Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
Several people have mentioned ulcers before for this horse, so I think you're on the right track. If at all possible, have him scoped so you know the location of the ulcers. Stomach ulcers are treated differently than hindgut ulcers. Then scope again after treatment so you know if they are healed, or if he needs to be treated longer. Some horses need treatment for life. If money is an issue and you can't afford to treat AND scope, then treat and if you see a difference, it's likely the problem. Again, once treatment is finished, scoping to be sure things are healed should be done if at all possible. UlcerGard/GastroGard runs about $30/tube, so treatment is not cheap, but $1000 to have a comfortable horse is worth it.
I wouldn't mess around with the 'might work, might not, might be dangerous' internet remedies. If you've ever had an ulcer, you know how painful and miserable they make you feel. Treat with something that actually is proven to work. Get the ulcergard and start there. Yes, it's expensive. But the jury is still out on whether non-buffered versions of Omeprazole even work. They often don't and then you still have a painful horse and even less money. There's some evidence that after a couple of weeks at the recommended dose, Ulcergard dose can be cut in half for the remainder of the treatment, but visit with a vet before doing that. A friend's mare is chronically anxious and ulcer-prone. She was on Ulcergard paste for a month, then half dose for a month, then quarter dose for a few weeks, then every other day for a few weeks more. Stopping cold-turkey caused her ulcers to come roaring back, but this protocol worked for her. She's treated with a few days' worth during stressful periods-- being hauled to an event or clinic, introduction of a new horse to her herd, etc. So far so good.
Alfalfa is a godsend for ulcery horses. Is Bee getting any alfalfa? If not, I'd look at adding some to his diet. The above mare gets a couple of cups of alfalfa pellets while being tacked up for a ride, so she's always got something in her stomach when working. A lot of people have found that alfalfa hay/pellets before work keep their ulcer-prone horses comfortable. That has really helped keep my friend's mare from redeveloping ulcers, as her past history included being scoped clear, then showing symptoms again once put back into work. The longer treatment course, weaning down, and not working her on an empty stomach has kept the mare ulcer-free for a couple of years now. Feed with ulcer prevention ingredients and several supplements are out there, but those tend to work better (if at all) on ulcer prevention rather than ulcer treatment.
It's also important to work with your barn owner and make sure your horse isn't going long periods without food ahead of him. Horses are meant to eat most of the day--- 17 - 20 hours a day. A few flakes of hay and scoop of grain twice a day isn't enough. If Bee doesn't have access to 24/7 quality pasture, make sure he's nearly always got hay ahead of him. If he eats too quickly, look into slow-feed nets or boxes, but it seems that the key issue in preventing ulcers in horses is providing forage nearly the whole day. Horses penned or stalled and only fed 2-3x per day are far more likely to get ulcers than horses who can move around, graze at will all day, and never get an empty belly.
Last edited by SilverMaple; 05-20-2019 at 12:52 PM.