Semi Newbie with Question about Ulcers

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Nuzzle

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Hi! I am semi new here. I lurk mostly but now I have a need. I have an 13 year old mini Gelding that I have had for a little over two years. I have owned full size horses for 25 years but this is my first mini. The first night of ownership my mini coliced. I had the vet out and tubed him and gave him Banamine and he was fine and for two years no problems. He was stabled with two other minis at the time. A few months ago I decided to move him to my place because he was getting so fat. He is kind of a bully and always ate everyones food. About 4 days after moving him he coliced again. I did the same routine with the vet and he was fine. Then 3 weeks later he coliced again. This time I opted to not have the vet out and treated it myself homeopathically. He came out of it in 4 hours with zero problems. The weird part is it's not a normal colic. Each time he has coliced he does the flehmen thing with his nose and he doesn't eat and he lays down quietly with an occasional desire to roll up on his back where he is completely comfortable. I don't let him roll for obvious reasons but l was wondering could these be caused by Ulcers? I have no experience with ulcers but plenty of experience with colic. These episodes seem to be directly related to moves or in this case he finally is being put to work and I don't think he handles stress well. If it is ulcers what can I give him until I can get gastrogard? During these episodes his heart rate is never elevated, his respirations are with in normal range. He does loose gut sounds during these episodes but he still has bowel movements. I always insist the vets tube him to be safe but both times my vet has felt that he would be okay without it. Tonight he seemed less interested in food (still eating just not devouring it like normal) and he does this the day before these episodes. I would like to try something for ulcers just not sure what. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated? Oh and I only feed him bermuda grass hay, bermuda blend pellets and some metamucil. He is an ideal weight on this food.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you can give.

Missy
 

maestoso

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It sounds like your horse didn't have colic at all. Horses who are colicing usually won't pass bowel movements. Stress is definitely a cause of ulcers, and since your issues have been directly related to moves/stress, it sounds to me like ulcers. Unfortunately, treating ulcers is much more difficult then preventing them, and once a horse has had them once, they can easily become prone to them.

UlcerGuard is a pricey but fantastic product, but it is more for preventing than treating. One way to help prevent a horse from getting ulcers, and to help make a horse with ulcers more comfortable, is to feed them hay a little while before they eat their grain. It helps protect the stomach lining from the grain, which is more acidic, and irritates ulcers.
 

chandab

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I keep generic Tagamet (OTC med for people) on hand for just in case; vet recommended it when I had to give my mare bute for founder a couple years ago, so I keep it on hand in case I have to use bute (bute can cause ulcers, especially in minis, they seem more prone).

I have some horse ulcer meds, but the company quit making the paste that works so well on my mare. I haven't tried the solution or powder yet, but will once my paste supply runs out. The U-Gard paste was working well for my little mare that was prone to ulcers the first several months she was here, every little thing would set her off: the tractor driving by, the cows, the dogs, etc. She finally settle in and hasn't had an episode in months.
 

minih

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UlcerGuard is a pricey but fantastic product, but it is more for preventing than treating. One way to help prevent a horse from getting ulcers, and to help make a horse with ulcers more comfortable, is to feed them hay a little while before they eat their grain. It helps protect the stomach lining from the grain, which is more acidic, and irritates ulcers.
I disagree with this statement. My vet told me that ulcerguard will cure ulcers, and I have several times with a couple of my horses and foals. And they are easy to prevent if you give the ulcerguard to your horse before a stressful time, such as moving him. Some horses are just prone to nervous stomachs which that is what it sounds like your horse has. Any time you do anything out of the ordinary it would help to give the ulcerguard as a preventative. I would much rather spend my $40 a tube and give a couple of doses to prevent than spend that much for 2 X a day for 10 days.
 

JourneysEnd

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Gastrogard cures ulcers, Ulcerguard is a lower dose formula you can buy over the counter.

They're both made by the same company and both cost the same. Only difference is you have to get Gastrogard from the vet.

I've used Ulcergard as a preventive, but the only horse I've had with ulcers it took 14 days of Gastroguard to cure.

Tagmet, etc will help, but not cure. With a mini, a tube of Gastrogard will last up to 7 days which makes it a lot more afforable then it is for the big guys.

