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Managing the ulcer-prone horse?

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  • Managing the ulcer-prone horse?

    What has worked for you?

    I've been using small doses of Gastrogard as needed, roughly a tube per week as symptoms appear (worse now that we are into bizarre fall weather: one day 30 & snowing, next day 65 & sunny...UGH!) I know that when he leaves a little food behind, rolls more, and acts edgy, it's time for a dose. It works, but it's so dang expensive that I'm looking for alternatives.

    I've heard good things about Succeed, which still isn't cheap but is cheapER than Gastrogard. My vet suggested Probios, but I tried it and still had to go to the Gastrogard for symptom management. Aloe Vera juice is pretty much out because this horse thinks any non-pelleted, non-Alfalfa-based supplement is a poison. Generic omeprazole is #1 a powder and #2 totally ineffective per my vet, so that's out. What's left?

    Ideas, please!
    Last edited by SBT; Nov. 5, 2008, 12:17 AM. Reason: duh

  • #2
    I suspect you mean Succeed, not Surpass. Surpass is diclofenac cream. Succeed is an OTC ulcer thing.

    I manage my ulcer horse with Uckele's GUT daily and 1/4 tube of gastrogard during stressful times. My horse is super picky, but she eats the GUT pretty well. It's a good smelling powder that's low volume.

    I used to manage her with Ranitadine, which I think worked better than the GUT, but my horse will no longer eat it. So now we use GUT.

    We tried compounded omeprazole powder and I don't think it helped AT ALL.

    Ulcer sups are individual, like joint sups. What works for one horse will not work for another. It's a lot of fiddling around, trying to find what works for YOUR horse.


    • #3
      I love U-7 and wouldn't ever go without it and also Powergest which is a good pro and prebiotic!
      The rider casts his heart over the fence,
      the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

      –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart


      • #4
        Oh forgot the most important thing 5 lbs am and pm of alfalfa will buffer the gut for up to 12 hours!

        I give him 5 lbs alfalfa and the rest free choice grass hay so he always has something in front of him. When I am getting ready to ride and while grooming I let him munch a leaf of alfalfa to buffer him and it works wonderfully!!
        The rider casts his heart over the fence,
        the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

        –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart


        • #5
          Slippery Elm Bark has worked well for my horse.
          It works better for some then others...just like all the other products. lol.
          Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


          • #6
            it is in U-7 BTW
            The rider casts his heart over the fence,
            the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

            –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart


            • #7
              U-Gard as a daily supplement works wonders for my guy.
              Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"


              • #8
                Doesn't U-Gard have Calcium as a buffer though that can actually exacerbate the proton pump inhibitor to continue the cycle?
                The rider casts his heart over the fence,
                the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

                –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart


                • #9
                  I just got off the phone and had a looooong discussion with my vet on this very subject. I had been doing an experiment with Ulcergard over the past month or so and found that the stuff put weight on my horse and seemed to make her feel and look better overall. I am also trying to find something else as the stuff is $$$$. After our long conversation, this is the bottom line:

                  1. Nothing works better than Gastrogard/Ulcergard, but you can play with dosages, i.e. 1/4 tube every other day for example.

                  2. Compounded omeprazole generally doesn't work (there are always exceptions as with everything, but he felt money much better spent on Option 1.)

                  3. Local alfalfa (protein 16-18 percent) with corn oil (must be corn) could step in on days when not doing Option 1, with some experimentation about how many days you can do Option 3 before you have to dose again with Gastogard/Ulcergard

                  4. OTC stuff like Neighlox, etc., work for some horses, but in a low percentage of horses in his practice. He said I could certainly try them in experiments, but said Option 1 and 3 in his experience (long time vet with large practice and his own horses) was the best way to go.

                  sigh . . . . .


                  • #10
                    Another vote for the Finish Line U-7. I put my ottb on it and I'm seeing good results. My guy is a slow eater and was difficult to put weight on. When I started him on the U-7, I started seeing results almost immediately. He started putting on weight and, he was more enthusiastic about eating and was pretty much licking the tub clean. The U-7 stuff smells good and from what I hear, even the pickest eaters seem to like this stuff.


                    • #11
                      I tried a lot of different supplements in various combinations, and have found that what works best and is also affordable is U-Guard, by Corta Flex. My guy is on a scoop morning and night, and this is a horse that had advanced ulcers before treated with Gastrogard/Ulcergard. I don't think you can avoid that initial treatment to try and clear up the ulcers. Nothing will heal like those can, but you can use supplements to help keep him comfortable and prevent reoccurance or flare-ups afterward. He's completely symptom-free as long as he's on U-Guard.
                      Gentleman J - "Junior" - My been-there, done-that jumper

                      Send Your Love - "Serena" - Aug 10th 2009, Rest in Peace


                      • #12
                        Former U-7 fan
                        Now I use a cheaper more concentrated mixture
                        Aloe juice
                        Papaya puree
                        Unfiltered ACV

                        Protects the mucosa lining of the stomach --- that is the problem with most ulcers.


                        • #13
                          I have had really good luck weaning off Ulcerguard slowly to Aloe Vera Gel with one of my guys. I also feed a mix hay with Alfalfa and that has seemed to help too.


