Nutrition people, please help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Nutrition people, please help!

Drifter has ulcers. Vet believes it was a condition he has been living with for a quite a while due to poor management from previous owners. He was scoped a few months back but the scope did not show anything. His symptoms increased and vet officially diagnosed him a few days ago.Poor dude
I have been researching as much as possible on ulcer diets but I was hoping y'all could help me clear up a few points and give me advice where needed.

I posted in this section a while back about using purina strategy to help drifter gain much needed pounds. He is doing fantastic, and his grain intake has been cut down to maintenance levels. Should I cut the strategy completely now that i know he has ulcers? And if so, what do I replace it with that will help him maintain his weight? He is an appendix, but is a hard keeper (I
Blame his TB mother haha).

His current feed routine is:
-5 lbs purina strategy broken up into an AM and PM feeding at 2.5lbs/feeding
The purina is soaked because it has still been pretty hot down here and drif does not always drink as much as he should
- he gets a flake of grass hay with each feeding
- he gets a flake of alfalfa with his PM feeding, plus one flake before a ride
-he is on 24/7 pasture in an approx. 70 acre pasture with 20 or so other geldings.

For ulcers he is getting 13 150mg ranitidine pills with his AM feeding and 15 pills with his PM feeding. He is on this until his ulcer guard comes in.

I rode him a little bit today and just 2 days of the ranitidine has changed him completely! Vet says this confirms it is ulcers.

I am wanting to start him on soaked alfalfa cubes beause my vet told me this can help soothe his stomach. Should I replace his hay intake with this? Or should it replace the strategy ? Or just be in addition to everything?

Thank you for your thoughts! Also, drifter never showed the symptom of being a little off his grain. I try not to go off that when diagnosing any issues he had. I feel like due to his lack of feeding in the past, if there is grain there he is gonna eat it. He does eat slower when it's soaked, but does not seem reluctant. Only adding this because my vet had mentioned that most horses are reluctant to eat grain with ulcers since it causes a build up of acid if I understand correctly. Drif was never like this.
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post #2 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 09:17 AM
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Lot of hits but no replies yet. So here we go from my point-of-view since my 26 yo Arab has mild gastric ulcers and my 25 yo TWH has hind gut ulcers, lipomas and Equine Metabolic Syndrome

My Arab's stomach ulcers will generally flare up toward the end of winter. I would also give him Ranitidine but, he's only 13.3H and ~840 lbs so got 16/daily. It finally ended up that it was just easier and better for him if I bought 30 days of banana flavored, liquid Omeprazole from the vet --- at $150

My horses don't get grain (more on that later). My Arab's flare-ups are caused by not having enough green grass. I can hunt down and feed him all the "Prime Rib" grass hay that I want and it doesn't help by the end of winter.

What has helped to keep him off ulcer meds these last two years is feeding him well-soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes. I buy Standless from Tractor Supply.

They need to be soaked so the horse doesn't choke but my Arab's are "well-soaked" and hand-broke into wet grass because he has four molars missing.

Right now he gets ~one pound in the AM. Somewhere thru winter, I will add another pound in the evening. He's been with me 19+ years so I have learned to tell when his tummy is getting uncomfortable. If I try feeding him two pounds a day, all year long, he refuses to eat it He's also a persnicketty little Old Curmudgeon - lol

He also gets a ration balancer and equine rice bran. Rice bran because he is a hard keeper. Rice is 22% healthy fat and provides cool energy to the horse.

I buy Manna Pro's "Maxi-Glo" also at Tractor supply. It comes in meal or pellet form. I use pellets.

Regarding the Strategy: It is not a ration balancer; it is a grain-based feed. I would get him off it. If Purina is your only choice or it's your preference, their Enrich 32 is their ration balancer.

The ration balancer that I feed my Arab is Triple Crown's 30% BUT he doesn't like it and oddly enough, neither did my 25 yr old.

Equine Supplement-Triple Crown Pelleted 30% Equine Supplement

I am mixing in a bit of Triple Crown's Senior until I get all the 30% used up. I plan on calling TC and asking what's in there that makes it taste yukky to two of my horses

Senior Horse Feed | Triple Crown Senior Horse Feed Formula Helps Keep Older Horses Healthier The grain products are far down the Ingredients list and are "dried" grains.

I prefer Triple Crown because they list their ingredients; Purina and Nutrena do not and I don't like that.

You may have some other high quality vit/min supplement or ration balancer in your area that you can switch to. Whatever you feed, I would add the rice bran.

