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Best Grain for the Ulcer Prone Horse

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  • Best Grain for the Ulcer Prone Horse

    So my hard-keeper TB w/ulcers really needs his grain cut back, but he won't touch anything but grain/plain old hay and if we make the grain cut, the weight will fall off of him.

    My vet stressed to me that I really need to cut his grain and feed him lower amounts of protein and more calcium.

    Right now he is eating 6 quarts of grain, 2x per day. He gets:

    2 quarts of a local pellet that is (11% protein/6% fat); 2 quarts of Blue Seal Vintage Perfomance LS (12/12) and 2 quarts of Blue Seal Carb Guard (12/8). He also gets 1 cup of corn oil in his feed. I was considering Blue Seal Vintage Victory which is a 10/10 mix, but I'm still really nervous to cut his grain back. We've tried alfalfa cubes and a bagged hay, and he has little to no interest in those sorts of product, so I doubt he'd touch beet pulp.

    Any feed suggestions for me? Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I would cut the grain completely and add as much alfalfa (along with his normal hay) as you need to maintain his weight .........alfalfa is known to be good for horses with ulcers.



    • #3
      Did he say why he wanted you to "cut the protein"?

      You could go with a ration balancer, and add something like Athlete or Ultimate Finish for fat and calories in a lower volume, maybe alfalfa pellets for extra calcium--or better yet, alfalfa hay.
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        Wow, that was a lot of grain! 12 quarts was probably in the range of 15lb/day - way, way lots.

        I'm also curious why the vet feels the protein needs to be lowered? To my knowledge, protein has never been implicated in ulcers. To the contrary, adding/increasing the alfalfa in the diet can really help - not because of the protein, but because of the calcium and magnesium. But, it is higher in protein.

        So, given that, I'd use either a vit/min supplement or a ration balancer for the nutrition, then add alfalfa pellets for calories - you can feed several pounds a feeding.

        I think you may find that you need to feed substantially fewer calories by reducing/eliminating (and I'd totally eliminate for now) the grains in his diet.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          My vet gave a huge thumbs-up to this diet for my hard keeper that had ulcers. He absolutely supported alfalfa - either cubes or alfalfa hay.

          TC Senior
          Rice Bran Pellets
          Alfalfa-Timothy cubes, or Alfalfa hay
          Beet Pulp if needed in winter

          He is currently on 100% alfalfa hay, TC Senior (1 lb. twice a day) and RB Pellets (1/2 lb. twice a day). He has great grass and is actually gaining with the above diet (better hay and grass at new barn)


          • #6
            my trainer just started a couple of her horses who appear to be "ulcery" types on Omegatin from Kent Feeds; I'm considering looking into switching my guy also but am a little uncomfortable changing......


            • #7
              I've been really happy with Triple Crown Complete for our ulcer-prone guy: http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/complete.phpWe had to cut his feed way back during treatment too. Of course, it wasn't hard because he hardly ate anything. The only thing he would eat with any consistancy when he had ulcers was hay and oats.
              Some folks aren't wild about feeding oats, but he wasn't getting too much and it worked for me. By the time he finished up the UlcerGard, he was eating better (Triple Crown Complete no added oats) and out on good grass 24/7. Complete is beet pulp based with high fat. He put on a ton of weight and looks great! I also added SmartGut when he was finishing the UlcerGard. I think that helped too.
              Good luck!
              Y'all ain't right!


              • #8
                I don't think it is the protein you need to worry about with regards to ulcer it is the sugar and starch and acidity of grain...........plus I believe the grain gets digested in the small gut as opposed to hay being digested in the large gut.....which I think has an affect on the horses stomach with regards to ulcers.



                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to look into Triple Crown Complete or Senior. I really am not sure why my vet said to cut his protein back, but I'm hopefully going to talk to him tomorrow, so I will find out!

                  The problem is he will not eat anything that needs to be soaked, so that puts beet pulp and alfalfa cubes/pellets out of question. I have tried, and tried, and if it's not grain or flakes of hay, he won't touch it. He took a nibble of his alfalfa cubes and walked away (so now I have 50lbs of them and nothing to do with them ).

