Ulcer Recovery Time- Is it even ulcers?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-26-2020, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Ulcer Recovery Time- Is it even ulcers??

Hello All,
I recently bought a 16 year old Quarter Horse Gelding who is a finished rope horse. Heís totally a ďbeen there done thatĒ guy, and I bought him to learn to rope on. The horse belonged to a friend of a friend before me, and I have actually known the horse for the past four years, and would ride him maybe once a month before I bought him. So anyway, he had really not been being worked much before I bought him. So when he moved down to the desert with me where I live, I started working him more to get him back in shape!

Here is where the problem starts. About a month after I got him, one day I went to cinch him up and he was NOT happy. He would pin his ears and toss his head when I went to tighten his cinch. Mind you, I never cinch up a horse super tight all at once, but little by little as I make my way to the arena. I didnít think much of it at first, but then one day he actually turned around and tried to bite me, and another time tried to kick his belly. I immediately gave him a swift smack on the shoulder because I DO NOT tolerate that behavior. I was nevertheless concerned becasue as I said, Iíve known this horse for years before I bought him and he has never ONCE offered a bite, or even pinned his ears. This is the horse that meets you at the gate, and will let little kids hand all over him.

Then about two months into having him, we had a heat wave come through and after an evening trail ride he coliced. I stayed with him all night and he ended up going to the vet for the next three days to be on fluids and get rehydrated. The vet and I speculated it could have been a number of things: New environment, the sudden heat wave, ate too much too fast etc. At the vet, they monitored him for those three days, he got an ultrasound, and he was sent home with a clean bill of health.

After he got back from the vet I kept riding like usual, but his cinchyness didnt go away. In fact, it got so bad after a couple weeks that I couldnít even TOUCH his sides without him trying to bite or kick. When I ride, he seems fine, except he pins his ears when I ask him to lope. He will pick up the lope not problem, I can just tell he isnít happy about it. He is 100% sound though. At this point Iím extremely concerned because this is not his usual behavior.

After consulting with the Vet, he said it could be 1) ulcers or 2) some sort of blockage. To rule out ulcers, Iíve put him on a 2 week round of Gastro Guard. Iíve also just stopped riding for now, and have just been turning him out in the arena and half walking him, occasionally hopping on bareback for an easy cruise down the trail. I am currently about 9 days into that 2 week treatment, and he seems A LITTLE better. On his left side, I can run my hand down where the cinch goes and back under his belly and he doesnít care at all. On the right side, he will still pin his ears and toss his head.

Basically, I need input. Something tells me he will still be sensitive after the two weeks on Gastroguard. Should I treat him for a month? ($$$$) Should i have him scoped for ulcers before i drop another $600 on two more weeks of Gastroguard? Does anyone think he is just being a brat? Anyone have any experience with Gastroguard? How long does it usually take for that behavior to change? Should I ride him like usual anyway and just discipline him when he tries to bite.

I just want my old horse back!! HELP!
LauraKerko is offline  
post #2 of 3 Old 05-26-2020, 03:16 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.......

If you've known the horse for 4 years prior to purchasing...what have you changed in the diet that could be part of the problem catalyst.
Feed change?
Hay change?
Remove a vitamin given?
Change from t/o on grass to dry lot?
Remove companions or give companions to the animal?

Your horse sounds to be being plagued by ulcers with reaction to, onset and progression of intensity of and now both the colic and treatment plan the vet has as a response to stimuli and discomfort.
So, many horses suffer from serious stomach acid and as a horse becomes active with riding the acid sloshes, now aggravating sensitive tissue of esophagus and upper stomach area where acid not normally reach.
A often tried way to offer some support, buffering and help is to feed the horse prior to riding some alfalfa hay, soaked cubes or softened pellets.
{I don't feed dry cubes or pellets ever as with touch of saliva the risk for expansion in small areas = choke is huge}
I'm not a vet, but if your vet gave you prescription strength drugs for ulcer treatment, then I would have to believe the vet thinks you are dealing with ulcers.

To scope...whats it going to do but give a yay or nay to ulcers and cost you a ton of money for the same thing you are discovering by treating.
You may need to do a second dose if the horse has such sensitivity and gnawing raw inside the gut.
Some horses produce more and stronger acid than others.
Sometimes that is attributed to food fed or foods not fed.
Some brands and types of food today have stomach acid neutralizers added for animals who are susceptible to stomach/gut problems.
Nutrena and Purina brands do, think Triple Crown does...not sure about others. Gastric formulas...
A discussion with the vet to what can you give daily to reduce the amount of acid made and reduce the acidic level so not so caustic a enzyme might also be a discussion needed to have.

I also have to wonder if it is the workload the horse is now back under that has caused some of the issue.
Roping horses...can be a very intense sport/job.
You get all personalities and sometimes that can mean a horse who is uptight in attitude and stressed with being "in the box", ridden in close proximity to cows and knowing he will be having to perform his known job again soon.
Some animals are wiped out and done being rope horses at some point in their career and never can see a box again without it wrecking their mind, their attitude, & their gut..

My friends had one like this...a been there done it guy.
Heck of a nice animal till someone mounted, picked up a rope and entered the box...the animal changed in front of your eyes to possessed and ballistic attitude...get that cow killer attitude.
I had been riding that horse myself as clean-up, push the cows back to the waiting pen...I had to look twice then again to be certain it was the same animal.
Rope rider stepped off and I sheepishly stepped aboard to the horse settling down and calmly resuming pushing cows...
Just don't hold a rope and go in the box unless you are prepared for dynamite to go off under you.

You took a older horse, one who was semi-retired and now are working him harder and conditioning...
I would be making sure you are you dealing with what sounds like ulcers {you are with treatment approach in place}, also ruling out any physical ailments that can plague rope horses as they age if they worked years and hard in that career...old hurts coming back to haunt them and the horses do not like it.

For now, if me I would be continuing the treatment regiment prescribed by the vet.
Speak to the vet now about something to reduce the acid amount made and acidic level of that acid.
Ask if feeding a small amount 1/2 hour prior to exercise of alfalfa hay or product of cubes would help in neutralizing and reduce slosh factor since alfalfa is supposed to help with the ph level used against acid.
If still friends with those you got the horse from, talk to them...ask some pretty direct questions of did they encounter this themselves and what worked to make the animal comfortable.
This could be new, this could be something they know about and just did not think to tell you of since when you got the horse he was semi-retired and good to go...now work demands changed he needs some help.
Like I will restate...I am not a vet but have listened and learned some tidbits from people who have had similar issues and listened to many a vet on treatment options to try.
Good luck finding a reason, finding a solution and using that solution to make the horse a comfortable riding partner again.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
horselovinguy is online now  
post #3 of 3 Old 05-26-2020, 04:07 PM
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I have a 3 yo that in Jan. and Feb. of this year started exhibiting some of the same symptoms you describe. Cinchy and tenderness in her flanks. She was diagnosed as having ulcers and was put on Omeprazole ( human drug Prilosec). She did 30 days on that then I used Ulcer Guard for a month. She was doing good and I was riding her but, I still could tell a little cinchiness, so I talked to a roper friend of mine since his wife barrel raced and most barrel horses are hyper. He said both his horses and his wife and daughter's barrel horses showed signs of ulcers from time to time. He said they supplemented Purina Outlast and also gave it to their horses before heavy exercise. He said it really worked well for them. I put my filly on it and I can tell a great improvement and she acts normal now.
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