Ulcers - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Ulcers

Its has been a long weekend. I am very tired so please excuse the lack of proper grammar in this.

So it came to my attention that Bee had not fully shed out yet. This was something I remember him always having a problem with. Since I have been starting out volunteering at the new barn, and the manager is the one who professionally body clips horses. She offered to do him for $25. I had her use a #5 tip, or something like that. So it was not too short.

His behavior was embarrassing. She did not want me to tie him up because she didn't want it to be a bad experience for him or me so I just held him. He started off pretty good. But he progressively got worse. Let me disclose this now, he was not afraid of the clippers. Which is what she was explaining to me since she could easily clip his face and ears without him even having a small reaction.

He was moving around, kicking, trying to bite me, and overall just making it as difficult as possible. She could not finish his back legs because he had kicked out at her multiple times, barely missing her head. We gave him breaks, walked him around, tried to reward him for being good with apples. He was just not having it.

She said that she doesn't think he's mean or bad, and he has a lot of personality and is just a big goofy horse. She said that her bet is that he has ulcers. She based it off the fact that he was fine and comfortable until she moved on to a certain part of his belly where the ulcers usually sit. She said that's probably why he also pulls back when I go to tack him up, and why he gets super ****y and kicks and pins his ears while I tack up.

She said that I could get him scoped by a vet to verify it, but it seemed pretty like ulcery behavior shes seen before.

So after that long story I do have questions. We started putting a tablespoon of turmeric and olive oil in his feed as suggested by her. But we are going to get him some kind of ulcer supplement too. Anyone who ever dealt with ulcers before, which brand do you suggest and see results from? Also, is it still ok to ride while he has ulcers or should I wait until its better? TIA
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 10:53 AM
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I would have him scoped and treat with proper ulcer medications. Not cheap ,but personally I wouldn't mess around with it.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 10:56 AM
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Well this comes a huge surprise cough cough ;)

As I understand it ulcers are one of those things you can treat (with PROPER medication btw) and if things improve then probably was that. Or get scoped and be safe. I will say at my yard most ppl just treat and wait it out but it's always been with real stuff prescribed by vets. Hopefully it is something as "simple" as this but I mean... what is causing the ulcers?
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 10:59 AM
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Scoping has gotten a lot cheaper but then again so has treatment.

Scoping helps to verify the location of the ulcers beyond a shadow of a doubt though and you treat stomach ulcers differently to how you treat hindgut ulcers. So if in doubt, scope.

Speak to your vet. Follow their advice.

There's an awful lot of anecdotal evidence in favour of treatments that are scientifically proven to be dangerous. So... don't trust what you hear or read.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 11:41 AM
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Why would anyone recommend turmeric for ulcers when, alongside the glowing reports for it healing them you have people who suffered the opposite effect - in themselves or in their horses.
Its too much of a risk to take when there are already proven tested, researched medications available.


If you don't want to spend money on a scope if the symptoms are there then put him on a course of omeprazole combined with an antacid that also protects the lining of the stomach - try U-Gard


If you haven't dewormed recently with a moxidectin active product then you should also consider that the problem might be caused by encysted small strongyles.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 11:53 AM
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Hmm, my immediate though isn't related to your initial question, but I feel like sharing it anyway.

Before he goes out to work, or get clipped, or whatever the event is for the day, can he eat a little hay? Not a lot, just enough to have something in his stomach, so that the acid isn't coming up and hurting him. I do a scoop of hay pellets or a heaping handful of hay. My horse is less grumpy then.

Then I would try giving him some food(not grain), lunging him, then a little more food, then the body clip, and see if he stands better. You could easily try this today, or tomorrow before the vet arrives to scope him to see if it makes any difference at all. The vet will probably want to scope, then prescribe some medication. You should have a much better horse after a little while.

Ok, just my thoughts.
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 12:06 PM
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I'm not against a vet check or scoping but I will admit that when I worry about ulcers I usually go ahead and treat with ulcer guard and play the see what happens game. I don't wait a horribly long time if the results aren't what I'm hoping for but I'll pay the $50 for the ulcer guard and then go ahead and spend the 200-300 bucks on a vet visit.

and just so there are no surprises on cost if you go for the 25 to scope - don't forget to add the 25 or so exam fee, the farm call fee (mine is 35), sedation fee etc.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 12:34 PM
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I think that's the first thing I suspected when watching the video in the other thread: ulcers. My mare just finished ulcer treatment not too long ago & she is so much better. I did get her scoped at the vet, because I didn't want to waste money on medicine - I wanted to be SURE she actually had them. A lot of people just treat it & wait/see, but I just wanted to be sure.

If you use a supplement & he has ulcers, chances are it won't do anything for him. He needs treatment for them if he has them. Then you can start a supplement for prevention afterwards.

I'd get him scoped to be sure. Treatment isn't cheap, but it's well worth it IMO. My mare has never felt better. Her coat was rough, she got skinnier, she had major attitude (from the pain), etc. Now she's happier than ever & looks so much better.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 12:45 PM
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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.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-20-2019, 03:02 PM
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I also agree with @SilverMaple . The medicine isn't cheap, but it WORKS.

People kept telling me to get different versions of it, and I was like nope...a lot of people I know that used the other things either didn't get rid of the ulcers, or it took forever. It's best to just get what works, and the real stuff.

How is Bee's turnout situation though? Is he constantly on forage? It's important to keep them on constant forage, always having access to grass/hay. My mare got ulcers because she was being put in a dry lot at night with NO grass/hay access for 12+hrs. She was used to constant forage beforehand.
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