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Pony with "interesting" gastro issues

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  • Pony with "interesting" gastro issues

    Hello Cothers. I frequently read the forums however I rarely post threads, but today I really need a little help.

    I have a lovely med. pony for my DD we bought a year and a half ago. She was an absolute superstar until three months ago when her attitude did a 180. She went from forward happy pony to resistant cranky pony. I had her tested for Lyme and it came back equivocal however we still treated with Doxy. We gave the pony 3 weeks off and put her back in work to have the same issues.

    People tried to tell me she was just being naughty, but I know this pony. I schooled her from the day we purchased her and there was definitely something bothering her. I don't wan't horses to associate work with pain. She also had episodes of being colicky and began losing weight.

    I then had her gastro scoped. The scope revealed nodules or lesions on the squamas epithelium of her belly as well as hyperkeritosis and ulcerations. We also did a fecal which was fine and blood work that showed a WBC count of 500. Vet had us treat with 30 days gastoguard and made appointment with gastro specialist in 30 days to biopsy nodules. The gastroguard appeared to help at first however all the previous symptoms came back not to mention more colicky episodes.

    We had the biopsy done today and the nodules/lesions still look as angry as they did 30 days prior. We then ultra sounded her and found thickening of the duodenum and fluid in the left side of her abdomen. You could see her spleen floating in fluid. Now I am freaking out a bit. The vet tapped her abdomen to collect a sample. We also did more blood work prior to exam and it revealed her WBC count is now 300. Now I am panicking inside. I will get the biopsy and fluid results Fri. or Mon. but my mind can't stop racing. Has anyone heard of any other cases like this?

    Thanks for reading.


  • #2
    No experience, but sending jingles for your pony. Hope they can figure something out.


    • #3
      No idea either but kudos to you for giving her the benefit of the doubt instead of punishing her for misbehaving. Jingles for good news.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • Original Poster

        Nobody has heard of something like this?
        The poor pony colicked again last night. 8cc of banamine made her feel a little more comfortable but still looked to have some gas pain, tucking butt underneath herself slightly. Talked to vet and they will be out today.
        I am beyong upset, poor pony.


        • #5
          It kinda sounds like an extreme case of leaky gut. Am I reading this right in all therapy thus far is for stomach ulcers (sorry it has been a short night) in the form of gastroguard? Seems like the gastroguard should have made a dent in the stomach ulcers by now.

          Very sorry that life is being unkind to your horse and you just now. Jingles, thoughts and prayers headed your way. Let us know what the vet says.


          • #6
            What does her protein look like? I think I would be treating this like colitis for the time being, although I know its not that simple. Jingling for your pony.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


            • #7
              hind end ulcers? i believe hind end ulcers cannot be identified by scoping. use succeed to treat the condition - if that is what it is.

              agree - you are wonderful to go to such lengths to treat this pony!

              good luck and will be sending good karma your way!!


              • #8
                I'd put colitis fairly high up the list.
                Any diarrhea/loose manure?
                "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                • #9
                  I also thought colitis when I read this. Poor pony. Good on you for being so on top of things!!!
                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                  • Original Poster

                    I am familiar with HG ulcers. You are correct you can not see them with a scope. My vet does not think they would be the cause of all the inflamation in her belly however I am sure whatever is causing all of this could cause HG ulcers as well.
                    I am going to discuss the colitis with the vet tomorrow. That would explain a lot of her symptoms. I will also discuss her protein count with them tomorrow as well. I wish I had asked for it Tues. at the clinic. If she did have leaky gut would they find anything to support that in the fluid in her abdomen?

                    Unfortunately, the poor pony colicked again last night. I was able to get her comfortable with 8cc of banamine.

                    I talked to the vet and we were able to rush the results from the biopsy of the lesions in her stomach and fluid in her abdomen. The fluid in her abdomen was diluted so it didn't give us much info other than cancer cells or feces were not present so that is a good thing. The biopsy also came back as squamas tissue and not squamas cell carcinoma which would have been terrible.
                    The next step the specialist wants to take is scoping her again and going deeper and investigating as well as a biopsy of her SI. She seems a little more optimistic. We hope to do this Sat..

                    Until we find out more she is getting 4cc of ban amine twice a day to keep her comfortable as well as gastroguard.