Talk to your vet. The product is safe and most vets will sell it to you without a lot of testing, etc.
 

Carolyn R

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Since it seems like it is every time you relocate your mini, I would also guess that it is also ulcer related. (which can lead to colic from the horse not drinking, being on or off its feed, or worse yet, it can lead to other GI upsets like enteritis which can sometimes be linked to ulcer prone horses). Anyhow, like it has been said already, it is much easier to prevent ulcer than to cure them, but wih that said, once your horse is out of the woods with this, there is no harm giving them doses of the horse or human ulcer meds (tagamet, or the generic) prior/during a potential high stress situations. (relocating, introducing new horse into the herd, anytime the horse may need to be stalled for a prolonged period due to the weather or an injury, administering meds that may cause a stomach upset...)

Even feeding a diet of grass and hay (you can soak the hay if you need to get a little more fluids into him) until he bounces back a bit will ease his digestive track a little (just a couple of days in my experiance). I would probably skip the pellets all together for a few days, they are still a concentrate and are harder to digest. Keep an ear on the gut sounds.

Good luck,

Carolyn
 

wildoak

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Sounds like you have covered all your bases, and it does indeed sound like you are dealing with ulcers. The suggestion to give tagamet (or equivalent) is a good one. I keep it in the barn and toss one or two in the feed when I think there might be a need - I take it with me to shows and keep them on it the entire show. Not a cure, but it eases symptoms and helps prevent.

Jan
 

Bess Kelly

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Alfalfa has been shown (in vet testing) to lower the ph in the gut, this helps with acid issues. So, if you are feeding grass hay, try adding a little very leafy alfalfa -- or some pellets of alfalfa. And yes the Gastroguard WILL heal ulcers, usually you need more than 14 days.....30 is better. These tests were done by introduction of gastro tubes/cameras to check for progress, etc.

Some are just "nervous nillys". And, yes, the roll onto back and lay is often seen with ulcers.
 

Brandi*

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When I had my first mini she was going through bouts of little stomach aches too. Even when she wasn't showing serious colic signs she would still be looking at her stomach and grinding her teeth. She would keep eating her meals but not as feverishly as she usually did. We treated her with gastroguard and things got much better. I also added a little alfalfa to her diet at each meal. I think her problems came from being alone. After I got her some companions she didn't seem to have anymore problems.

I hope your guys gets to feeling better very soon
 

Nuzzle

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Thanks everyone this information really helps. I picked up some alfalfa for him today and he dove into that. I also gave him a tagamet tonight. I will look for ulcerguard locally but I may need to order it. He seems perkier today then yesterday. No colic symptoms today which I am relieved about. He thinks he won the jackpot with me being over there every hour to check on him. Of course he would move into the house if I let him.
Oh while doing some research on ulcers today I came across some info saying Slippery Elm and Aloe Vera are good stomach and intestinal soothers. Has anyone tried it?
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I have a mare here that I suspected of having ulcers. She would begin kicking, glaring at her side and squealing at random times on a nearly daily basis. No other signs of anything wrong, she ate well and everything that was offered. The episodes would last for about 2 minutes and then she'd walk off like nothing happened. The only thing I could come up with was the likely hood that she had ulcers so since at the time I had no reliable vet service I started her on pure aloe vera gel. I gave her a 20cc syringe full 2x a day for a week and then once a day for another week and I have to say it seemed to work. The symptoms cleared up and have been gone for about 5 months, yesterday I heard her squealing and checked to find she has started again so I will be trying the aloe again. I may make it a regular part of her diet or just keep her on it longer. This one example is not a scientific study in any way and if she exhibited more intense symptoms or stopped eating I would use a more traditional medicine but it did seem to do the job for her last time. I tried it because I had an uncle (since past on) who was a recovered alcoholic with major ulcer issues. He drank a lot of coffee and it irritated his ulcers so he began adding aloe juice to every cup of coffee. After several months of that his ulcers were no longer a problem for him. I decided it was not going to harm the horse at least and might help. That is just my experience with it. I don't recommend it to anyone but I have tried it.
 

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