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Possible ulcers: Any cheap treatments?

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  • Possible ulcers: Any cheap treatments?

    Ugh, just went to a disastrous event last weekend and am suspecting ulcers as a possible cause for the boy's unusual behavior(very stressed, picky about his food, spooky, didn't want to leave his friends, started acting a bit girthy last week, which I thought I had corrected years ago, and stopping at fences to land us in the world of elimination)

    So after doing lots of reading it seems that UlcerGuard and GastroGuard are the same and the primary treatment method. However, they are obnoxiously expensive at $40 a tube everywhere I've seen so far. The only saving grace is that my guy is a pony(~700lbs) and would only need 1/2 tube per day, but that is still outrageously expensive and my wallet is already crying about our $400 dressage test since we couldn't complete the rest of our event.

    Does anyone know of a cheap source of either product? Or a similar product for treating ulcers?

  • #2
    Treatment, no. Gastrogard/Ulcergard is the only treatment.
    Prevention, yes. APF. Works amazing! The USET agrees.
    "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


    • Original Poster

      Thanks, I will definitely check it out for future use.
      But sadly it looks like I will be shelling out the big bucks for Ulcergard or Gastrogard. The vet should be out later this week to check him out and see if anything else might be going on, but after talking to her on the phone she is relatively confident that it is ulcers.


      • #4
        ranitidine helped take care of my mare's ulcers- and was much easier on my wallet. I got a prescription from my vet and got it at Costco- it cost me about $20 a week. I did that for 8 weeks and then did a week of ulcergard.


        • #5
          The Canadian omeprezole that was in a thread here recently is going for $14.99 a tube. I haven't used it, so no idea of it's quality, but you could search for that thread.


          • #6
            My old horse got scoped and diagnosed with gastric ulcers. The treatments fall into different categories.

            Sucralfate is a cytoprotectant...aka it coats the stomach and provides a physical barrier between the gastric mucosa and gastric acid.

            Ranitidine is an H2 blocker. H2 is histamine-2...yes, histamine is the stuff that is at work producing your hayfever and asthma and other allergies, but that's H1. H2 stimulates acid-producing cells in the stomach to secrete their acid. If you block the receptor for H2, the cell can't respond, so there is less acid. Ranitidine is the ingredient in Zantac. Cimetidine (Tagamet, the first drug of this type to hit the market), famotidine (Pepcid), and nizatidine (Axid) are in the came class.

            Omeprazole (GastroGard, UlcerGard, and Prilosec for humans) is a proton pump inhibitor. The proton pump is in the acid-producing cells, and is a little molecular pump responsible for actually moving the acid from inside the cell out into the stomach. Omeprazole stops the pump from doing its job.

            I have treated my own heartburn with Prilosec (which I fondly refer to as my GastroGard), and I think it is a miracle drug. I have not had a single episode of heartburn since starting the drug. It's what I would want to be on if I had an ulcer.

            Talk to your vet about all these options. There's no rule that says if you try something and it doesn't work you have to stick with it, and even though the H2 blockers are all in the same class, one might work better for your horse than another. The individual is an important part of the equation for whether a drug will work or not!


            • #7

              not sure what your situation is. The cheapest solution is to quit feeding grain and quit meal feeding and to keep hay/alfalfa in front of him. Turn him out, get out of a stall. This website is an interesting read for sure.

              You can treat with expensive ulcer remedies all you want but if you don't stop what is causing the ulcers you will always have them and the expense.


              • #8
                www.omeprazoledirect.com Several huge threads on it here recently.

                *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                • #9
                  Ulcer Treatment - Gastrix

                  My vet prescribed Gastrix for my horse. It was $100 a gallon and it worked wonders. We used the full gallon the first month he was on it because we were giving it twice a day. This is a thick green liquid that smells like apples and has a long list of natural ingredients including aloe vera juice. My guy LOVED it! We also switched him from oats to a pelleted feed to help prevent a relapse. SmartPak has some of the same ingredients in their digestive supplements.

                  Here is their URL: http://www.researchassoc.net/main/RE...C2=Supplements. You'll need a prescription from your vet to order.

                  Ulcers are no fun. I hope your horsie recovers quickly.


                  • #10
                    Gastrix and alfalfa is what we used - eventually pulled him off the Gastrix after about 6 months, still gets a couple of flakes of alfalfa when he will be in his stall. Gastrix is the prescription strength of Finish Line's U7 but I only paid $80 for my jug.

                    When we are bring a new horse to the barn or shipping somewhere or anything which could be stressful, we will add 2oz of Gastrix a few days before and leave him on it for a few days after to prevent any flare ups.

                    The stuff is great - doesn't need to be refrigerated and you can add it to their feed - don't need to dose it. I went to the pharmacy and got 2oz prescription bottles so I could premeasure for a couple feedings at time.


                    • #11
                      Prevention, yes. APF. Works amazing! The USET agrees.
                      And the USET is an authority on herbal products?

                      My ulcery horse came to me on APF. Didn't prevent diddly.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks guys.My vet is currently out of town so I can't get any prescriptions until she comes back so I think I will start him on Gastrogard for now, and then we can talk to her about any prescriptions available, and then about long term prevention.
                        howardh-the boy lives in a drylot mini pasture w/ other horses, so sadly no constant grazing, but he gets fed quality grass/alfalfa 3x daily, lots of turnout, no grain(he gets fat just looking at food). This year our training and competing has definitely stepped up a couple notches, so it looks like that is probably the issue, and I definitely intend to look into any and all preventative measures b/c last weekend was miserable, and I hate the thought of the pony not feeling well.
                        Thanks all


                        • #13
                          Gastroguard is the "gold standard" for treatment. If you get a scope done, and the ulcers are a lower grade (like grade 1 or early grade 2) then you may have good luck with ranitidine. It needs to be dosed 3 times a day so it's not always convienent. I use it a lot because I can get it at cost, which is only $40/month to give it a try on a suspected ulcer horse.

                          My newest OTTB is skinny and did not seem like he enjoyed eating at all; 3 days into the ranitidine treatment and he's now cleaning up every meal and grazing with vigor.


                          • #14
                            Is the horse insured? If you get her scoped with a diagnoses of ulcers they will pay for your gastrogaurd.


                            • #15
                              After a course of GastroGard I put my guy on SmartPak's Smart Gut and no more problems. www.smartpakequine.com Of all the digestive supplements I've tried, it works the best.
                              Most people don't need a $35,000 horse. They need a $1,000 horse and $34,000 in lessons.

                              "I don't have to be fair… . I'm an American With a Strong, Fact-Free Opinion." (stolen off Facebook)


                              • #16
                                Ask your vet about ordering compounded Omeprazole from their pharmacy supplier. Omeprazole aka "Gastro Gaurd" is far less expensive if you have it compounded. (Think walmart brand Acetaminophen vs. Tylenol: same drug molucule just different lables and advertising). I have used compounded Omep on clients FEI horses and had great results when they were re-scoped afterwards. When in Wellington this winter we were getting compounded paste Omep for 10.00 a full dose or 5.00 for a maintenance dose. I spoke with a jumper rider who was top-dressing his horses grain with compounded powdered Omep and I think it was even cheaper like 2.00-4.00 but I was leary about trying it.

                                I also give the thumbs up to tons of good quality non-rich hay and any probiotic top dress for grain. Yeast is great and cost effective, we feed Yea-Sacc and love it: http://www.alltech.com/uk/brands/Pages/Yea-Sacc.aspx


                                • #17
                                  Management, management, management.

                                  As much turnout as possible (within reason... not 24 hours on spring grass enough to founder) and/or free choice hay with some alfalfa component at some point if the pony can metabolically handle it.

                                  You can save a little by using the gastroguard/omeprazole starting a day or two before a stressful event and stopping when you get home (assuming events/shipping/training escapades = stress).


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Emy: what exactly is 'compounded' omeprazole? A different process than what Merial is doing? I've googled it and seached on here, but right now I'm running purely on coffee and sleep deprived after a loooong week, so my eyes just go cross eyed looking at anything technical.

                                    Found this site, which seems to be saying that Gastrogard is absorbed better and the compounded isn't as effective. Anyone else have more info on this?

                                    And, since I love Smartpak and had to check out all their ulcer products, has anyone used SmartShip&Show or SmartDigestUltraPaste? It looks like they could be a considerably cheaper alternative to giving gastrogard during shows


                                    • #19
                                      A compounded drug is one that is taken, post-manufacture, and mixed or altered somehow. (flavored, combined with another drug, etc.) a normal pharmaceutical, such as GG, is manufactured all at once as the final product.

                                      Compounding can be and often is done at plants that are not under FDA regulation, so there is always at least a theoretical risk that a compounded drug will not have the same rigorous quality control, and/or that the compounding will somehow affect the quality or potency or safety of the original drug.

                                      This is totally different from a generic drug, which is manufactured (if it's a US drug) under the same regulatory FDA control as a brand name drug.

                                      The problem with omeprazole is that it is very fragile in an acid environment and MUST be either buffered or protected somehow in order for it tio survive ingestion and have time to work.

                                      There are half a dozen very long and informational threads on this topic recently. Search "gastroenterologist" and you will find it.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        Well, it seems like everyone has an opinion. Compounding companies mimic a "Brand Name" drug. Below is a quote from a vet that sums up the debate.

                                        "Compounded drugs are made off-license by a compounding pharmacy. Their role is to provide drugs that are not available from the regular patent-holding manufacturers for various reasons. One reason for the popularity of compounded medications is that they are usually cheaper than their licensed counterparts, because compounders have not had to fund the research and approval process for the medication. There are many high-quality compounders in business and they generally produce reliable products, but studies have shown a wide range in the actual amount of drug in a single product obtained from several different pharmacies. There are many situations where I have chosen to use a compounded product and have been very satisfied with the results. I do realize that Gastroguard is a very expensive product and I hate the fact that some horses with ulcers aren’t treated because of financial reasons. If I suspect that a horse has gastric ulcers, the best way to confirm the condition and response to treatment is by gastroscopy. Many of the clinical signs however are easy to detect and the drug poses no risk to the horse, so we often treat based on the assumption of ulcers and look for general improvement. Many horses responded well to the compounded paste formulation, but I don’t think the liquid form is as stable and effective. If there is no improvement and we are pretty sure that ulcers are a problem, I strongly encourage using the licensed version “Gastroguard”. " Dr.M.Mckee

                                        The jist seems to be that IF you horse has severe bleeding ulcers Gastrogard is prob the way to go IF you have the $. I think it also depends on your vet having a reliable Compounding Pharm, talk to yours about the Compounded Omep they deal. They will prob have 50-60 horses in their practice on it and will know if it is working or not. This is safer than buying it from an online Pharmacy. I thought similar to yourself and we had our horse on Compounded Omep for maintenance and Gastrogard for long trips and competitions, believing it was “better” for the horse. I have now had 2 FEI vets tell me that is ridiculous. A good compounded Omep paste composition will be just as effective. It seems like everyone has an opinion and it depends on if the Vet/Clinic reps and deals Merial products exclusively. I would take Horses Daily with a grain of salt as they often appear to be a glorified PR company. And judging by the search results when you type in Gastrogard into their search function and get 4 pages of “news” results I would hazard to guess Merial is a client.