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If you suspected ulcers....

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  • If you suspected ulcers....

    what is the first thing you'd do before you even got to the point where you'd call the vet for a scope?

    What is the very first line of defense?

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.

  • #2
    If the horse is insured and I'm fairly certain we're dealing with ulcers, I make a scoping appointment. Since insurance usually pays for treatment (but not the scoping) it's worth it to me to just go ahead and get them scoped and get a definitive answer.

    If they are not insured, I'll usually get a week or two of UlcerGuard and see if it helps. If it does, then I treat for a month. If it doesn't , then I'll probably talk to the vet.


    • #3
      Free choice hay.

      Kat came to me with ulcers from 18 mos stall rest/antibiotics/anti-inflams. Back then Gastroguard was really new, and vet wasn't that up on it yet.

      There was a study I found on TBs, that while it takes longer, free choice forage is just as successful in curing ulcers. I can probably dig up the link from the old dead 'puter if you need it.

      After the free choice hay, a low carb/high fiber/added fat diet (ala EPSM) can also be very helpful.
      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


      • #4
        Ulcer Guard and maybe even look into Succeed if your budget can allow it. But scoping and coordinating with your vet is really the best.
        Proud owner of a Spicy mare!!


        • #5
          I do a weeks worth of ulcerguard or gastroguard at the treatment dose. That is generally more than enough time to get a definitive answer. Sometimes its obvious after the first dose.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Very very first?
            I'd personally give Maalox. If symptoms disappear or lessen then I figure it is a stomach issue and I would then call the vet and discuss whether the symptoms may warrant going straight on GG or should we scope first?
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              A couple days of UlcerGard was enough for me to tell. The difference was amazing!
              Y'all ain't right!


              • #8
                Ulcergard. If you see improvement in the horse then revaluate what you are feeding him/her.

                My 3 year old who has had ulcers twice is thriving on beet pulp (heaping amount twice daily), 1# Calf Manna a day, SmartGut and hay/grass paddock turnout. He did drop weight at the trainers (and he also got sick up there) so I have just added Purinas Ultiumn to his rations to see if I can get the bloom back on him. And it could be as simple as he is in a growth spurt right now too.


                • #9
                  People have laughed at me but if I had a horse with ulcers I would also add Lysine, an amino acid, to the diet. It aids in soft tissue repair, lessens the pain and the length of time to heal (mouth) ulcers.
                  Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


                  • #10
                    I am also dealing with possible ulcers and waiting for the vet to come out. Danny has been pretty uncomfortable since Thursday. I dosed him with a syringe of Pepto on Saturday and he was fine on Sunday. Which is better, ulcerguard or gastroguard, for treating until the vet comes out? I was under the impression that gastroguard should be used if ulcers are present and ulcerguard should be used to prevent ulcers from forming. What about the Succeed paste?
                    Zimpatico - 21 year old Hanoverian


                    • #11
                      UlcerGard and GastroGard are the same formulations. UlcerGard is marketed as a preventative because you use 1/4 tube. If you use the whole tube, it's the same amount (same as GastroGard). It also can be a little less expensive (the UlcerGard), but not always.


                      • #12
                        I suspect ulcers on my horse, but could not afford the scoping appointment to tell me whether or not he had them.


                        1) I asked my vet, who referred to me a compounded form of Ulcerguard. The Ulcerguard was very expensive-costing up to $200 per week, but the compounded form given at 2 cc's a day only cost me $150 for the month. I did see results for a while.
                        2) Then he started acting a little ulcery again (not eating, acting nervous...etc), so I asked my vet. She recommended I keep him on u-7 Gastric aid. I first tried the liquid form that was about 60 bucks for a gallon and you administer 2 ounces a day in the food. Then I tried the powder form that was just as costly, but seemed to work.
                        3) Then I started looking for cheaper alternatives and I now permantley keep my horse on the U-guard powder that costs me about 30-40 bucks every 2 months. He always finishes his food, seems to be in a little less nervous, and I am not breaking bank.

                        I am not definite my horse has or had ulcers, but by keeping him on this supplement, it has really improved his appetitie and made him a little less worked up.


                        • #13
                          Is scoping something that must be done at the clinic? My vet said they cannot scope at the farm. I'm having the vet out Thursday to look at him and decide if he will need to be scoped. I'm wondering if I should call around to see if there are other vets that can do the scoping on-site.
                          Last edited by huntereq_princess; May. 24, 2010, 01:14 PM.
                          Zimpatico - 21 year old Hanoverian


                          • #14
                            I would try to provide forage 24/7 and if that wasn't possible then add alfalfa pellets or cubes to grain feedings. Reduce grain intake, add 1/4 c. aloe vera juice to each grain meal, give 60cc of Maalox before rides and add an ulcer supp like U-gard or SmartGut. If you are just seeing mild, first signs I would think you would see some differences with just a few feed and supplement changes. Then you and your vet can decide if you need to scope and treat with ulcergard/gastroguard.


                            • #15
                              My approach is very similar. My OTTB is very anxious and a prime candidate for ulcers. He's thriving on free choice hay, alfalfa pellets, beet pulp and a small amount of ration balancer.

