U Gard from Cortaflx---anyone use this?
Our 30 year old gelding was diagnosed with ulcers 1 1/2 weeks ago. Given his age, we couldnt justify the $1000 for the prescription meds from the vet. Instead, with the vet's OK (with us knowing the risks) we put him on people Prilosec (the generic) at 9 pills twice a day. He is back to eating his full meals, loping around the pasture, etc.
My question now is about U Gard from Cortaflx which is a supplement that is supposed to be good for horses with ulcers. I was wondering if anyone had tried it.
We want him to be happy and healthy but at 30 years old, heroic measures just aren't practical.
U-gard is just an antacid---it's a calcium product--just like TUMS. Which means that it will decrease pain associated with ulcers for probably 45-60 minutes after dosing so can help ease symptoms of pain brought on by eating a meal when it's top-dressed on the feed, but it won't heal ulcers. You would have to dose it every 45 minutes or so for 28 days to do that.
And how did you come up with the dose of prilosec that you are using? The recommended dose of omeprazole (drug in prilosec) is 4mg/kg once a day. For a 1000 lb (454.5 kg) horse, you are talking about 1818 mg per day. Prilosec tabs are 20mg per tab so giving 18 tabs per day is only 360mg. 91 tabs once per day would be the recommended dose of those. (See why the product labelled for horse is so expensive? )
Besides meds, supply forage free-choice. ( Alfalfa has been shown to decrease the pain associated with ulcers. ) And remove grains and sugar/molasses from the diet.
The dose of Prilosec is from another "country" vet in in the area. Our vet said he couldn't promise it would help but it wasn't going to hurt.
I understand we are dosing well below the suggested amounts but it was honestly either try this or put him down last week. With a 30 year old horse and an unemployed husband, $1000 was just not in the budget for the real horse medicine. With coupons, sales, rebates, etc. I got the generic prilosec for about $7/day vs. $38/day for the horse stuff. We figured it was worth a try.
After just 2 or 3 doses he was back eating his full amount of feed---a mash of mostly beet pulp and alfalfa meal (which we are feeding 4 times a day now instead of 3---same amount of food just smaller amounts more often). He is loping around the pasture and runs to the barn when you call him. He is back to socializing with the other horses, etc.
He does get alfalfa hay as well but since he only has 7 teeth is is more for mental stimulation than nutrition.
If he was a 5 year old up and coming show horse we might have tried the "real" medicine for him, but at 30 we figured it was worth a shot as the other option was to put him down as we did not want to see him in pain/discomfort, losing weight, etc.
I can certainly understand the money issues and doing the best you can with what you have.
Getting back to eating after a couple of days of low prilosec dosing is likely just coincidental---even at full dosing of omeprazole you generally don't see a real change in symptoms for a week. Were the symptoms that caused him to be diagnosed with ulcers new? What were they? How was he diagnosed? (I'm asking mostly for my curiosity....things like this are like puzzles to me.)
The diet you are feeding is not balanced, your calcium levels are quite high. But this might actually be helping with the discomfort of ulcer since is the calcium in the alfalfa hay that helps.
We got him as a rescue--about 300 pounds underweight in Feb. We were told he had a history of ulcers.
He put on weight and by mid summer was at an ideal weight, built up his top line, had some muscle, etc. My 80 pound girls were riding him about 1 hour a day, mostly at a walk about 4-6 days a week.
Then almost 2 weeks ago he started leaving some of his food--which he had never done. He was also quite cinchy when my dd rode him on that Wednesday but rode well the 30 minutes she rode him--no tail swishing, walked nicely , ears up, etc.
By Thursday he was leaving most of his food and just walking away. He was also standing away from the other horses, etc.
We called the vet and he came out within an hour. Heart rate, respiratory rate, temp, etc. were all perfectly normal. He was quite sensitive to touch on his sides but had good/normal gut sounds and had been pooping, peeing and drinking. The vet did blood tests. He was slightly anemic but said the rest of the tests---kidney, liver, immune, etc. were all good.
Basically that is it. We did call the vet very quickly on this and didn't really 'watch and wait" given his age. He never lost weight, didn't run a temp, never had an elevated heart rate, etc.
What diet would you feed an older horse? He tapes now at 1130 pounds and is long and 16hh. We want to do the best for him but cost is an issue.
The vet was amazed he was 30 and the same horse that his partner had seen just a few months earlier as he looks so good for a horse his age.
Well, the U-gard can't hurt. You can sure try it on top of the prilosec. And try spreading his meals out so that he goes for shorter stretches without something in his stomach.
He is a pretty boy.
just a thought: can your vet write you a prescription for the omeprazole and you fill it at your local pharmacy? (we do this all the time for the albuterol liquid that one of our WB's is on.) If you have health insurance, I *think* you can use it to only have to pay your copay for the drug...worth checking into anyway :-)
this may be able to help a little....i had a mini that had ulcers (common) and the prilosec was $$ therefore, i read the ingredents in the prilosec and found a generic med that worked just the same. Tagament is the leading ingredent in prilosec and my local wal-mart sells "tagament". i discussed this option with my vet and he gave me the ok. my mini was acting normal again and eating fine. the dose was substancialy smaller than what you have to give but it worked for us. like i said i hope this helps. good luck.
walmart now sells generic omeprazole, too :D
(BTW, that was one of my questions about the dosing of Prilosec for this old guy---it's a once a day treatment so you would be better off to give all 18 tabs once a day. I'm not sure why your vet has you splitting the dose.)
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