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Diet questions for older horse/ulcer questions too

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  • Diet questions for older horse/ulcer questions too

    Hey everyone-
    Long story, but my horse was being leased and it had to end about a month earlier. He ended up hanging out in a pasture until I could get back, where he was thankfully fed once a day. Upon returning, he was skinny. Supposedly when the lease party had him, he was at a big boarding facility with a lot of activity. He hasnt been at a large boarding facility in about 6 years so I am sure this was a change for him. Sometimes he would refuse to eat for no apparent reason for days at a time, and then he would resume normal habits. Each time this happened, they would check him and take temp, etc, and it was like he had just decided that he was anorexic that day or something. Sometimes he also goes through phases when he will have a mild case of colic often (usually in the summer and usually if he goes in a certain pasture, so we just make sure he doesnt get turned out there). I think while on lease, he would show signs of colic as well, but it was not severe at all.

    Now that I am back, he seems happier, he has been eating and I think putting on weight. When I left, he was chubby and shiny and healthy and was getting Ultium and Beet pulp. Now he is on Ultium and another higher fat pellet.

    Is there something else out there that I should be doing for him? Should I bring back the beet pulp, or try rice bran- what do you guys find the most effective for the older horses... who may have ulcers?

    What is the likelihood that an older horse (19) has developed ulcers as a result of all this? I do not have money to get him scoped, so I would like to go the route of trying one of the ulcer meds out there and see if he improves. What are the main differences of the powder-type ulcer supplements? I read on the ingredient labels that one has L-tryptophan, another has aluminum in it, and another claims that they are alum-free. I am pretty sure that in drug tests, L-tryptophan shows up, but for an older horse that wont be showing, does it really matter?

    What do you suggest? I have had two different vet suggest different things so I wanted to see the COTH bb's experience with all this, with regard to a Sr. equine.
    Thanks!
    GO TARHEELS!
    COMH
    http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
    http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

  • #2
    L-tryptophan is a naturally occuring amino acid and will be present in every feed out there. It's not illegal.

    It does sound like he was in a prime setup for creating or exasberating ulcers and the anorexia and mild colics sound like he has them. Can you afford to scope and treat him? Check out his teeth too to make sure there's no reason for eating to be painful for him but it sounds like he's eating the Ultium now? If you can't do Gastrogard right now (and even if you can) I would add soaked alfalfa cubes and gradually cut back on the grains. The alfalfa is helpful for ulcery tummies and a nice soaked alfalfa mash is easy to eat, decent protein and gets some long stemmed fiber, amino acids and water into him. I prefer it over beet pulp for weight gain and fiber replacement. If he's a hot one on alfalfa, you can find Timothy and Timothy/Alfalfa mix cubes. If you're on a really tight budget, soaked cubes plus Equitum (cheap Antacid) have been helpful for my ulcer-prone guy.
    Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi there... I agree with the previous post... The best thing, if you can't afford to have him scoped is to give him free choice hay. Horses that have ulcers improve greatly when constently eating! I would also check into natural supplements that would coat his gutt to prevent the ulcers from growing and make him more comfortable! We had a mare that was really bad and just giving her free choice hay made the world of a difference!
      Good luck!
      Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!

      Comment


      • #4
        L-Tryp is not illegal

        Firstly L-Tryp is a naturally occurring amino-acid, it's not illegal unless you use it with the intention of altering behavior! Note, it is the intention to alter behavior that makes it illegal. Use as a muscle builder/protein supplement is not illegal.

        It's fully possible that your horse has developed ulcers, one way to 'test' would be to give ulcer meds (ulcergard or gastrogard) for 10-14 days and see if that brought about a change in eating behavior.

        The only drug with proven test results on ulcers in horses is omeprazole, so if you're testing I would not waste your money on anything else.

        Get some Ulcergard, (it's an OTC drug now) and give 1/2 a tube a day for 14 days. If that changes your horses eating behavior significantly then he probably does have ulcers. If that is the case, you will probably need to continue the treatment for 30 days to heal the ulcers. and you might well have to do it for longer, only time will tell.

        Good Luck.
        Yours
        MW
        Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
        Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
        New edition of book is out:
        Horse Nutrition Handbook.

        www.knabstruppers4usa.com

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks everyone.