Omega-3 Horseshine (flax) might also be good for him. Tractor Supply carries that, too

If the Ranitidine is keeping your horse under control, the Ulcer Gard should work for him.

IMHO, I think it would help to add some alfalfa but I would add the timothy/alfalfa cubes at one or two pounds daily and see what happens. I weigh them dry, then add cold water no more than 30 minutes before feeding in this heat so they don't turn sour.

My horse with the hind-gut ulcers is on Succeed ----- at $3/day

Here's the link to read up on it but this is serious ulcer medication and a site I might bookmark in case you need something stronger down the road. You don't need a prescription for this like you do EquiOtic.

Valley Vet sells Succeed. SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program Equine Supplement

So the bottom line is to try and feed him the smallest amount of feed possible, while still providing him with healthy energy and fat. Of course all the grass hay and fresh grass he can handle is needed because horses are forage animals first.

Hope this helps you a little
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post #3 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you walkinthewalk!! Just what I was looking for :) the purina was not a special choice of mine... When I went to the feed store to get something besides the all stock he had been on it was a choice between sweet feed or strategy. Since then though we have had a TRactor supply open though and they have many more choices!

I will add the cubes slowly like you suggest. Can I feed them along with his grass hay? And I will look into rice bran this morning when I go to tractor supply as well! Thanks a ton. :)
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post #4 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 10:50 AM
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Your vet is right with the alfalfa. It works as s buffer for the stomach acids.
I'd NOT restrict his hay intake at all, give him a flake of alfalfa before each grain meal and make sure he has something to nibble on at all times. A slow feeder haynet might be a good investment, he will eat his hay constantly, in small amounts, so it lasts longer, and once he figures out that there is always something he will not stress over meals no more.
For grain I'd use alfalfa pellets soaked, beet pulp, rice bran, highly recommend the Omega Horseshine and either a ration balancer or a general vitamin/ mineral supplement.
If you can, feed several small meals during the day and as I said, hay all the time in the net.
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post #5 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 11:20 AM
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Yes, you can feed the cubes along with the hay but the cubes do need soaked so he doesn't choke. I give them to my Arab first so I can get that pan washed and put back, while he's eating something else in another pan - lol lol lol

As DHW suggested, if you can get alfalfa pellets that might be better because you wouldn't have to soak them.

The slow feeder net is another good idea if he's fast eater. I use one on my IR horse but didn't think about because my Arab (with the gastric ulcers) is a very slow and cautious eater, so it never occurred to me for you
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post #6 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Yes he is a pretty speedy eater. He is up in a private paddock right now healing from a grade 2 sacroiliac strain. He can touch noses with his buddies over his fence (when they're in the front part of the pasture anyways) so that is at least helping him not add to the ulcers with additional stress. I have started putting 3 or more hay piles in the paddock, as spread out as I can get them. Otherwise he will stand at one, eat it until its gone and then be hayless haha. Multiple piles seem to have helped. I gave him some soupy alfalfa cubes this morning with his breakfast and his pills, he loved them! And I must say, it smelled delicious even to me! Haha. The slow hay feeder seems like a great idea!! That would force him to nibble and now just bolt down. Thanks y'all :)

I have heard bananas also help coat the stomach?? Is that true?
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post #7 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 12:36 PM
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Just a note- for the rice bran, be sure it's stabilized. Rice bran goes rancid very quickly, and I've seen non-stabilized versions that have already been on the store shelf for 2 months With only one or two horses, even a 'fresh' bag would go bad before you could go through it. In my area, the stabilized rice bran sells for 2-3x as much as the non-stabilized bags.

Also, I highly recommend to make sure your horse's new diet is balanced. I've found it very helpful for my horse.
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post #8 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 12:55 PM
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Feedxl also has recommendations for feeding horses with digestive health issues.

And I would add to verona's comment on rice bran, stabilized fortified rice bran is what you want. It's the only kind my TSC carries, so I don't have to worry about it so much.
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post #9 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Signed up for that site this morning :) unfortunately, ulcers is not listed.

Random possibly stupid question about hay....if he eats it all in pretty much one sitting will that cause colic? Should I be limiting the amount he gets in the paddock until I get a slow feeder?
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post #10 of 31 Old 09-13-2012, 01:12 PM
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Can someone throw out a flake at a time every hour or so until your feeder comes in? Just look at it like doctoring any other injury. This is what he needs to get healthy.

He shouldn't colic, but he will probably have some pain if his stomach is empty for a long time.
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