Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
First, I'd try and ditch the sweet feed altogether. Actualy, reduce his intake of all concentrates as much as possible. Feeds like Purina BIR (built in roughage) are a good option, though as they are very high in fiber and therefor easier on the stomach as fiber is the most easily digested form of calories for horses. Is your horse a good keeper or no? Either way, a high fiber, low glycemic feed is the best bet. Also feed small meals frequently throughout the day as opposed to two large meals of concentrate. Give a lot of turn out on good pasture. Try to ensure as much water intake as possible. Giving Equilizer is a good thing for this as it has good levels of salt etc. to encourage water consumption. Don't use electolyte powder in the water as many horses will drink less water in the end because of the taste.
While gastro guard is without a doubt the best treatment, the generic Omeprazole is a good second choice. It comes in tubes as well as powder and liquid form. If this horse is a fussy eater, I'd go with the paste. I've never used the pills your vet is having you use, so I can't comment from experience with them. However if he's not eating them, you can try putting them in a 60cc dose syringe with water and disoving them. This way you can just dose them orally.
Natural options that can help support other forms of treatment and are useful in maintenance are aloe vera juice/gel, and slippery elm. Blessed thistle helps with appetite, while milk thistle is a good all-around choice and it tastes good as well. You may think I;m nuts, but we've had success using chiropractic and massage in treating ulcers. The theory is that the animal causes/worsens the condition because of discomfort elsewhere in the body and it creates a vicious circle.
I feel you pain on this topic...I work with racehorses so deal with this issue every day. It's a tough road but can be managed.
Keep me updated!
~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork