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Camped out behind... A sign of ulcers?

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  • Camped out behind... A sign of ulcers?

    sore hocks? sore back?

    I have an older pony that does this on occasion. Can't seem to trace it exactly to anything really... so am comin' to the Board.

    Could it be discomfort in the tummy, and standing 'stretched out' is a way to relieve it? Or sore hocks and back ('tho doesn't really respond to palpation, etc., and movement seems to be the same).

    Pony ridden easy 3x a week, does have turnout but grass is totally gone now, nice sunny stall with web door, good friend next door.

    Any input appreciated!

  • #2
    I always associated it with a sore back, though hocks could always cause that, or vice versa. Additionally, is the horse on a Vitamin E/SE supplement? Not sure where you are located but clearly remember the vet mentioning this with a lesson pony who was standing camped out, and was also a bit back sore.


    • #3
      I've only seen two horses do this. One did have tummy troubles from sand accumulation, the other had serious stifle problems.


      • #4
        IME, especially in an old Pony, it's been a sore back from a lifetime of saddles that don't quite fit, kid riders of varying abilities and no maintainance. For some reason, nobody seems to remember Ponies have all the same joints horses do.

        I don't like just throwing supplements at things that could need more aggressive methods-not to mention a medical diagnosis ruling out repeated mild colics or other internal problems.

        Come to think of it, I recall one that actually was having trouble with sore feet and would stand camped out sometimes...was not mine so don't recall what exactly was going on there (and none of my business to inquire) but it responded well to whatever the vet and farrier did that relieved the pain. IIRC it was not that complicated or $$$$.

        I know you probably don't want to throw a bunch of money at this but....maybe the vet should come have a good, basic look. You might ask about an NSAID for pain relief, something like Previcox that does not upset the tummy, especially when it's cool out. Maybe a GOOD chiropractor too. One that works with the vet and does not claim to replace the need for one.

        That old pony has earned a little help with whatever is bothering him.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          Yes to ulcers. My ulcer horse did this.

          Yes to sore back from sore hocks, or just sore hocks.

          Yes to selenium deficiency, which would make horse sore in the big muscle groups (see my updated post on the itchy horse and diagnosis).

          I'd have the horse looked at for all 3 above. Minimum I'd test treat ulcergard to see if horse responds to meds.


          • #6
            If the only "symptom" is that the horse stands a little stretched out, I would have a vet do an overall exam to see if something can be diagnosed before shelling out money for UlcerGard. While it *can* be a symptom as DLDR experienced with her horse, unless the horse is exhibiting other "ulcer" symptoms, I would save the money for a vet exam and go from there.

            If the vet deems it possible that its ulcers, spend the money on a scope to be sure. I spent thousands on my mare of trial and error treatment, after she did NOT respond to 8 days on UlcerGard, full tube daily, or anything else we "treated" her for, only to find out that when I did eventually scope, it was in fact ulcers. Scoping seems like an expensive up front cost, but why treat with ulcergard if its not ulcers? the treatment is far more than the initial cost of hte scope, and not all horses show signs of "improvement" on ulcergard, as evidenced by my mare, who wasn't back to being her normal self until day 30.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • Original Poster

              This pony is late teens and been around the block; I've had him for about 1 year as a lease.

              He does receive sel + E, since July or so. Don't think he is muscle sore, as I work on him semi-regularly and have only the occasional 'sore' reaction and mostly only a pleasurable response from him.

              He is indeed hock-y, which is better on some days than others. His work load is to carry a child around w-t-c, very low jumps (think 'below knee' 2-3x week. We have already injected his front feet, which made him a ton more comfy, and have him on 2x/month Adequan, and daily Isox. Which is a long way of saying that, yes, he is hocky, but I am finding it hard to ask the client to pay even more $ to maintain this wonderful little pony (they love him) and therefore the hock injects are on the back burner. He also may be leaving in a few months.

              But, to me, the camping out + the girthyness + noting that other horses I work with were showing suddenly wood chewing, etc., behavior got me seriously thinking that this pony may have a sour or ulcer-y stomach. He gets bute, and we're going to add cimetidine to his diet and try to move him to previcox.

              So, question: in the meantime, and in general, is it worthwhile to take this pony grazing to help ease his stomach in addition to the cimetidine? He's on a dirt lot (lack of land), but I can find grass down the road for him.
              Last edited by cyberbay; Mar. 5, 2012, 12:12 PM.


              • #8
                IF this pony does have ulcers:

                1) get him off Bute ASAP. It will only irritate his ulcers even more. Also, I know Previcox is a "safe" NSAID, but nevertheless, its still an NSAID, and will irritate ulcers also. My mare who had ulcers (we hadn't confirmed it at the time) went completely off feed after taking Previcox for only 4 days in a row. If joint pain is an issue, he is better of NOT getting an oral pain medication, but instead having your vet do joint injections or Adequan IM for joint health and comfort.