          He does have free choice hay, he is out all the time now in a small herd. He did tend to be hot in his day, which is probably why I have the idea that the Tryptophan would test (because it was suggested to help calm him). But, Like I said before, I dont really need to worry about shows and stuff now.

          I guess the next thing to do would be to try to give him the tubes for 10-14 days and see what happens.
          GO TARHEELS!
          COMH
          http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
          http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

          Comment


          • #6
            In order for Ulcergard to work you must use the entire tube per day - then it will treat like Gastrogard. Anything else is a preventative measure not a cure - which will run you a few hundred dollars per month. It's a tough spot to be in - do you take the money to test or to treat? Whatever you do - do NOT increase his grain. Grain is hard on a horses stomach - I would also either replace the grain with soaked Alfalfa or split up the feedings into much smaller portions many times a day.

            When the horse starts to eat grain the acid in the stomach goes into overdrive to digest it, when you increase the grain to put on weight you increase the amount of acid in the stomach and if your horse has ulcers it's very painful - which is why it looks like they are having mild colic - but the vet won't find an impaction.

            Also make sure you've done a fecal exam - you don't need that adding to the problems.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              So I know ppl who just do the preventative route, instead of treating them first with omeprazole.

              What would be the point in doing that? Does that help?
              GO TARHEELS!
              COMH
              http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
              http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by UNCeventer View Post
                So I know ppl who just do the preventative route, instead of treating them first with omeprazole.

                What would be the point in doing that? Does that help?
                It's a matter of treating symptoms vs. solving the problem.

                In most cases, omeprezole, which halts the production of stomach acid, will actually allow the ulcers to heal (though they may recur.) Only omeprezole is proven effetive for curing ulcers, though I hear good things about aloe gel and MSM used in combination as an alternative.

                If you can't afford $1000 per month for omeprezole (GastroGard or Ulcerguard), you're left to choose among so-called "preventatives," most of which operate by buffering the acid that is present in the stomach. This makes the horse feel better so his symptoms disappear, which is a good thing, but the ulcers will still be there.

                Depending on the severity of the ulcers, you can probably help your horse improve a lot by doing the following:

                1) Free feed grass hay
                2) Feed some alfalfa (1-2 flakes) daily
                3) Do not feed grain (if you need to increaese calories, use soaked beet pulp and corn oil)
                4) Use a buffering supplement, such as U-gard or Neighlox
                5) Consider probiotics, such as are incuded in GUT
                6) Never work the horse on an empty stomach. Feed the horse a flake or two of alfalfa, then administer a dose of buffering agent before riding.
                Training and campaigning Barb endurance horses at The Barb Wire.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I recently did an experiment with Ulcergard to see if it made a difference in my mare's girthiness. There were no other symptoms that I identified as possibly ulcer-related. While it didn't do much for that, she has suddenly blossomed, put on quite a bit of weight (in a good way) and I am thrilled. I made up my own treatment regimen, giving a whole tube for several days, then half a tube and finally the quarter tube that is the regular Ulcergard treatment. I've done this for a total of 12 or so tubes and plan to continue it a bit longer. I don't see the need to scope. Just treat and see what happens. My vet is happy with what I did but not making any recommendations on what to do when/if I discontinue Ulcergard. He doesn't seem to either have a preference or support any of the OTC anti-acids. He actually recommended corn oil with each meal. I would definitely try treating the OP's horse with Ulcergard. He sounds "ulcery" to me . . . It just would be nice it Ulcergard weren't quite so pricy . . .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=
                    If you can't afford $1000 per month for omeprezole (GastroGard or Ulcerguard), you're left to choose among so-called "preventatives," most of which operate by buffering the acid that is present in the stomach. This makes the horse feel better so his symptoms disappear, which is a good thing, but the ulcers will still be there.
                    [/QUOTE]

                    I'm really confused by the above. I have my horse on a maintenance dosage of omeprezole and the bill is $240.00 per month. Where does omeprezole cost $1,000 per month and at what dosage?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      DaisyDuke -- the treatment protocol is one full tube every day for 30 days (whether Gastrogard or Ulcergard tube makes no difference; it's the same thing). At $30 something a tube, that's about $1000. The one-quarter tube is supposedly for prevention only -- not healing existing ulcers -- which is why it costs you less . . .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Try aloe vera juice (Walmart, $8 a gallon).
                        1/2 cup 2 x a day.

