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Feed dilemma

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  • Feed dilemma

    Last month my ulcer prone horse was rescoped and had grade 4 ulcers once again, after only 6 months of being without treatment.

    So I guessed a change of environment and feed is in order. I hired the help of an equine nutritionist to try to find a good feed regime for her. After showing her all the exams and current feeding of my mare, we finally came up with the perfect regime, which includes Re-Leve, from Saracen.

    Well, I am currently residing in Portugal which means I would have to order the feed from the UK. Contacted the company and they were super helpful, sending me some samples to try out, and shipping is actually not that expensive if I buy food for 3 months. All seemed like it was going to work out.

    Samples come in, I mix half of one bag into her feed, and surprise surprise, she doesn't touch it.

    I call the nutritionist and she tells me horses don't usually love this feed and take some time to get used to it. She tells me to stick with it and it my mare will eventually start to eat it.

    I do admit this is a seriously well designed feed, and I am willing to try pretty much anything to help my horse cope with ulcers. But I am a bit weary of ordering 3 months of feed, only to have it arrive and my horse not eat it! At least without a B plan...

    So, what would you suggest to increase palatability of a certain feed?

    Other feeds available locally are appallingly high on starch, so they're a no go.
    www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

  • #2
    No advice to make it more palatable because most of what you'd add would increase starch/ sugars, which isn't what you want if I understand you correctly.

    My only suggestion is to find a dealer to ship you ONE bag and wean her onto it. I know you said someone would ship you 3 months worth, but surely you can find someone who already stocks this line, and have them send only one bag to you. I'd wean her onto it slowly, by half handfuls at a time added to her current grain. If you go gradually enough, often they wont' notice.

    I have to poke my nose in, tho', about your horse still having ulcers: Was she scoped immediately after treatment concluded, to confirm she had in fact healed? Or was this the first post-treatment scope?

    If it's the latter, you might want to revisit treatment. Some horses require longer than the standard treatment duration to heal ulcers. Others still have a bacterial component ( H Pylori) to their ulcers and require an antibiotic as well as an omeprazole product. It's not uncommon for those horses to receive doxy as well.

    Anyhoo.. just my .02. Best of luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wouldn't give up. Some horses, especially young ones, have to learn to like their food. I wasn't aware that H. pylori was implicated in ulcer disease in horses, although I know a lot of people are looking to draw that connection. Has this been shown to be a significant clinical entity in equines? Last I checked (probably a year ago) it had not.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I do not see what it is about the feed Re-Leve that makes it so suitable for an ulcer-prone horse. Also, not all horses must be on a low starch diet. If your horse is not a metabolic problem, why force her to eat grain that tastes like cardboard, which is what those low nsc feeds probably taste like.

        My suggestion would be to feed a high quality hay free choice if you can find it. The no-molasses beet pulp would be another suggestion.

        Also, it may be possible that your horse isn't mentally able to handle the work you have planned for her (based on your previous posts) and her stress is causing the ulcers.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would treat the ulcers for 30-60 days and switch her over to an all-forage diet. Mix your regular high quality hay with alfalfa hay. Keep her on a maintenance dosage of ulcerguard and gradually reduce it over time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Do they not have hay and pasture in Portugal? I have always thought that was a first line of defense in feeding a horse with ulcers.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Hey everybody,

              Maybe I should clarify a couple of things.

              I'm still learning how to deal with ulcers. Although I've owned horses for almost 10 years, its the first time I'm faced with such a tricky case.

              Although she eats her current grain, she only eats about half of it, and thats because I mix it with another one who she likes (but is even worse for her condition). This is just to tempt her enough for her to eat her grain, and although we've been trying to wean her off of it, if it isn't there, she won't eat anything. So I guess you could say she is VERY picky about her food.

              I cannot have only one bag shipped and thats part of the problem. The other part, as you mentioned, is that most things used to make horses love their food is actually pretty detrimental to their general health.

              I wasn't aware H. Pilori had been recognized in equines, and last time I mentioned that to my vet she told me there aren't any evidences of it. However, I will insist next time she's scoped to make sure this isn't the case.

              Last time she had ulcers was in the summer, and we treated with 1 dose of omeprazol for 45 days plus 30 at half a syringe. Then we rescoped and she was fine. I was trying to manage her life to make her as stress free as possible but it has been hard. There is no turn out available ANYWHERE and it has been a hard task finding a BO who actually has food available to my horse 24/7, and not only says it is (and of course, when I went there and she had no hay, it was because she had eaten it to quickly).

