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It walks & talks like an ulcer - YEP IT'S AN ULCER

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  • It walks & talks like an ulcer - YEP IT'S AN ULCER

    Symptoms: Stiff sore back, very touchy on back, flanks, and tummy, girthy. On-going & getting worse for about 2 months.

    Horse is sound behind (verified with lameness eval by sporthorse vet).

    Saddle fit has been verified no less than THREE times by 2 good saddle fitters.

    I've given 7 full tubes of Ulcergard (one/day for a week) - no difference. Although there was 1 good day after the 4th dose of Gastrogard, prompting me to buy the rest of the 30-day dose - but then she reverted right back to stiff/sore/cranky. (Oh hell what's another $800? )

    What else could it be??
    Last edited by retrofit; Oct. 22, 2012, 08:07 AM.
    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

  • #2
    Kissing spine?
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

    Comment


    • #3
      I would try to find a good chiro/acupuncture person.

      Both my upper level mare and my upper level gelding exhibited those symptoms when in need of serious chiro. My mare was a train wreck when I got her and took a lot of chiro/acupuncture and conditioning to get her to a good place where she was okay with being brushed and saddled (etc.). Ulcers were never an issue for her.

      My gelding was the poster child for ulcers AND a train wreck physically when he came off of the track (his pelvis looked like it had been set on his body by a toddler putting together legos). We got him to an ulcer-free point via omeprazole, but the body work has always had more of an impact on his comfort level through his back. He's never loved being brushed on his stomach/flank area, though, even in peak condition and while on omeprazole.

      The caveat, though, is that it's only worth going the chiro/acu route if you can find someone who really "gets" it. I would suggest you find someone that gets rave reviews from people you know. I can't think of a time that I haven't felt a difference on my next ride after my vet (who is my chiro/acupuncturist) has worked on my horses. And much of the time, with a horse like you describe, I can see a difference in how the horse holds it's body and walks off from the crossties before and after treatment.

      Good luck!
      __________________________________
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rabicon View Post
        Kissing spine?
        Totally a shot in the dark, but that was my guess too. This was what I dealt with in my previous kissing spine horse.

        Kind of counter intuitive, since you've been thinking ulcers, but if it was my horse, I might be inclined to try several days of an anti inflammatory and see if that makes a difference. Tells you if it might be a pain issue or not. You have to weigh that against the chance the meds will upset the belly more. So I'd be consulting my vet too before I proceeded.

        Comment


        • #5
          Selenium or Vit E deficiency? or both?

          Sore hocks?

          Feet imbalanced/issue?

          I have a horse with broken withers. While he didn't have the symptoms your horse has (he also had ulcers and he still didn't have those symptoms though, so take it for what its worth), I can say that the better a saddle "fit", in the textbook sense, the more painful it was to him. The point of my saying this is, play detective and experiment with different saddles if you can (ie friends, bareback, etc) and let the horse verify the fit... as things are not always as they seem.

          Same horse was evaluated by a lameness specialist, and presented sound in the hocks, but when I pressed for rads found a bone spavin. Horse immediately responded to his hocks injected and lifts his back and overtracks now. While he wasn't off, he's much improved now.

          This horse isn't able to be ridden and is a driving horse now.

          Good luck!
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

          Comment


          • #6
            Do not go by a 7 days trial if everything else points to ulcers.

            We did 8 full days of Gastro Gard with my mare and I saw NO CHANGE. I took her to get her scoped.

            www.photobucket.com/ulcers

            On the 28th day, we rescoped her, and even on that 28th day i was convinced they were not healed because she wasn't seemingly "much better." They were healed though, as proven by teh scope. I think sometimes the behaviors become learned from being uncomfortable/in pain for an extended period of time.

