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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Harley was treated for ulcers twice since we've had him (5 yrs). He does not live a stressful life, has access to forage 24/7 in slow feeder nets or pasture, and beet pulp + hay cubes as well as a balanced range of minerals customized for him after hay analysis. However, my daughter's new riding coach noticed he swishes his tail when she does up the girth so she suggested we put him on an ulcer-prevention med. She recommended Comfort Gut, which is essentially charcoal. Thoughts? I know that the theory is that toxins bind to it, but he shouldn't have a lot of toxins in his diet anyway. I just struggle with the idea of feeding my horse charcoal I guess. And it isn't cheap at 80$ a month (over and above the hundreds of $$$ I spend on supps, etc.).
 

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I'm wary - Charcoal seems to be a trend lately. I'm not seeing any science-backed connections between charcoal & stomach issue prevention, even in humans, just articles from fitness magazines and blogs.

I bet there is a better product out there.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Following...

I'm wary - Charcoal seems to be a trend lately. I'm not seeing any science-backed connections between charcoal & stomach issue prevention, even in humans, just articles from fitness magazines and blogs.

I bet there is a better product out there.
I feel the same way. I honestly don't think he has ulcers, nor is he living a lifestyle that would put him at high risk to get ulcers. We treated him when we first got him because he had all the symptoms. Also, his previous owners dewormed him monthly. I believe that destroyed his gut flora and may have caused ulcers. So while I'm all for ulcer prevention, I'm not convinced it's a good idea to feed charcoal regularly. Maybe as part of a detox or something, but every day?
 

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I don't know anything about it either, nor have I seen any studies about it. Like ClearDonkey, I am also wary of it as an ulcer preventative.
 

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I see zero reason why charcoal would effect acid production or act as a buffer. If you want a feed through ulcer prevention supplement, use Purina Outlast.

What did you treat him with when you previously treated for ulcers and how did he respond to it?

If all he's doing is swishing at the girth, it could be many other things. Maybe the girth material or a learned reaction to previous discomfort.

(Tho this is also the horse with chronic diarrhea, right? Hind gut ulcers?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I see zero reason why charcoal would effect acid production or act as a buffer. If you want a feed through ulcer prevention supplement, use Purina Outlast.

What did you treat him with when you previously treated for ulcers and how did he respond to it?

If all he's doing is swishing at the girth, it could be many other things. Maybe the girth material or a learned reaction to previous discomfort.

(Tho this is also the horse with chronic diarrhea, right? Hind gut ulcers?)
Same horse, yes. His chronic diarrhea was finally resolved with Metronidazole, an antibiotic that treats intestinal parasites. So not necessarily related to ulcers, hind gut or otherwise.

He was previously treated with Omeprazole and Sucralfate. Did not see a major difference in behavior or health before and after. He has always swished his tail a bit when being girthed. He also used to get nippy, but doesn't anymore. We addressed that behavior though, and taught him that nipping was not acceptable at any time. So hard to say whether he ever had ulcers, or whether they got better. He is also pretty stoic so hard to say what's going on with him. He's not a fan of working (who is?), but gets right down to business when under saddle. He's the type of horse that always has something going on though. First we dealt with severe coughing when we first brought him home (vet said incurable heaves). That's completely gone now - he hasn't coughed in years. But for the last couple of years, he's had scratches that won't go away. 3 vets have looked at them, prescribed stuff, to no avail. And yes, I have had him tested for IR and Cushings. Twice. He's fine. Vet even did bloodwork and everything looks great. All organs functioning normally. He's a bit of a mystery. The scratches might have something to do with the alsike clover he got into last summer though. I took him off that pasture immediately (his nose blistered and that's when the scratches started) and we plowed it under and re-planted with straight timothy.

Had a look at Purina Outlast. It contains alfalfa and molasses. So that's a no from us. If I could get it without the molasses, I would try it, but I won't give him anything with sugar because of his age and breed (Arab) which puts him as a high risk for IR.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Photo of him after a ride (thus the sweaty girth marks). I think his weight is just right, but he went from being an easy keeper to needing a little extra. His teeth are a little worn so he's not doing as good a job at chewing hay as he used to. I've increased his beet pulp and have him on Elite Three Evolve - essentially hemp husks - with good results. He also gets Camelina oil. He's turned out 24/7 on timothy pasture and ridden about 6 days a week for an hour mostly doing dressage.
 

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Had a look at Purina Outlast. It contains alfalfa and molasses. So that's a no from us. If I could get it without the molasses, I would try it, but I won't give him anything with sugar because of his age and breed (Arab) which puts him as a high risk for IR.


