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Discussion Starter #1
So I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with a back story, this will be long I apologize. It means so much to me and I'm a bit heartbroken.

So-
Trouble was at my mothers, where I was living, since last August. I had some major disagreements over the way they handled my horse, and I made sure to set strict rules on feeding and handling. I was always there to watch from the shadows and raise a fuss when something popped up I didn't like.

Then I finally found a full time job. I've been finished school for almost a year now, and was stuck in a rut so a job was a great thing for me. I could finally afford my own vet, farrier and feed bills. Upon getting this job, I had to move two hours away from my horse, to my fathers farm. I worked for a month, without seeing my horse, before I was able to take him home. What kickstarted this was when I found out they were sneakily feeding him massive amounts of sweet feed, something I made very very clear I did NOT want being fed to my horse.

My mother is one of those people who are " my way or the highway" or "if I think it's right that's the only right way". So I got him out of there asap.

He's been home almost three weeks. I have an utterly, completely different animal. It really hit me yesterday.

The first thing I noticed is that he was very nervous when he came home. Okay. He just got home, I'll give him some time to settle in, it's just nerves.

Then I noticed he was extremely head shy and did not want to be caught.

I know this horse. I raised this horse. I trained this animal and I know him inside and out.

He has almost no life in him. More than once I've walked into his stall with his grain and he's standing in the corner, with his head hanging low, hay untouched. I shake his bucket and he doesn't even look up. He'll slowly wander over and pick around in his grain. I gave him a tube of regenereq plus a few days after he got home to get him eating and it worked-kind of. He still has days that I walk in and he's mopey.

Yesterday was my breaking point. I did some groundwork with him and he's very high headed, eyes rolled back, terrified. Instead of backing away from me he will wheel away in a panic. We did work for an hour and I put him out on a good note when he was calm and responding well.

He always looks terribly worried. When the barn door opens he will start and nearly fall down. He doesn't want to look at me, will stand facing me but pull his head around to face behind him. He does NOT want me touching his face. Haltering him has turned into a small battle- when before I would hold the halter out and he would put his own head in it. I spent enough time that he is almost 100% back to haltering normally.

Then yesterday I was cleaning his stall. He was standing in the corner watching when I grabbed the long handled broom. He went completely insane. He jumped, full tilt into the solid wall. He was scrambling to get away, eyes rolled all the way back, making squealing noises of fear, breathing hard, and eventually ended up with his head stuck in the corner, his bum toward me all tucked in, just shaking. I have NEVER seen a horse react this way in my entire life.

I touched his rump with the handle lightly and he climbed up the wall. He will kick at the handle when I touch his legs with it. If I put it anywhere near his head he will stand up and hit his head on the ceiling.

I cried. I am so incredibly heartbroken that my sweet boy is experiencing such intense pure fear. I have no idea what they did to my horse. I have hours and hours of re training to do. I was ready to put him into full time saddle work when I left him, and now we have to start all over. I'm also afraid he's sick. He's so lifeless sometimes. I don't know what to do or where to start.

Would it be worth calling the vet? What would I say? "I don't see any glaring symptoms of anything but I know something is wrong?" He's very active in the pasture. He is a bit skinny but he grazes with zero issues and interacts with the herd fine. He bucks and runs in the pasture. I just don't know what to do now. Everything I worked for for three years has been undone.
 

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Wow! It sounds as though he has been traumatized. If he is grazing fine, running and bucking with the herd and acting normal out there, it doesn't sound like he is sick, although it wouldn't hurt to give him a once over by the vet.

I would just let him get used to things and let him decompress. It sounds like he needs a break. You can't undo what has been done, if anything. You can only go from where you are at. Just allow him to realize that he's fine now and just act like you always have with him.
 

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I would get the vet out. From what I know of Trouble he's a (very) easy keeper. You say he's thin after getting massive amounts of sweet feed, plus his behavior is erratic and inconsistent. I don't know how much "massive" amounts are but I'm thinking it's to blame for most of this. Plus no sweet feed/hay based diet to "massive amounts" then back in just a few months is another thing all together.

I would have him checked out as a starting point. I agree with just letting him decompress though. I know he's your baby and it must be hard but try to treat him neutrally as you would a new horse and just let him be. Then start from scratch, not in a "need to redo everything" way but just a tune up. I think once he's back in the right place he will pick right back up where he left off. He knows you and trusts you he just needs to remember that right now.
 