              I am now in a situation where I know she is being fed on time, has hay always available, and I've actually managed to get her turned out at an old bullfighting arena for the mornings so she can tan a little

              Hay is as good as it is. One of the downsides of the place where I'm at now is I'm not allowed to bring in my own hay. I have been negotiating getting haylage (because its bagged it wouldn't have the same challenges for the BO as regular hay ) and the nutritionist actually thinks its a good idea - she might eat more of it than she would hay, because its tastier.

              However, I rescoped about a month after changing places, and although I was expecting some ulcers (she was behaving weird again) I WAS NOT expecting grade 4 ulcers! I am kind of in a panic now because we are clearly doing something wrong, and I am trying to figure out what else I can change to help her be healthy.

              I do have a ton of plans for her, but I am not in a hurry to have them come true. I am taking it day by day and think in the 9 months I've owned her I've pushed her maybe twice! Her week usually consists of one day off where she goes for hand walks and gets turned out in the bullfighting ring, one day where I take her for a hack, and 5 days of very easy work. I don't consider this hard work for any horse.

              I cannot keep her in an all forage diet because she is a VERY hard keeper, and although I know some of it is related to the ulcers, I cannot afford to have her loose all the condition she's gained, specially when she is still underweight. I do feed her a lot of beetpulp and alfa-A though.

              As for the low NSC feed, its basically my last resource and I am hoping thats the missing link. It actually smells wonderful (like a super nice quality tea) and I was absolutely amazed at her when she wouldn't even have a taste!

              I am currently treating with omeprazol, anti-acid before rides and for about a week now, table spoon of baking soda. I've started the omeprazole on the 10th January and only started noticing a real change in her behavior on Wednesday.
              www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Hey everybody,

                Maybe I should clarify a couple of things.

                I'm still learning how to deal with ulcers. Although I've owned horses for almost 10 years, its the first time I'm faced with such a tricky case.

                Although she eats her current grain, she only eats about half of it, and thats because I mix it with another one who she likes (but is even worse for her condition). This is just to tempt her enough for her to eat her grain, and although we've been trying to wean her off of it, if it isn't there, she won't eat anything. So I guess you could say she is VERY picky about her food.

                I cannot have only one bag shipped and thats part of the problem. The other part, as you mentioned, is that most things used to make horses love their food is actually pretty detrimental to their general health.

                I wasn't aware H. Pilori had been recognized in equines, and last time I mentioned that to my vet she told me there aren't any evidences of it. However, I will insist next time she's scoped to make sure this isn't the case.

                Last time she had ulcers was in the summer, and we treated with 1 dose of omeprazol for 45 days plus 30 at half a syringe. Then we rescoped and she was fine. I was trying to manage her life to make her as stress free as possible but it has been hard. There is no turn out available ANYWHERE and it has been a hard task finding a BO who actually has food available to my horse 24/7, and not only says it is (and of course, when I went there and she had no hay, it was because she had eaten it to quickly).

                I am now in a situation where I know she is being fed on time, has hay always available, and I've actually managed to get her turned out at an old bullfighting arena for the mornings so she can tan a little

                Hay is as good as it is. One of the downsides of the place where I'm at now is I'm not allowed to bring in my own hay. I have been negotiating getting haylage (because its bagged it wouldn't have the same challenges for the BO as regular hay ) and the nutritionist actually thinks its a good idea - she might eat more of it than she would hay, because its tastier.

                However, I rescoped about a month after changing places, and although I was expecting some ulcers (she was behaving weird again) I WAS NOT expecting grade 4 ulcers! I am kind of in a panic now because we are clearly doing something wrong, and I am trying to figure out what else I can change to help her be healthy.

                I do have a ton of plans for her, but I am not in a hurry to have them come true. I am taking it day by day and think in the 9 months I've owned her I've pushed her maybe twice! Her week usually consists of one day off where she goes for hand walks and gets turned out in the bullfighting ring, one day where I take her for a hack, and 5 days of very easy work. I don't consider this hard work for any horse.

                I cannot keep her in an all forage diet because she is a VERY hard keeper, and although I know some of it is related to the ulcers, I cannot afford to have her loose all the condition she's gained, specially when she is still underweight. I do feed her a lot of beetpulp and alfa-A though.

                As for the low NSC feed, its basically my last resource and I am hoping thats the missing link. It actually smells wonderful (like a super nice quality tea) and I was absolutely amazed at her when she wouldn't even have a taste!