I believe there is a feed through Purina, the Ultium feed, but with Gastric Care.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I believe there is a feed through Purina, the Ultium feed, but with Gastric Care.
Yep, but it also contains molasses. Not to mention a pile of other things, some of which he's already getting from his custom supp mix.

There's no shortage of products out there that promise to prevent ulcers. I'm not even sure we need one, honestly.
 

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Yep, but it also contains molasses. Not to mention a pile of other things, some of which he's already getting from his custom supp mix.

There's no shortage of products out there that promise to prevent ulcers. I'm not even sure we need one, honestly.
Personally I think what you're feeding doing is much better and healthier for your horses.

Both products have molasses and Purina ultium gastric care isn't something I'd feed. I wouldn't feed other product either. My horses are so much healthier being off bagged feed. A year ago I'd of not believed ,there was a better way to feed horses. Grain free molasses free an iron free is best.

How can a product with molasses help prevent ulcers??? Not buying it not for a minute.

Harley looks fabulous for his age,so what you're doing is obviously working. Highly doubt he has ulcers.
 

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I've never heard of charcol as an ulcer prevention...not sure how that would work.

Marshmallow root is REALLY good as a preventative for ulcers, as well as aloe juice. :) I love the marshmallow root. I get the powder & drop it in the feed. It's cheap & easy.

Also, see if he's swishing is tail because of back pain or discomfort, maybe an ill-fitting saddle, or he has something else going on, since it's when you tighten the girth.

Have you tried hay pellets? Like timothy grass pellets? I get them from TSC, the Standlee Timothy Grass pellets. My mare is on a no-grain diet (I use Renew Gold, & hay pellets plus other supplements) but she's never looked better, and if she needs more weight, I just up the hay pellets. Just an idea! :D She is also very prone to ulcers, & hasn't had any issues since! The hay pellets are another source of forage - which helps prevent ulcers.
 

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Sometimes I think people make to much of a animal just being a animal, seriously...

Look at that horse in that picture.
He is how old, in that shape and condition and because he swish a tail when you girth him he now needs to be given charcoal?
He has always as long as you've known him done this....right?

I see the problem being your trainer looking for a problem not the horse exhibiting sign, symptom of a problem. sorry
If he was mine, he would not be given charcoal for having a reaction to a anticipated belt being tightened on his belly...
Has it occurred to no one he also could be showing contained excitement knowing he is going out for a ride?
Why is it always "a problem" people look for?

I'm sorry AcadianArtist, this is not aimed at you one bit...
But to me...
Harley is not doing anything wrong by swishing his tail as he has done for years and years every ride with your daughter.
When he had true symptoms of a problem it was addressed and no longer does he do those things.
Now because he is a horse, swishes his tail during saddling you are suggested to start feeding this product...no, just no.
You finally got Harley where you want him in weight, attitude, looks and gut performance..
There is no way, no how I would add one more thing to that diet because of a tail swish normal to this animal being done...nope, not happening.

As for him needing a bit more food....
Harley is aging.
As we age, part of normal aging we don't metabolize quite the same way we use to, hence in people foods we ate when younger now not agree with us as we are older...
Same amount of food may not be wanted or eaten or in some cases more food is needed cause absorption is just not quite what is was..
I would do a sand test on Harley to make sure he not have some sand build up in his intestinal tract that even small amounts could make his needs for food change just to rule that out.
Ziploc bag, water and a handful of fresh poops....all together, shake it up and let it settle and see what you got... treat as needed or know he is good and not a problem just he is aging a fine gentleman.


But charcoal for no good reason but a tail swish :frown_color:...not if it was my horse or he in actuality exhibited more sign & symptom of a problem.
Put it to that trainer the cost of Harley getting that charcoal treatment is one less lesson a month for daughter dear and see the reaction...:shock:
No, don't do that {I would be so tempted!}, but everyone is sure quick to put their hand in your pocket extracting a wad of money to spend on something or other.. :icon_rolleyes:
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I would be careful with charcoal. If he's on any medications (I think he's on previcoxx now, right?) it can absorb them and make them pass right through him instead.