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Honestly, why do they even make sweet feed anymore? You can't tell me the makers of this stuff do not know that it's not good for them.
 

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The most obvious possibility to me would be that Trouble developed ulcers from the move. A horse getting lots of sweet feed might be on the edge of getting ulcers already, with an acidic gut, then a move that causes stress or not eating enough for a few hours or days can create the very acidic environment and consequent erosion that causes the ulcers.

To me the clues would be poor appetite and a change in behavior, along with seeming anxious and upset about working. I've talked to humans with ulcers, and it can be a very sharp or burning pain. The pain can get worse when the horse eats or exercises. Some horses go into "fight or flight" mode from the pain, and have an abrupt personality change. I've seen it happen to several horses now, after a big move. With some they seem like completely different horses. My own mare was so upset with her ulcers that she got soaked with sweat just walking a half mile on a cool day. She also started attacking other horses.

If your vet can get you compounded Omeprazole, it's quite affordable and our vets always say "try it" if you think the horse might have ulcers. I think a treatment lasts about two weeks and costs about $30. Online information will say compounded is not as effective as the tubed Gastrogard or Ulcergard, but so far it's worked for the horses we've treated with it.
 

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@gottatrot What do you mean when you say a treatment lasts about two weeks.
 

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Oh my goodness, I felt like crying when I read your story. He sounds like he's been absolutely traumatized. I can't imagine anyone ever doing something like that to Joy. I would want to hurt them. For him to react like that to a broom handle...

It sounds like you've done a lot of great work with him and don't necessarily need advice but I would spend 90% of your time just talking to him and loving him. I really do believe they are like people in that they understand when someone is talking to them in a soothing tone and it calms them.

I do agree about getting the vet out.

He's going to be ok. He's with you again, and because of that he's going to be ok.
 

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You give the Omeprazole daily for a period of time to treat the ulcers, about two weeks.
ok, so 30 dollars worth of medication last two weeks on a daily dosage when you have it compounded?
 

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Why is the time period 2 weeks as opposed to 2/3 MONTHS on gastro/ulcergard? I find that odd.

It wouldn't hurt as a trial period I'm just not convinced it's a cue if he does have them.
 

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Omneprazole needs to be given longer than two weeks. From my understanding, it takes two weeks for the ulcers to heal depending on severity, then the medication needs to he slowly tapered off so as not to cause a rebound in stomach acid.
When I treated for ulcers, it was almost twice months. One months of treatment, then a couple weeks of tapering.
 

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ok, so 30 dollars worth of medication last two weeks on a daily dosage when you have it compounded?
You all are right, I forgot because the last time I used it was for preventative and not ulcer treatment. So the treatment we've done for horses has been one month for ulcers. So it was actually about $60 in cost.

Versus the tubed version which is not compounded. The dosing is 4 mg/kg, and for my horse the dose was 1.5 grams daily. A 2 gram tube costs around $30, so as you can see the compounded version is much cheaper. At least four or five horses I've known have used the compounded and had their ulcers clear up.

When I used the Omeprazole for ulcers, I just did the taper during the last five days or so of the month long treatment. By then, all symptoms were gone. Ulcers may take longer to heal, but usually they resolve quickly as long as you've addressed the problem that created them to begin with.

So if you continue to feed grain, or exercise the horse during treatment or on an empty stomach, or don't provide lots of long stemmed forage continuously, etc., the treatment might have to combat those things and go on for longer.
 

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Why is the time period 2 weeks as opposed to 2/3 MONTHS on gastro/ulcergard? I find that odd.

It wouldn't hurt as a trial period I'm just not convinced it's a cue if he does have them.
With several horses I've seen that had ulcers:
The first started eating normally within three days, and looked more calm and relaxed. That seemed an obvious clue the horse actually did have ulcers.

The second one was grinding his teeth, appeared depressed and was also off his feed. He started eating after two days and was bright again.

The third one was nipping at his belly and acting spooky and nervous. He mellowed down and stopped nipping his belly within a week. He actually never went off his food in the first place, so that didn't change.

Based on these observations and the cost, I recommend a week trial to see if anything changes. I'm not saying this is the issue, I'm just saying I have seen behavioral changes that were related to ulcers after a move, and that it was an easy fix.
 

