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Ulcers and Major Medical Insurance

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  • Ulcers and Major Medical Insurance

    I have a horse that I would bet the farm has ulcers. I have had her literally since the day she was born and know her like the back of my hand so I have a handle on when something isn't right with her.

    I tried the cheap stuff ie added alfalfa and U-7 but it hasn't helped. She is girthy, is grinding her teeth and is starting to seem a little back sore.

    Normally I would do a trial with gastrogard or ulcergard as a way of pseudo-diagnostics but then it occurred to me that she is insured. I believe I have to pay 30% of any diagnostics then I either have a $300-$500 deductible, I can't remember which as I have never used the policy. I am thinking it may be cheaper in the long run to treat without insurance via a trial then maybe switching to the Pop rocks if the results are favorable. Does that sound right? Have any of you treated your horses for ulcers by going through you MM?
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

  • #2
    The ulcer scoping can run anywhere from $200-500 depending on your vet. Then the UG/GG is about $35-40/day. So yes, using your insurance would save you some money. I'm not sure how it would compare to just doing it yourself; you'd have to do the math.

    I've just done one tube of UG/day for a week and if I saw a change, I figured they had ulcers and treated accordingly. For my mare, I did 1/2 tube a day for one week, then went to 1/4 tube/day for another week, and then put her on the maintenance dose of the pop rocks. She's gone from being crabby, girthy, spooky with loose stool to being pleasant to work around, completely ignores the girthing process, only spooks occasionally now, and her stool has firmed up. So I'm happy.


    • #3
      I have.

      They paid for the scope. My deductible was something like $250. They paid for the Gastrogard for 30 days. The horse is no longer covered for ulcers, ulcers are excluded forever.


      • Original Poster

        I don't plan on insuring her again so am not worried about exclusions. I just checked and my deductible is $325. I know I can treat with pop rocks for less than that.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          Keep in mind that the scope has to show ACTUAL ulcers in order for the insurance company to cover it and the treatment. Hindgut ulcers cannot be seen by a scope. Many "pre-ulcery" horses exhibit the signs you see and would benefit from a course of omeprazole. If ulcers are diagnosed the treatment will be covered but then be prepared for colic to be excluded from future policies. Ask me how I know.

          My vote is for a week of gastrogard and then a month of poprocks on your dime
          Originally posted by EquineImagined
          My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


          • Original Poster

            I ordered the pop rocks last night and immediately got an email from my credit card company stating my credit card had been locked due to a suspicious charge! I got it unlocked shortly afterwards.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • Original Poster

              I spent $202.75 on 7 tubes of ulcergard and $175 on pop rocks so I am now $50 over my deductible. Not sure if I made the right decision or not. I guess time will tell.
              McDowell Racing Stables

              Home Away From Home


              • #8
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                I spent $202.75 on 7 tubes of ulcergard and $175 on pop rocks so I am now $50 over my deductible. Not sure if I made the right decision or not. I guess time will tell.
                Don't submit that to the insurance company....they only pay for the meds IF you scope the horse and ulcers are found, If you submit it you have alerted them that you have a problem and they may refuse any stomach issues that may pop up later.
                Happily retired but used to be:


                • #9
                  I think you made the right choice. I'm happy with my choice not to have used the insurance 8 months ago, and my horse has been fine. I can use the insurance later if I want. I just noticed you don't plan to insure again. I still think it was the right choice, since there is a possibility nothing would have shown up on the scope, and you would have had that expense.


                  • #10
                    Please call it in anyway, as the way the policies read anything other than "normal" or preventive treatment is supposed to be reported. Rates don't change based on claims, so if you did decide to renew you would have an exclusion whether you called it in or not. And a scope is not required (they would just want a diagnosis from the vet) and ulcers are not normally a lifetime exclusion, at least not with the company I work for. They will usually review one year from the last date of treatment, if the horse has had no further symptoms or issues.
                    It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!


                    • Original Poster

                      I don't see how they could exclude ulcers if I didn't tell them I suspect she has them. A vet has not diagnosed her with or without a scope so a vet exam would be an additional expense.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home


                      • #12
                        Everything depends on your policy.

                        My horse is no longer covered for ulcers. Scope for them or GG treatment. He did at one time have a colic that my vet thought was a surgical case, that was covered. Colic was excluded for a year. He stayed healthy, colic is now covered again under his policy.

                        They can't exclude colic forever because a horse is diagnosed with ulcers. Colic symptoms have many causes. A horse that has had ulcers can have an impaction or a twist, which are both called colic, neither of which is caused by ulcers. If I had a policy that no longer covered colic because of an ulcer diagnosis, I'd find a new policy.


                        • #13
                          I don't see how they can exclude ulcers when the OP doesn't have a diagnosis, has never had a vet look at the horse for ulcers, and is treating with Ulcergard, which is marketed as a preventative.