You can buy big jugs of aloe vera juice at Walmart. A cup of that added to his feed every day is a great preventative, and won't have the unwanted side effect of stripping other medications, nutrients, etc., out of his system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks all! I knew HF wisdom would prevail :)

It reassures me that you all feel the same way I do about charcoal.
@PoptartShop - I forgot that I used to give him Marshmallow root and Slippery Elm bark powder as preventatives! I may just order some of those again. As you say, they're easy to add, inexpensive, and are common ingredients in gastric health products. Thanks!
@horselovinguy - I agree. I find it irritating when people tell me what to do without really knowing my horse that well. On the other hand, I appreciate that this coach (my daughter's dressage coach - she still rides with her regular coach too) is aware of these signs. I like that she pays attention to the horse's health, not just the actual riding part. I think the comment was well-meant, but she doesn't know me well enough yet to know that I have been around the block a few times with Harley's diet! I don't know why he swishes his tail. He was just adjusted by the chiro who found no soreness in his back. He's a bit crooked in the pelvis, but nothing dramatic given his age. My daughter is doing stretches with him every day too so he is actually pretty supple these days. I think the tail swishing is just habit.
@SteadyOn - yes, he is still on Previcox. I did not know there could be an interaction with the charcoal! Good to know! Not that I was really inclined to give him charcoal but I hadn't even thought of the effects on the Previcox. I did try Aloe Vera juice at one point, but since I saw no difference after a couple of months, I stopped.
 

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@horselovinguyI don't know why he swishes his tail. He was just adjusted by the chiro who found no soreness in his back. He's a bit crooked in the pelvis, but nothing dramatic given his age. My daughter is doing stretches with him every day too so he is actually pretty supple these days. I think the tail swishing is just habit.
Elle, my lease horse, swings her head around and gives me the DIRTIEST looks when I first girth her up. I'm nice about it, and there's nothing wrong with her back or her tummy, etc. (She gets adjusted periodically but other than stiffness in her neck at times, nothing is really up with her.) Just one of her quirks -- but I could see how it would look like a sign of something to someone who didn't know that.
 

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I suggest Outlast because there is solid research behind it in its ability to raise stomach pH for a period of time. In the amounts fed, 1/2 - 1c a serving, I wouldn't be concerned about the NSC level unless he was overly sensitive to sugars, which I don't think he is since he still gets pasture. He's likely to get more sugar from his hay or grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I suggest Outlast because there is solid research behind it in its ability to raise stomach pH for a period of time. In the amounts fed, 1/2 - 1c a serving, I wouldn't be concerned about the NSC level unless he was overly sensitive to sugars, which I don't think he is since he still gets pasture. He's likely to get more sugar from his hay or grass.
But it would be so much easier to just give him alfalfa cubes (which I'm not keen on doing either). Not sure what the advantage would be of feeding Outlast. It doesn't contain anything especially soothing for the stomach other than the alfalfa. And while I agree that there is some sugar in grass, it's not the same as feeding straight cane molasses anymore than eating refined white sugar can be compared to eating a few carrots. Otherwise we'd all be just eating donuts for lunch.
 

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NCS for Outlast is 15%. Feed at the rate suggested it isn't going to make a big difference. Essentially one pound fed would be one ounce of sugar.

Molasses is frequently used at low levels to control dust and stick things together. It doesn't take much but they have to list it. For Outlast it is number 4 on an I ingredient list of 6 items. Beet pulp is a good example. The amount added is extremely low but people panic when they see it on the list. Out of a 50 pound bag it might mean a little more than one pound is attributed to molasses. About 2.5 will come from the beet pulp itself. You really just have to do the math and look at the amount you feed at a given time of any food. I'd be more worried about mineral imbalance.
 

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I don't see how Purina outlast would do anything to prevent ulcers. Nothing special about it. Probably good marketing is what sells it. At 35.99 for a 40 lb bag way over priced for what it is.

Alfalfa, magnesium and whatever else not worth the $$$$. Then needs fed 3 to 4 times a day. Swishing tail doesn't mean ulcers. I think what OP is doing feed wise is way better ,then any bag of feed will provide.

I tried Purina outlast did absolutely nothing ...only thing it did was cost $$$ to do nothing. That was last year not a Purina fan anyway really not fan of commerical feeds.

Honestly I wouldn't worry about the tail swishing. Harley looks fabulous. I'd keep doing what you have been doing. Wouldn't change a thing.

My ice pins ears, swishes tail Bob's head up and down,when being cinched up. Guess what no ulcers been checked 4 different times. It just what he does and I ignore it. Can't keep throwing money after every little odd behavior ,because it might be ulcers.
 

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You could feed him alfalfa.

I'm just saying that this product has research behind it that has shown it to be superior to alfalfa pellets and other gastric supplements. It buffers pH quicker, longer, and reaches a higher max pH. You'd need to feed alfalfa just as often if not more to reach a consistant acid buffer.

It has a different structure to the Mg and Ca that results the effect on the pH.

I don't really care if you use it or not, not do I really have a strong opinion on if it would help Harley. Simply saying that if you wanted to try something in the realm of a gastric/ulcer support supplement, this is one product that has research showing its efficacy, among the hundreds that are not researched.
 
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