                          • #14
                            U-guard is wonderful for my horse, and he's been known to colic every chance he gets. (Yes, he is a definite ulcer case- yay us!) I have Ulcergard for every time we travel, and induce extra stress, as well as now on break (He almost seems more stressed about not getting worked, but he's on a recommended break as he is stressful and hyper and we're hoping to calm down a little- good luck to me...)
                            He is consistently on U-guard powder, though they also make it in a pelleted Alfalfa base I bet your horse would eat. I don't feed any feed or product that has corn in it (yes, paying a lot more for feed too b/c of this) as my vet says that he needs less starch in his diet b/c the ulcers, so little to no corn for him. We've had WAY fewer occurrences since this, and we also have him on Beet pulp (try for no molasses, as he doesn't need anything else to help excite him) to add bulk to his diet, as well as a slight buffer. (Keeps everything moving very steadily, removing a lot of any starting problem as it trys to develop, as well as getting as much water into the entire gut when soaked.)
                            Since starting to treat him this way, he has been pretty good and w/o serious colics or ulcer signs for almost 1.5 years.

                            Hay: we have a rich alfalfa and grass mix hay year- round, which we started harvesting last year when hay prices skyrocketed. He LOVES it, and flourishes on it. (Our cutter/ baler says it's the best field he's seen in the area.)

                            My choice in grains:
                            Steamed, crimped oats
                            Purina Ultium OR Nutrena Vitality Ultra (high fat/ low starch and cornless)

                            His Supps:
                            Comp season- Ulcergard, Uguard, glucosamine, Pro CMC (will be using with electrolytesthis next season) Probios, Vit. B-12 granules

                            Off season-Uguard, MSM, Probios cookies

                            Hope some of this helps!
                            Standardbred Lover- owner of Studs Hooligan, aka Strider, ex- pacer, retrained for eventing and endurance
                            Strider-OTSTB-, Gus-OTTB-, and Rio-rescued QH!
                            Founder of the High Maintenance Horses Clique


                            • #15
                              What ulcer supp you use needs to depend on if you're competing in a USEF recognized show. There's only a select few that have legal ingredients.

                              For my guy? The less sugar and starch in his system the better off he is. Feed wise, either Progressive Grass Diet Balancer, TC Lite or TC Low Starch and steamed crimped oats if he needs anything extra added to a diet balancer. Soaked alfalfa cubes once a day. 1/4 tube UlcerGard every 12-14 days. He is pretty much out 24/7 with run-in and now finally got him to a point where he is good with my mare so now he has a buddy in turnout. Hay wise, he gets the all he can eat hay buffet with my mare which consists of an alfalfa/timothy mix. The big thing? NO TREATS. (although, I HAVE found a low sugar low starch treat that he could have if he wasn't so dang mouthy)
                              *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
                              My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog


                              • #16
                                I've had good luck with Ulcer Formula made by Progressive Nutrition -- My gelding got colicy on Succeed --

                                For those of you who use aloe juice, what dosage do you use? -- The aloe juice I've seen needs to be refrigerated after openning -- Does anyone make aloe juice that doesn't need refrigeration or is packaged in single serving bottles?

                                You can get Omeprazole pills from ponymeds.com -- I think it helps a little, but have found these pills less effective than even compounded Omeprazole paste -- I find the loading dose works as a maintenance dose with my gelding --

                                Keeping his stomache full has been the most helpful thing I've found for my gelding -- He gets an entire bale of hay to himself every day ... more on days he's not turned out --
                                "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                                • #17
                                  Are you still feeding any grain? If so, I would stop that completely and substitute with alfalfa, BP or perhaps some BOSS. Grain increases ulcer risk considerably because it chnages the gut PH to more acidic, which is the last thing an ulcer prone horse needs.


                                  • #18
                                    I manage my ulcer horse with Pro-CMC daily, 1/4 tubes of Ulcergard anytime I trailer her (day before, day of, day after) or any other stressful situation, increased alfalfa hay and soaked alfalfa cubes, and decreased beet pulp and grain. She did 35 days of full tubes of Gastrogard for the treatment.


                                    • #19
                                      I have been using 1500mg of cimedidine daily as a preventative. He eats no grain, just all he can eat hay with 3 meals of 2-3lbs of timmothy/alfalfa haycubes with oil and a pound of ricebran. He gets covered in hives if given wheat or soy products even in small amounts, and he seems to do well on this feed program.
                                      Before trailering I give him 45cc of Pepto to coat the stomach.
                                      He has just recovered from a flare up and was treated with sulfa and the compound drug for 10 days. He is now acting like the horse I bought 10 months ago.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                                        Are you still feeding any grain? If so, I would stop that completely and substitute with alfalfa, BP or perhaps some BOSS. Grain increases ulcer risk considerably because it chnages the gut PH to more acidic, which is the last thing an ulcer prone horse needs.

                                        I'd definitely minimize the grain if possible. I found out the hard way that my horse gets an upset stomach easily (gassy, runs, etc) from certain feeds, even when he's introduced slowly over a month period to the new feed. SWF, molasses, corn based feed was the worst. Second worse was Equine Senior type feeds. He's eat the stuff, but felt miserable. The low starch pellets gave him bad gas. I finally settled on a beet pulp based feed from TC.

                                        So...you may be shooting your self in the foot every day with the grain choice, even tho you are forking over big $$ on ulcer supps.