            Please, if you are fairly certain its ulcers, get a scope done. Then, if its not, you won't waste money on ulcer meds. But if it is, you'll know what you're dealing with.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by retrofit View Post
              I've given 7 full tubes of Ulcergard (one/day for a week) - no difference. Although there was 1 good day after the 4th dose of Gastrogard, prompting me to buy the rest of the 30-day dose - but then she reverted right back to stiff/sore/cranky. (Oh hell what's another $800? )
              So you completed 30 days of GastroGard, 1 tube daily, and then once you stopped she reverted back? That would say to me that it IS ulcers, and may be something going on that causes her ulcers to come right back. Delayed gastric emptying maybe?
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

              Comment


              • #8
                Having the same issue - in kinda spades. Horse currently unrideable, and she gets to where she doesnt want touched in the middle of her cycle.

                Vets aren't sure if it's hormonal or pain. I did ulcer meds and she perked up some, but I think whatever else is going on was making her tummy hurt.

                Starting a 10 day course of banamine to see what happens.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you suspect ulcers, what have you done to manage her to help prevent them from coming back?

                  Does she have forage available at all times?

                  Do you use UlcerGard or the Abler product granules during stress?

                  Are you certain that you even know what stresses her out? (My mare internalizes, I have no idea sometimes because she doesn't seem stressed AT ALL)

                  Is she on a low starch diet?

                  Is there a horse in her turnout that perhaps picks on her and causes her to stress?

                  Is she alone in her field and is too busy watching out for herself so she cannot sleep? (Stress of being alone - my mare doesn't pace or whinny, but will go slightly off feed if she is left alone for longer than a few hours)


                  You can treat ulcers all day long with medication, but you also need to manage the horse's environment to make sure its not conducive to ulcer creation.
                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                    So you completed 30 days of GastroGard, 1 tube daily, and then once you stopped she reverted back? That would say to me that it IS ulcers, and may be something going on that causes her ulcers to come right back. Delayed gastric emptying maybe?
                    No, I've only done 7 days of Ulcergard (full tube per day). Today is the 8th day. After my horse's 1 good day I got all cocky and ordered the 23 other tubes of Ulcergard, and now I feel stupid because it may or may not be ulcers.

                    Re: kissing spine - My vet is coming back on Monday and I've been toying with the idea of back xrays. Sounds like that might be worthwhile.

                    Thanks everyone for the responses so far. Please, keep 'em coming!
                    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As I said, if everything points to ulcers, get a scope. Then, you have the medication already if you need it. If its not ulcers, you can return it and get yoru money back.

                      My mare was not even remotely better on day 8 - and you can see that she DID have ulcers, pretty nasty ones.

                      The concensus was that they were bad enough, that 8 days just wasn't enough.
                      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by tollertwins View Post
                        Having the same issue - in kinda spades. Horse currently unrideable, and she gets to where she doesnt want touched in the middle of her cycle.

                        Vets aren't sure if it's hormonal or pain. I did ulcer meds and she perked up some, but I think whatever else is going on was making her tummy hurt.

                        Starting a 10 day course of banamine to see what happens.
                        This same horse did that last year at this time. Turns out her cycles had gotten irregular in the fall (not uncommon) and she had a lot of retained ovaries. This made her lower back stiff and her attitude go to hell. Get her ultrasounded by a repro vet and consider Regumate.

                        FWIW: bute, banamine, and robaxin did nothing for her during this time.
                        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If it is not ulcers, I'd go with Selenium deficiency or magnesium deficiency. Signs of mg deficiency (BTW - acid blockers deplete magnesium - she may need some anyway)

                          from www.performanceequineusa.com - makers of MagRestore:

                          •Very tight, sore back not related to activity, fitness level or saddle fit

                          •Horse never really relaxes

                          •Cranky about being brushed or palpated especially over the back on either side of the spine