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Yes, versus the tubed version which is not compounded. The dosing is 4 mg/kg, and for my horse the dose was 1.5 grams daily. A 2 gram tube costs around $30, so as you can see the compounded version is much cheaper. At least four or five horses I've known have used the compounded and had their ulcers clear up.

Thanks, that's good to know. I had to treat Laela for ulcers once when someone allowed her to get a hold of a chlorine tablet and she ate it. I started treatment immediately instead of waiting to see on vets recommendation. It was pretty pricey for the tubes of ulcer guard.
 
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I sent my stallion to a trainer and got back a different horse, not in a good way either. It took just about a year to get him back to being the kind, trusting, well mannered horse he had been. In that year I didn't ask a lot of him. Yes, he still had to mind his manners, still had to let the farrier work on him and allow the vet to do whatever even though he was now petrified of men but I didn't make him work. I'd get on him bridleless and just let him wander around where he wanted to go or even just stand there if that's what he wanted. I spent a lot of time doing with him things that he liked as in grooming, scratching his belly (His absolute favorite thing LOL), slowly desensitizing him to things again without demanding that he stand there...free to walk away because he had no halter or lead rope on him. Let me tell you it lightened my heart up when he started trusting me again and then as that grew he quit being so fearful of everything. It took a long time and I probably could have pushed it faster but I just had the feeling he needed slow to come all the way back. Taking that year was well worth it.

Good thing that trainer dumped him off and took off for parts unknown because I'd probably still be in prison. To this day I'd take a baseball bat to him if I saw the lowlife. Even though Thunder has his good disposition back he still has to live with a tongue that's barely attached.
 

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I agree getting vet out is where to start. Nothing really to add other than I am so sorry to hear this, and wishing the very best for yall.
 

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oh no... your oh so sweet pretty boy . How awful. I would have the Vet run a blood panel , make sure there is not liver/kidney metabolic issues from all the sweet feed.
it sounds like someone did a real number on him. Poor boy. I hope he comes around and turns back into the sweet baby you left. I would be more than upset.
Start with the Vet. Get rid of sweet feeds. Start with petting and cooing and calm quiet time with him . I hope he comes around soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think ill call the vet then. I've been having a no-nonsense attitude with him, as he got a little testy over his feed and nipped so he got a good pop with the bucket.

Some days he's good, but some days are a lot worse than others. He's into his routine now and he comes into his stall by himself at sunset now.

He's just so incredibly different. It's awful. I worked for years to mould a mind I could work with and that I enjoyed and it seems like it's come all undone.

Right now he's off the sweet feed completely. I give him a handful (one cup) of honesty pellets in the afternoon with his vit/min supplement and a cup of vegetable oil for weight gain, since he's a bit on the lean side. He also gets a cup and a half of ac vinegar in his water tank for fly control. I tried feeding the ac vinegar (a tablespoon) in his grain but he went off his feed completely when he smelled it :lol:

He gets free choice hay all day and night, and grazes a little during his outside hours. He's in more than I'd like, but he has to be supervised once in awhile so I have to be home.

He is out at 3:30pm when I get home from work every day to graze and is in at around nine (sunset). Ideally, when we upgrade our fences he'll be out at 5am and in at 9-10pm, eventually being out 24/7. His fence jumping problem has diminished almost completely!

I also found out that my mother had been riding him. It infuriates me. I have no idea how he is under saddle now.
 

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Sorry to hear this Whatta.

I agree with just letting him decompress. Give him time. Like a month maybe. Wait until he's realized that he's back with you now.

As for calling the vet, I will have to disagree with everyone else. I would wait for that too, unless you see a specific symptom. I live in the same area as Whatta. I know what our vets are like. They are not equine vets, they are large animal farm vets hired by our department of agriculture. The vet will look at this horse and say they don't see anything wrong. Sure, you could ask for some testing, but for what?

Now, treating for ulcers, I would probably go ahead and do. You can just buy Omeprazole and go ahead and give it to Trouble. No point in bringing a vet in for that. I treated Harley when we first bought him.

In a few weeks, when Trouble settles down, perhaps you can bring in a vet. Maybe by then you will have observed some more specific symptoms. I'm not saying it's a bad idea to bring in a vet, just that I know our local vets, and if you call them in because your horse is terrified and mopey, they won't be of any help whatsoever.

I'd also spend a lot of time with Trouble. Just hang out with him. It might also help you identify symptoms if they do emerge.
 
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