                  Unfortunately, the barn I board at has no grass turnout, or he would definitely be on it! He is turned out 24/7 with a run in. We are currently treating him w/Rantidine and Sucralfate, and he is also on TractGard which he has been on for awhile. I did sample the SmartGut and he stopped eating, so I'd say that was a no go. I really don't think I'm going to be able to cut the grain completely, just need something to feed him that's easy on his stomach, but has enough fat in it to keep his weight on with a lesser amount.

                  I am also going to talk to my BO about possibly getting straight alfalfa hay for him, which may be difficult as he's out with another horse, but worth a shot!


                  • #10
                    Alfalfa pellets don't need to be soaked.
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      Also FYI beet pulpled based complete feeds, such as Omelene 400 Comeplet Advantage, do not need to be soaked. that is the feed I owuld try for this horse. If he did not take to that I would try some version of a Senior feed.

                      Also, have you ever tried Succeed? It does wonders on some horses. http://www.succeeddcp.com/index.asp


                      • #12
                        Wow, so much misinformation and odd misconceptions in one post!

                        Oil is not really acidic or non-acidic--since it's not soluble in water there sort of is no way to measure pH of oil.

                        Protein is in no way, shape or form "devastating" to kidneys unless the kidneys are DISEASED. Healthy kidneys = no problem handling protein. NONE.

                        Grass is not alkaline unless the soil is alkaline. Digestive juices in the small intestine are what neutralize acids. Under normal conditions, the stomach is SUPPOSED TO BE INTENSELY ACIDIC to allow food to begin being digested.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          Thanks, I don't use Google as a reference book normally.

                          And my orchard grass hay is typically higher in protein than most alfalfa . . .

                          Nobody is advocating nothing but alfalfa, but in fact it has some data showing it is actually beneficial in horses with ulcers. Not great, not compelling data, but it's out there, whereas most other feeding philosophies are based on nothing but conventional wisdom and local custom.

                          Nadeau, J.A., F. M. Andrews, and A.G. Matthew. 2000. Evaluation of diet as a cause of gastric ulcers in horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research 61:784-790.

                          Lybbert, T., P. Gibbs, N. Cohen, B. Scott, and D. Sigler. 2007. Feeding alfalfa hay to exercising horses reduces the severity of gastric squamous mucosal ulceration. In: Proceedings of the American Association of Equine Practitioners 53:525-526.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            rodawn, you are so far off it isn't even funny. Since you are sooooooo argumentative, I won't even start.
                            Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                            Now apparently completely invisible!


                            • #15
                              Everyone in the whole world knows this.
                              Well, I guess it's sort of hard to argue with this--without giggling, that is.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • Original Poster

                                Wow, my head is totally spinning now!

                                I really, really appreciate all of the input first of all. I am going to talk to my vet tomorrow about what he thinks I should do. I have owned this horse for quite some time, and never had any problems with him and ulcers until he fractured his sesamoid and was on bute for quite some time. The attitude change was drastic.

                                I have had this horse in 3 different living situations. First he was mostly stalled, turned out about 6-8 hrs/day in good weather and ridden 5-6 days a week. He did fine in this situation. Second he was at my neighbor's for a brief period and was on 24/7 grass, all the hay he could eat, and about 3 quarts of grain a day with the oil added in, skinniest I've ever seen him to be honest with you, but he also fractured his sesamoid 1 1/2 months into this and he had come back from somewhere very, very skinny at the beginning of this. Fast forward to my current boarding situation. We moved here mid-recovery and his weight has really blossomed. We didn't diagnose ulcers until this summer because he was in no work or very inconsistent work, and I didn't notice that he was out-of-his-mind-crazy until I was working him 5 days a week and he was batshit nuts. In the current boarding situation, he is out 24/7 on a dirt lot with a run in and a buddy. Pretty much the best thing for him. I do wish grass turnout was a possibility, but there isn't any. I love the care at my barn, it's in my price range, and the BO loves the horse and does a lot for me, so for now this is the best situation. If there was an indoor and grass turnout, this barn would be what we call perfect, but like I said, I'm not moving for either. Anyways - the horse looks fabulous, took him to a local schooling show and everyone was ooing and awwing at him.

