree with Blugal, just fed straight veggie oil (usually canola) when needed. Same fat content as Cool Calories, but 1/4-1/3 price = more bang for the buck.
                                Nothing else to add, but to say it's all very interesting and I'm learning a lot.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                                  1.You know you need to weigh your feeds... How much alfalfa, beet (dry) and grain is he actually eating?

                                  2. What brand/line of grain is he on? The protein and fat content are part of the picture - if they're also high in sugar and starch they could be helping those ulcers brew.
                                  I'm in BC. Horse is in NC. Glenbaer would have to answer those questions. It's not high sugar AFAIK.

                                  Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                                  3. Parasites. Your vet may have checked for parasites but if they did a fecal it's worth noting that tapes don't show on fecals, and if you haven't dewormed regularly with a product that kills them (praziquantel), well. Similarly encysted larvae don't show up on fecals. I'd do a Panacur Power Pack and follow up a week later with a Zimecterin Gold.
                                  It's all been done over the past year. We'll be giving him moxidectin but this horse has been de-wormed more than most.

                                  Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                                  4. Teeth? I have seen many mouths with awful sharp teeth that the vet said were fine. Go the equine dentist out and he showed me the waves, hooks, sores and so on.
                                  He's seen dentists in BC and NC. When he was with me, I'd have him checked whenever a vet was in the barn (at two different barns). He had his teeth checked again a couple of months ago.

                                  Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                                  5. Fat supplements. The expensive ones in little tubs don't actually give many calories to the horse - you're only supposed to feed an ounce or two! Pick any or all of the following: BOSS, ricebran, flax, oil. Feed up to 2# (or cups if oil) and in any combo your horse loves. Build up slowly - if he gets the runs its too much fat.
                                  He got ground flax every day in BC. We could give him flax or oil now as well.

                                  Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                                  I always have an assorted mix of ottb's that are coming in from various places- straight from track, from our let down farms and from other barns.
                                  Because I didn't post it yet, Danny's history. Danny was born in Spokane, bred/raised by a quality small breeder who prides herself in raising healthy and sound TBs. Then he ws bought at the sales by a BC owner and sent to a well-regarded local trainer. She and her staff loved Danny -- he thoroughly enjoyed training and track life -- but in a handful of races in the fall of his 2YO year, he was happy to canter around at a relaxed pace of his own choosing. His breeder says they should have waited until his was 3 to race him; his dam's other 6 foals are all winners on the track. We laugh at the idea of trying to race Danny. He is shamelessly lazy.

                                  Nonetheless. his track connections were crazy about him and wanted him to find a good home, so they called the local rescue, who were reluctant to take on a 2YO TB but changed their minds upon meeting Danny. A number of volunteers at the rescue say that Danny is their favourite horse ever.

                                  The point I'm trying to make is that he's been well-loved and doted on for his entire life. This is not the case with many OTTBs.

                                  Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                                  I LOVE Triple Crown senior. It's a high fat/protein feed with very low sugar. It puts weight on w/o adding sugar. I try not to feed a bunch of it so if they need more calories than I add ration balancer to the senior. I like the TC 30%.
                                  He was getting this at one time. Maybe we'll go back to it, although we have ordered the special mix for ulcery horses.

                                  Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                                  When they are growing they can sometimes look worse before they look better. I know it can be really hard to accept especially when you want everybody to look awesome.
                                  Oh yes, I know this. I don't get worried about it, I just tell myself 'Wait a week, and they'll look better.' 'He's growing!' is my usually excuse with Danny.

                                  Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                                  If your glenbear doesn't have alfalfa hay (hard to get in that area) than alfalfa cubes or pellets can work.
                                  I use these for my harder keepers at home. Cubes can have iffy quality, so I tend to use pellets for better consistency.

                                  Originally posted by scubed View Post
                                  I am with Jlee. All of my horses get powerpacked, pop rocked, and put on a high quality, known nutrient feed (for example nutrena performance pellets). I will add a supplement with both probiotics and prebiotics and often will consider stablized rice bran along with the feed.
                                  This is very much what we did, minus the rice bran. It does seem to be a recipe that works.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Have one of these. Seven year old OTTB, raced at Emerald Downs. Cribber. Did not have him scoped when he got here almost two years ago as he "screamed" ulcer. Shiny healthy coat, hard keeper, terrible internalizer. Looks dead calm on the outside. . . lifts tail. . . you go in and change clothes if you are in the firing line.

                                    We treated with gastroguard (spent more on omeprazole than the horse cost!) Succeed, powerpacked, blue pop rocks.

                                    Finally found a feed he a. eats and b. puts weight on him. Tried to wean him off a generic omeprazole with poor results so we just have resolved ourselves to the fact he needs a stomach antiacid of some sort of the rest of his life.

                                    He gets beet pulp, a magnesium suppliement, generic omeprazole and Buckeye Feeds EQ8 Gut Health feed, good quality orchard alfalfa mix and is on 24/7 turn out. And it took almost two years to get weight on him. He travels hard and loses weight easily. wish that was the case for his owner!
                                    www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      You really have to meet Danny. His favorite activities are (1) sorting through piles of junk and (2) looking at himself in the mirror. He likes other horses just fine but he's doesn't care at all if he's alone. He really does his own thing, on his own time.
                                      does he ever find anything?
                                      RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                                      "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by JER View Post
                                        You really have to meet Danny. His favorite activities are (1) sorting through piles of junk and (2) looking at himself in the mirror. He likes other horses just fine but he's doesn't care at all if he's alone. He really does his own thing, on his own time.
                                        Wow, he sounds like the horse version of me! I would love him, yes!
                                        When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Danny's dream job would be hosting Antiques Roadshow.

                                          He also likes power tools, especially noisy ones with moving parts. The horse vacuum is his BFF.

                                          He also likes to reach under the wheelbarrow and pick it up by the front wheel to make a huge mess.

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