                    Thank you so much for the suggestions. I have a lot to discuss with my vet and gastro specialist tomorrow.


                    • #11
                      The problem is if it is colitis banamine is absolutely forbidden forever so you need to figure it out soon. Jingles.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home


                      • #12
                        Laurie is right. If it is colitis, banamine is creating a vicious cycle. Under certain circumstances, banamine can actually contribute to colitis developing.

                        My advice at this point would be, feed her like she has colitis. And just to be safe - no soy. We suspect Soy was a player in my colts nasty bout of colitis, FWIW.

                        I think we did ranitidine, not gastroguard and there was a reason, not $$, but I dont remember what the reason was.

                        We did a try on a drug called mifepristone but he did not tolerate it.

                        Turning him out on grass was really the cure.

                        Wishing you the best of luck, it sounds very scary
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          What does she do when she colics? Are they mild colics?


                          • #14
                            I will preface this with the fact that I'm not a veterinarian.

                            But can you tell us what her diet is like right now?

                            Was there any change in turnout, grazing, diet, etc shortly before these issues (the attitude change) started?
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                            • #15
                              Several years ago my daughter's connemara pony had more than several bouts of "colic"-she'd lost a bit of weight and then quit eating regularly. Had very hyperactive bowel sounds and funky smelling stool (but not diarrhea) Vet stuck a tube into her stomach and drained a bunch of gastric secretions. Thought she was obstructed so we took her to the hospital for further diagnostics. They ultrasounded her belly and found the her intestinal wall was very thickened. Diagnosis was either an infiltrative cancer or inflammatory bowel disease...we chose not to biopsy as treatment for both was steroids. She got several days of IV fluids , abx and iv steroids. we slowly reintroduced roughage into her diet and soupy complete feed. She was sent home on prednisone, gastrogard/ulcergard, sulcrafate. She was on the prednisone for ages -we were able to taper down to a maintenance dose and then finally got her off of it...and yes, she was on the gastro/ulcergard the entire time. After a few months, we also did a double dose, back to back panacur powerpak - even though her fecals had been consistently negative. It was touch a go for quite a while, with a couple of relapses where we had to bump up the pred dose and start the taper all over.

                              Pony is happy, fat and healthy, hanging out in the field. She is outgrown now and hoping to meet a handsome fella this Spring.

                              Jingles for your pony. Hope this info helps some!


                              • Original Poster

                                First of all thank you so much for the responses. I talked to the gastro specialist and she doesn't seem to think it is colitis so we will continue the banamine until Mon. when they scope this poor girl once again. I know it will benefit her in the long run but I feel so bad she has been poked and prodded from both ends.

                                She only gets a 1/4 scoop of low starch pellets soaked twice a day and about a pound of soaked alfalfa cubes when she comes in from turnout as well as hay. She is also getting sulcrafate before meals and gastroguard,full dose, once a day. Prior to the behavioral change I can't think of anything different in her world. Same feed and training program. The only thing I can think of is no turnout buddy (she can see other horses) but that was about 6 months prior. She has never seemed to mind being by herself.

                                Humblepie, you have given me a lot of hope. Your pony had such similar symptoms as my pony. I am going to do the biopsy but I think the game plan is to treat her with the iv steroids. Thank you so much for your post.


                                • #17
                                  Consider getting a full analysis of the hay, including WSC.
                                  Also, look through the hay, and if there are any plants you cannot identify, have an expert in ID of toxic plants look at them.
                                  Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                                  • #18
                                    May I ask what it is about banamine and/or colitis that engenders a statement like "absolutely forbidden forever"? Those terms don't often find their way into the practice of medicine, although there are notable times when they certainly do.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Rosie, most of the time mild colics however the last time she was thrashing so much she cast herself and continued to thrash. We were able to get her off the wall and administer the banamine.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        May I ask what it is about banamine and/or colitis that engenders a statement like "absolutely forbidden forever"? Those terms don't often find their way into the practice of medicine, although there are notable times when they certainly do.
                                        I think if you qualify "colitis" with the descriptors "right dorsal", that it is a reasonable statement for owners.
                                        In horses with prior history of RDC, I'd be very cautious about using NSAIDs in the future, and would advise owners to do so only after consulting a DVM.
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.