                          •Cranky about being blanketed

                          •History of tying up

                          •Muscle tremors or all over trembling not related to outside temperature

                          •Requires long periods of lunging before being able to focus on work

                          •Does not tolerate work well and works up, not down

                          •Bucks shortly after workout begins, seems fine at first then bucks or balks

                          •Would be described as 'thin skinned' or hypersensitive to touch

                          •Chiropractic adjustments, massage and body work do not have lasting effects

                          •Has difficulty getting round or picking his back up under saddle, moves hollow

                          •Difficulty focusing on work, poor work ethic

                          •Can't be still, repetitive movement, weaving, pacing, head bobbing

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Mg deficiency

                            I've kept this in the back of my mind, but I'm skeptical because she only fits about 2 or 3 of those symptoms. She's actually quite calm. Certainly not nervous, not in constant motion. Definitely no tying up or muscle spasms. She focuses well. She is only cranky about being touched on her torso - back, flanks, and tummy. She still loves being petted & rubbed on her neck and I often give her a friendly pat on her butt as I walk by, and that goes over well.

                            Would the absence of most of these symptoms rule out Mg deficiency?

                            Can this be tested in a CBC?

                            Just to add, all the articles I read about omeprazole depleting Mg referenced long-term use usually in combination with a diuretic like Lasix - and she's only been on it a week and doesn't get any diuretics. Would this also rule it out?

                            Please excuse my skepticism ... just trying to increase my understanding.
                            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lyme?

                              The more I learn, the more I discover no 2 horses have the same symptoms. And boy is it prevailent in our area. Blood test is not overly expensive and gives you good data.
                              ~Veronica
                              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Keep going. It can take more than 7 days for her to show that she's feeling better.
                                High Quality Tack Resale

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You hear a lot of stories of people doing 1 tube of ulcergard and their horse is better, symptom wise, the next day... not everyone is that lucky. I did a week of the pop rocks, no change... got my horse scoped and started ulcergard... gave him 7 days off work while we started the ulcergard and after that I started to see an improvement. He was on ulcergard for 40-something days (including the tapering off/down period at the end). If you haven't stopped riding yet, try adding in a week of time off while you continue the ulcergard (since work is a stressor).
                                  "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by retrofit View Post
                                    Can this be tested in a CBC?
                                    No. You need a chem panel and the vet needs to ask specifically for Mg levels. Nothing wrong with being skeptical. I find much of the marketing hype for products like this are just that. Hype with tons of testimonials.

                                    Odd that they don't include Mg levels in their studies proving those horses were deficient to begin with, don't you think? Then again, maybe not so odd.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by retrofit View Post
                                      This same horse did that last year at this time. Turns out her cycles had gotten irregular in the fall (not uncommon) and she had a lot of retained ovaries. This made her lower back stiff and her attitude go to hell. Get her ultrasounded by a repro vet and consider Regumate.

                                      FWIW: bute, banamine, and robaxin did nothing for her during this time.

                                      If this doesnt work - then their next deal is trying the regumate. Her progesterone was 2.5x normal when she was really bad, so they didn't want to do the regumate first in case that made her worse....



                                      She's had 2 ultrasounds, altho not by repro specialists - no evidence of retained follicles....

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OK, so apologies if this is a stupid question and/or i missed something posted already, but has your horse been scoped to confirm the presence of ulcers? and the location of the ulcers?

                                        my horse suffered from pretty severe ulcers last summer. we started with gastrogard + sucralfate, and this didn't work. (very discouraging because i think the combination of gastrogard + sucralfate works in many cases.) eventually what did the trick was gastrogard + misoprostil. i think the misoprostil affects the blood vessels by increasing blood flow, and is also supposed to increase mucus production. my understanding is that the misoprostil is more potent than sucralfate, but can be more likely to have side effects like stomach cramping. at least, that's what i recall from my experience and what i can remember from my conversations with my vet....would definitely talk to your vet about this.

                                        this took months to resolve, by the way, with multiple scopes along the way.

                                        good luck!!
                                        Last edited by Nilla Wafer; Oct. 19, 2012, 02:00 PM.

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