                2) forage, forage, forage, available all the time (hard if the pony gets fat on air, but you didn't say he has a special diet requirement so I'm assuming he is "normal). Either via hay in front of him 24/7, or pasture, or both. IF pasture is not available, definitely hay free choice.

                3) alfalfa hay has been shown to reduce the chance of horses developing ulcers, and has shown that it helps buffer the stomach to make a horse with ulcers more comfortable. See this article from Kentucky Equine Research:
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                • Original Poster

                  Sucker... I'm just checking in on possible symptoms and pony is right now and has always been being actively discussed with vet. We've got the treatments lined up, and am fully aware of bute use and its problems and possible efficacy of alfalfa; if you saw my posts, he already gets injections and frequent Adequan. Thanks. Doubtful about doing more diagnostics, as the pony may be offlease shortly. And pony has lovely pile of hay in front of him whether in his boring little paddock or in his sunny stall.

                  Any thoughts out there on grass?


                  • #10
                    I think I confused your thread with a thread about a horse that was not getting Adequan because of cost, oops!

                    What is your question specifically about grass? If it will be good for him?
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                    • #11
                      What is his breeding? Could be ulcers, could be sore hocks, back etc. My first pony was probably part Morgan, however, and he "parked" to sleep in the sun....came naturally to him. That is probably way too obvious to be a solution...and at the very least the girthiness, etc. sounds worth treating even if his parking is fine.

                      Grass isn't going to hurt him as long as he's not prone to potential laminitis. If he has 24/7 access to hay, however, I doubt it is going to help.


                      • Original Poster

                        Yes, Sucker... I mention hand-grazing this little pony, as there is no grass avail. on the property, so am willing to scoot down the road (with pony) to where there is some grass, IF grass will ameliorate his symptoms.

                        I mention grazing only b/c I know of another horse who is also acting sort of tummy-ouchy (he recently started wood chewing and I've been thinking that he, too, is ulcer-girthy all of a sudden) and he came off his grass field about a month ago (routine annual restriction to preserve fields; will go back on to them in about 6 wks) and he kinda stomps around his quite roomy dry lot, peeved about the closed gate. He, too, has lovely hay supply, as in good quality, lots to eat, nicely social.

                        Fordtraktor: yes, pony has 24/7 access to good hay. Breeding... hmmm. I think there is TB way back in him, with some sort of type-y pony breed. Adorable head and neck, skinny little legs, fluffy forelock. Maybe Welsh, but you don't think "Ah...hardy Dartmoor type!"


                        • #13
                          Standing camped out behind can also be indicative of stones/enteroliths. With a pony though---I'd ask the vet to listen for sand. Sounds very much like "Waves on the Beach" if the accumulation is signifigant.
                          Redbud Ranch
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                          • #14
                            While you're waiting for your scope, how is his sheath? Some KY , wait a day and use warm water to rinse off. Or you can leave it in ( this only applies to KY, any other cleaner has soap/itchy stuff you can't leave in ).
                            My Arab did this at his last barn and someone said he'd been halter shown. Nope I've had him since he was a year old, so that was a misidentification.

                            He hasn't done this at his new barn.


                            • #15
                              My pssm mare did that on occasion. That is also something to check into.if you haven't already.


                              • Original Poster

                                Chall... good idea. I will do his sheath.

                                And if PSSM, wouldn't I see other symptoms, like loss of muscle, grumpyness, etc.?

                                The one thing I do think is that this pony gets kind of narcoleptic when the girth is tightened. I tighten girths very, very gradually, but he looks like he might be getting sleepy often when it's girth time.

                                Sort of good news: I rode him yesterday, and he did no camping out and no girthy reaction. Hmmm.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by cyberbay View Post
                                  The one thing I do think is that this pony gets kind of narcoleptic when the girth is tightened. I tighten girths very, very gradually, but he looks like he might be getting sleepy often when it's girth time.
                                  My mare did the EXACT same thing when her arthritis starting bothering her...

                                  This was my vet's explanation:
                                  Horses need REM sleep just like people. When something is uncomfortable, they cannot get this, its like when you have a back ache and just cannot get a good nights sleep. Eventually you will be exhausted. So, if something is causing the horse discomfort, they get to the piont where they are literally falling asleep on their feet. Makes sense. So, we injected her hocks, she was visibly better riding, no more bucking/crow hopping at the canter like before the injections. Know what else stopped? The falling asleep standing up and when girthing! Very interesting. I"m not sure why girthing makes it more pronounced, but my mare would almost fall down after girthing if I even tighted just a little and did not walk her. She would also fall asleep in the field, and her knees would buckle REAL slow, until she was almost falling down. She always caught herself though.

                                  I would say that something (be it ulcers or something else) is causing some level of discomfort in your horse, and this is happening to him.
                                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."