                I am currently treating with omeprazol, anti-acid before rides and for about a week now, table spoon of baking soda. I've started the omeprazole on the 10th January and only started noticing a real change in her behavior on Wednesday.
                www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                  I cannot keep her in an all forage diet because she is a VERY hard keeper, and although I know some of it is related to the ulcers, I cannot afford to have her loose all the condition she's gained, specially when she is still underweight. I do feed her a lot of beetpulp and alfa-A though.
                  If she is a hard keeper and tends to be underweight, then why are you so opposed to feeding a more high energy concentrate? A feed like Triple Crown Senior (probably don't have it where you are) would be great for a mare like this. It is mostly beet pulp fiber and high fat with good nutrition. Plus, you can wet it. It is also low NSC.

                  I DO understand the complications of boarding and am thankful every day I have mine at home.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                    Her week usually consists of one day off where she goes for hand walks and gets turned out in the bullfighting ring, one day where I take her for a hack, and 5 days of very easy work. I don't consider this hard work for any horse.
                    Maybe she just can't handle the stress of being stalled all the time except for this easy work? Can you ride twice per day or lunge a couple of times a week in addition to your riding? I can't imagine keeping my horse anywhere turnout was only available once per week.
                    Jigga:
                    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      She is in the bullfighting arena the whole morning, then goes in the stall for about 2 hours, then I take her out to ride her. Then she goes to the arena again, and around 6 pm she goes for a bath and then she'll go to her stall again. So during the day she's only stalled for 2 hours, at lunch time. Its the best situation I could figure out without her actually being on grass all day long (which would be the ideal situation).

                      Triple Crown appears to be a great feed, and I do love the formulation for the Senior. I would be soooo happy if I could get it here. Unfortunately I've actually contacted them and there is absolutely 0 chance of getting it... so the next best thing is the Re-leve which apparently she won't eat!
                      www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A solution: Move to the USA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Define the amount of beet pulp she is getting please. Also, a small hole hay net might help slow your mare down on hay consumption if she is eating too quickly. Jingles for your mare!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            A solution: Move to the USA
                            Ok, I'll book a ticket! hehehe

                            She gets 4kg (dry weight) per day, mixed with 3 kg of Alfa A, and divided by three meals.

                            She does have her hay in a net to stop her from wasting it, but I am actually interested in increasing her consumption (she is currently eating only 5 kg per day).
                            www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So what were the results of her EPSM muscle biopsy? It sounded like she had tied up pretty badly in the past so I'd get the calories from hay and oil mainly. My EPSM guy is very prone to ulcers. Muscle inflammation = stress = ulcers?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                5 kg of hay per day is not very much.

                                FWIW, your mare may simply need to remain on ulcer meds. My mare gets one packet of the Abler product each day and as much as I'd like to wean her off, things start going downhill fast when she doesn't get her meds.

                                The other thing I learned after my mare was so sick was that her digestive system may be scarred and/or compromised. We don't know the extent and the vet said it may never be as it was before.

                                And finally, you may consider adding a good hoof supplement. In general I'm not a big fan of them, but after dealing with seriously crappy hooves for the past year I wish I had put her on something right away. The farrier is just now seeing good horn and sole, and my mare became sick nearly 2 years ago!

                                Good luck with your mare. Living with ulcers is a good way to describe it, because with some horses I don't think you can get past it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Doesn't teff hay come from Africa? Would that be called for in this situation? If I remember correctly, it's low starch.

                                  Wow, I can't imagine not having turnout y there, it must have gotten built up a lot over the years.
                                  They still don't kill the bull, right? Get it out of the ring by bringing in a cow on a lead

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Can you get alfalfa pellets and supplement with a vitamin/mineral instead of a grain feed?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Her muscle biopsy came out clear (thank goodness) so the vet figured it was a one time thing. She hasn't tied up since, so thats a good thing as well.

                                      Yep, 5kg of hay per day is way too little, but I can't actually make her eat more, and thats why I feed the Alfa-A and beetpulp, to try and increase her fiber intake. I am also considering switching to haylage and see if that would get her to eat more (apparently horses absolutely love it).

                                      I'd really love to have her meds free, but I do see your point. What I am considering now is scoping her in June again, regardless of her having any symptoms and if she does have any sort of ulceration, just breed her and give her a year off. Eating grass all day and being out with other horses is pretty much what I feel she needs, and at least I'd get something from it in the end.

                                      But for now, I feel there is still a lot I can do for her, namely the feed change...
                                      www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Before you breed her, ask yourself if you have time, space, and resources for TWO horses, the know-how to raise a foal, and a realistic idea of why you are breeding. Far, FAR less expensive to turn the mare out to grass for a year and lease another horse.
                                        Click here before you buy.

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