                        Worked wonders on my 28 yo with gut problems. He is still being lightly ridden, he is in such good shape.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          wow- thanks guys!

                          Thanks for all the input! I sadly dont have 1000 to spend on ulcerguard, so I will try some aloe vera juice (How does this work exactly?) as well as some neighlox or something similar. I will keep you posted.

                          He is getting beet pulp and I will get some corn oil and see if that will help him too. Thanks for all these ideas. My boy thanks you too!
                          GO TARHEELS!
                          COMH
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Aloe neutralizes the acid in the stomach. I have also heard that to mix pureed papaya with it is good, too, as the papaya helps with the mucous lining. I have not tried this, though, as there were no papayas to be found at the time.

                            Google papaya+horse digestive tract for clearer info.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Another option

                              Originally posted by UNCeventer View Post
                              Thanks for all the input! I sadly dont have 1000 to spend on ulcerguard, so I will try some aloe vera juice (How does this work exactly?) as well as some neighlox or something similar. I will keep you posted.

                              He is getting beet pulp and I will get some corn oil and see if that will help him too. Thanks for all these ideas. My boy thanks you too!
                              A less expensive option (but possibly less efficacious) is to buy generic omeprazole from CostCo or Sams Club, give the horse 5 X the human dose daily for 14 days.
                              You can go as high as 10X the human dose if you feel the need to.
                              If it produces an effect then the horse most probably has an ulcer. I which case you would need to treat with omeprazole for 30 -60 days to effect a 'cure' or healing of the ulcer.

                              You can also use ranitidine twice daily, again 5-10 X the human dose. But Omeprazole is a better drug.

                              To find generic omeprazole look at drugs like Prilosec or Zantac and see what the active ingredient is. That's where you'll see the word Omeprazole.
                              Good Luck

                              Yours
                              MW
                              Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                              Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                              New edition of book is out:
                              Horse Nutrition Handbook.

                              www.knabstruppers4usa.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Depending on the horse and the severity of the ulcers 1/2 a tube of UlcerGard a day may in fact HEAL the ulcers and it may not even take 30 days. A tube a day for 30 days is what the research says to do, which is why people think that is what NEEDS to be done to be effective. However, my horse is very ulcerprone so we treat him as cheaply, yet effectively as possible each time they reoccur. I have found that typically 1/2 tube a day for 2-3 weeks heals his ulcers and I have done the scoping to make sure they're actually gone when done with the treatment.

                                You should be able to see a change in your horse's behavior as the ulcers are healing and I usually continue treatment for about 5-7 days after I think the ulcers are gone. This heals the ulcers until the next show/trailer ride/etc.

                                There have been times where it has taken 4-6 weeks to heal the ulcers, depending on the severity, but I am typically pretty good at catching them early so they tend to be easy to treat.

                                ETA: You can also have bloodwork run to check the protein levels as an indication of ulcers (not as effective as scoping, but not as expensive either)
                                A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  G.U.T. by Uckelel (sp?)

                                  You don't have to have him scoped. And I have been told by several posters on here that this stuff is great! And it's affordable! So I put my guy on it ... paid about $39 for a tub which should last me 60 days I THINK And he loves it!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You asked the question for me

                                    I knew the vet was scheduled so ran a test on my goofy gelding. Bought a tube of Ulcergard (4 doses) & gave him 1/4 dose for several days. The change in his attitude was dramatic! Then as the medication wore off, he returned to his old self.

                                    The vet did not see a need to scope given the results of my test. So she recommended the same course as stated by other (1 full tube daily of Ulcergard/Gastrogard for 1 month followed by 1/2 tube daily for another month). Alternative course, one she is using on her horse, is 30 tabs of 300mg ranitidine 2-3x daily for 1 month, 15 tabs 2-3x daily for 2nd month. She noted this has worked for some horses but not for all.

                                    I started him on this course of action while hubby & I review the Ulcer/Gastro-gard options.

                                    Good to hear about omeprazole - in case the ranitidine doesn't work.
                                    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                    Courtesy my cousin Tim

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