                              When I first got him I also gave him aloe vera.

                              Originally posted by LookinSouth View Post
                              I would try to provide forage 24/7 and if that wasn't possible then add alfalfa pellets or cubes to grain feedings. Reduce grain intake, add 1/4 c. aloe vera juice to each grain meal, give 60cc of Maalox before rides and add an ulcer supp like U-gard or SmartGut. If you are just seeing mild, first signs I would think you would see some differences with just a few feed and supplement changes. Then you and your vet can decide if you need to scope and treat with ulcergard/gastroguard.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                              • #16
                                I believe you can no longer get (nor can the vet legally make) the compounded version because there is an equine version. Same as with Previcox and Equiox. Sounds like a big pharma racket to me.

                                There is someone in the UK who sells omeprazole powder, but it's shipped from India and I'm just not courageous enough to take a chance that it is what it's supposed to be.


                                • #17
                                  My DH came up with a very cost effective way to treat an
                                  elderly horse he owns. He uses famotidine (generic of
                                  Pepcid), tums tablets (ok, he uses the Walmart generic ones) and psyllium.

                                  This mixture will need to be given at 3 regularly spaced
                                  intervals throughout a 24 hour period.

                                  Grind up and put into a pasting tube:

                                  1 ml per kg of weight of famotidine for a whole day, split
                                  the total into 3 portions (usually 3-5 tablets of 40 mg per
                                  2-4 Tums tablets (his horse likes the fruit flavored ones)
                                  (DH notes that 2 grams of sucralfate would be
                                  preferable but more expensive)

                                  Administer to the horse by mouth around 30 minutes
                                  before each meal.

                                  Also feed 1 ounce of psyllium at or near the same time
                                  as the famotidine can result in constipation which the
                                  psyllium will help to correct.

                                  Famotidine is available double strength (40 mg) in bottles
                                  of 1000 tablets with Rx for under $60 (God bless our
                                  local pharmacist for telling us).

                                  Biggest drawback is that the treatment needs to be
                                  administered three times daily at evenly spaced intervals
                                  and a half hour before each of three meals. Works fine
                                  if two people can do treatments, one an early riser and
                                  the other a night owl. Not so great for just one person
                                  unless they don't sleep much.

                                  Behavior change in DH's horse came quickly, in a few
                                  days. Horse stopped showing stomach pain signs and
                                  appetite picked up dramatically.

                                  Oh, this horse is 36 years old and can eat no hay as the
                                  horse lacks teeth to chew.
                                  Last edited by Robin@DHH; May. 24, 2010, 08:31 PM.
                                  Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                                  Elmwood, Wisconsin


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                                    My DH came up with a very cost effective way to treat an
                                    elderly horse he owns. He uses famotidine (generic of
                                    Pepcid), tums tablets (ok, he uses the Walmart generic ones) and psyllium.
                                    Interesting... as someone gave me a very similar recipe a couple years ago. I never had to use it though


                                    • #19
                                      I thought my leased horse was a little ulcer-y when I brought him home from my trainer's. And even before that the suspicion was there because he is sort of a cranky dude. Watery poop, off his feed, etc. Turns out he didn't LIKE my feed and is absolutely thriving on a change, but I also invested a big $8 in a very large bottle of extra-strength TUMS and gave him 4000mg three times a day for one week solid to see if it made a difference. Seems to have done the trick, so he stays on them. Fortunately he thinks they're premium horse treats. Now he cleans his plate (I still think he just didn't care for the old feed), poops are normal, he's gained weight and GLEAMS. Still a cranky-pants, but a lot less so and he hardly ever paws on the cross ties any more. He likes to pretend he's a tough, hardened SOB, but my sneaking suspicion is that he's very emotional.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        My gelding just got scoped for ulcers. I had a long chat with my vet regarding the other generic omeprazole supplements out there, and he was of the opinion that only Merial has found the way to stabilize the molecule, and they aren't giving the secret to anybody else (unfortunately). He believes that the other generic forms of omeprazole are pretty much hit or miss as to whether or not they actually work - they might alleviate some of the symptoms of an ulcer horse, but they don't actually CURE ulcers the way Gastroguard/Ulcerguard do.

                                        My boy has started his month long treatment of Ulcerguard (same stuff as Gastroguard, same price - you just give them the entire tube instead of 1/4 tube).

                                        According to my vet, the best regime for an ulcery horse is low grain/concentrate meals, plenty of free-choice hay or pasture/grazing, soaked beet pulp, and a consistent environment. However, since we have horses so we can ride them, he liked my system of feeding soaked alfalfa cubes (just a couple of handfuls will pretty much fill up a small bucket) before a ride. I also feed SmartGut, which seems to help. I let him nibble on alfalfa/orchard grass hay when we're away from home, and after his monthy long course of Ulcerguard, I'll keep a few tubes handy so that I can give him a 1/4 tube when he's away from home and his stress levels go up (i.e. show, clinic, lesson, etc).
                                        "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                        So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."