                                I am also not a millionaire, I have recently graduated college, am having a ton of trouble finding a post-grad job in this economy, have a ton of loans to pay off and have minimal help from my parents....so I am doing the best I can for this horse! I love him and did not have the pockets for $6,000 in vet care for a fractured sesamoid, and multiple other bumps in the road, and now ulcers, so I am making do with what I can manage!

                                Right now, there is no way he's going to be on 24/7 grass, and I know people who manage their ulcer horses without it so I have hope. He is not going to eat the alfalfa cubes, so I will look into pellets! I also just don't feel like my boarding situation can juggle/handle crazy extreme feeding without a drastic increase in price, which I just can't afford. I'd like to keep him on SOME grain, just decrease it...so that was basically what I was looking for, a grain that will work for this horse. I know grain free, 24/7 eating is what will really do it, but I should have further explained my situation as I have here to get what I wanted. I have gotten some great rec's for feeds and will update you all tomorrow after I talk to the vet. Again, I appreciate all of the replies, thank you!


                                • #17
                                  I've had good luck with Triple Crown Complete- it has helped to add weight on my mare, her ulcers haven't flared up any more than normal, she isn't hot, and she loves it!


                                  • #18
                                    One of my horses, one of the world's hardest keepers, extremely ulcer prone, ate free choice hay and 12 pounds of grain a day in three or four feedings, with oil. Any less, even when he was retired, and he'd drop weight. Type A all the way. The diet that finally worked for him was McCauley's Alam -- the "non grain" grain and their rice bran oil, with solids. I'd recommend it 100%. http://www.mccauleybros.com/feed/pro...d-22/alam.aspx
                                    The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by rodawn
                                      I mis-typed - Oil in itself is not acid. It does, however, create an acid-forming environment during the digestion process, as does grain. Remember, oil has to be processed in order to be bottled for sale. During that process in order to keep it liquid, there are things done to the product. It is best to add "oil" in the forms of seeds. Not to mention there is the additional benefit of absorption of micro-nutrients within the seeds. Google pH of oil and you see what I mean.

                                      There's so much water in green grasses that it is a neutralizing effect during the digestive process. Too much alfalfa can indeed be hard on the horse's health - - it can cause fecoliths in the gut, stones in the kidney. Small amounts of alfalfa I have no problems with, but most people feed too much. 10% crude protein content in hay is safe for the average horse. 16% in late stage pregnant, lactating mares, and foals. Most alfalfa hays contain far too much alfalfa to meet those standards. If you must have alfalfa, you are better to buy separate bales and measure in the alfalfa to meet the right amounts.

                                      Deltawave you are correct to state the stomach must be intensely acidic in order to digest; however, what you failed to state is that this acid environment must be mitigated by constantly digesting food, which is why a horse is supposed to be GRAZING or eating 24/7, and part of that is also reliant on the horse salivating while he is eating to help alkalinize the stomach environment to some extent. I work in human medicine, our human stomachs only release acids and spurt it out when it is needed, i.e when food lands in the stomach. This is not the case for horses where it constantly produced and always present in the stomach. Certain dietary factors INCREASE the acidity of the stomach environment because of the way they rush through the gut and then the stomach gets left sitting empty for a few hours. Another reason why HIGH FIBER (grass) diets also effectively work to mitigate the acid effects of the digestive process. If you want, I get into some pretty hairy-scary details, since I work in medicine, and can spell out for you in infinite detail exactly what happens during digestion, the chemicals involved, the various hormones produced and exactly what each molecule does during the digestive process.

                                      Excellent article on stomach ulcers, interviewed Michael J. Murray, DVM, who is a professor, and Ms. Adelaide C. Riggs, Chair in Equine Medicine, both at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia. Basically, it repeats what I have said above.


                                      So if you fed no alfalfa how did you increase calcium? My horse eats 100% alfalfa and is not sick. He is just fine, thank you very much.


                                      • #20
                                        I also use TC complete. Started with TC Senior but he stopped eating it. Mine is on 24/7 grass though, if he wasn't I'd have free choice hay.