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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 14 year old Saddlebred is having strange issues. We recently moved him to our own property. This was about three weeks ago. 13 days after he got there, I went out to feed him. After he ate, he looked strange. He just sat there. He's a cribber, and he religiously cribs after every meal, but he didn't. About 15 minutes later, he began laying down. He was not rolling, just laying there and closing his eyes. He would then stand back up He had few gut sounds, but he was passing manure. He wouldn't eat or drink anything. I checked his temperature, which was normal, and his gums were nice and pink. He was given 10cc of Banamine and after that, he looked fine. He began to have more gut movement, began eating a bit of grass, and he drank plenty of water.
Yesterday, 10 days later, he began having similar symptoms. He went down three times, again just laying there. He was eating, but he wasn't eating too quickly. Usually, he eats as soon as you give him his food, but he had little interest in it yesterday. He had more gut sounds then, but his gums were more white this time. He would not crib again.
He was switched to a new brand of sweet feed about five days before the first episode, and it was an abrupt switch because we were out of our other sweet feed. After that, we began to mix his old and new sweet feed together because we got more. My aunt lives where we are keeping him and my other gelding, so she was coming outside and feeding him apples, carrots, and other treats. We didn't know she was feeding him, so we were giving him apples too. After the first day of sickness, he stopped getting apples. Yesterday morning, he had a quarter of an apple cut up, and that afternoon, he had the symptoms again. My other gelding also won't leave him alone; he's constantly beside him, pushing him off his hay or grass. Could it just be stress? What could be causing these episodes? He also seems very tired.
 

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call the vet!! we just had a horse that had those symptoms at our barn and he had to get put down. He didnt have a disease he just ate something sharp and it cut his bowel. That cut caused an infection and he ended up with ulcers lining his throat and stomach. best wishes
 

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Jess, he did have symptoms that were days apart, he was a pushy horse and you knew something was wrong when he just followed you like a sad puppy dog. He refused to eat, and he used to be a pig, so the barn owner gave him bute and he was better for awhile. It never hurts just to call the vet and tell them what the symptoms are, they dont charge for phone calls. If they say that it isnt an issue call a different vet, they dont know your horse as well as you do and they dont care as much as you in the end.
 

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Apples are very acidic and very hard on ulcers. I actually know some horses allergic to apples. There was a pony at a barn I used to teach at who would get colicy every time he was given an apple.
 

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You know why people are trying to stress the possible seriousness of the situation? Because, sure it may just be ulcers and all will be fine and dandy. It MIGHT also be something far more serious that COULD have the horse very sick and possibly dead if it is not discovered.

Tell me, what would YOU rather? Spend a couple of hundred on getting the vet out to check him out and rule out anything potentially life threatening. A vet bill and a healthy horse. Or shrug and say must be the ulcers, I'll give him less apples and it turns out deadly.

I know which one I would go for and I have done it several times in the past, 2 of which saved the horse's life. Not really a choice to me.
 
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What is the ingredient in the U-guard supplement? If it is calcium, it is not going to be enough. You need to treat ulcers 3x daily with ranitidine or 1x daily with omeprazole.

Calcium supplements are good for stress episodes (like a short trailer ride, or before riding). They do not last more than 2-3 hours, and do not work to "treat" ulcers. They are a good preventative in a horse that you know is "prone" to ulcers.

I don't know why Saddlebred people seem to like sweet feed. Sweet feed is not good for horses! It has been liked to cribbing and increases the risk of ulcers.

I worked at a saddlebred barn and the horses were always colicing due to ulcers. One of the horses (who cribbed badly), coliced and had to be put down...:-x Ulcers can kill your horse. They can decrease the speed at which the stomach empties, leading to a blockage.

If your horse is colicing due to ulcers, you need to get a vet ASAP! he needs to be tubed with an ant-acid and lubricant. It is very easy for these horses to stop drinking, and things will get worse from there. It is nothing to fool around with.

People have this idea, that ulcers are benign, that they can't kill your horse, and just give the horse some banamine... All banamine does is mask pain. Your horse will look better because he can't feel the pain, but wait a few hours, or go to bed at night, and that pain comes back, and the horse starts rolling... And can easily twist his intestines.

This horse should be taken completely off grain, and put on free choice hay (or a hay net). Alfalfa hay is best to help ulcers. You can add some grain back after he has recovered.

I bought a very underweight 2 yr old with ulcers. She had so much internal bleeding she was anemic. She went down and spiked a high fever with secondary infection. I was lucky. If I hadn't bought her and got the vet out as soon as she showed signs, I doubt she would have made it. I had no idea, when I got her, that she had ulcers that bad!
 

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What is the ingredient in the U-guard supplement?
U-gard is marketed as a calcium supplement, but is only 2.5% calcium. So, the recommended 1 oz dose is less than 1 gram of calcium; this is about the same amount of calcium you get from 1/3 lb of grass hay.

The first ingredient on the U-gard label is kaolin- a type of clay.
 

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Update: Had another episode yesterday. It was time to call the vet. She came out, did a rectal exam, tubed with fluids, and gave some banamine. We are pretty sure it is ulcers. He is now on an alfalfa cube tea every six hours. Tonight he should get some hay. His feed is being changed to Purina Strategy Healthy Edge, which is like the TC complete. We wanted Triple Crown, but our closest provider is over two hours away. He is doing much better. We've started him on the UlcerGard paste too. We also got my two geldings seperated.
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My mare was doing the same thing. She almost always colics in the spring if she is given fresh grass, so we simply don't let have anything green any more unless it is in the hay. I went out to check on her one afternoon and she looked totally doped up. After hours of walking her around and some banamine, she was fine. A week later she was doing the same thing. The vet came out and said she was 5% dehydrated and DX her with ulcers. She improved drastically over the next 4 days. I was so thankful I called the vet despite the $500 bill....gulp. Now we give her some ulcer guard before we trailer out anywhere as we were able to link it to stress ulcers after going out for a show and then a lesson down the road. So far, so good. Good luck with your baby. It's never fun having them sick like that and not be able to help them out.
 
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