Ulcers? Weather?

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Boss Mare

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This isn't mini related, but horse related. Please move / delete if it's not allowed. I appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance.

I have a 17 year old (estimated) QH cross. I've never really had any issues with him. The last few days he seems more low key than usual. Our weather is bitter and unseasonably cold. Snow, ice, single digit temps, etc. one day & the next in the 40s & 50s.

It started with him not eating as enthusiastic as normal. I believed him to be drinking enough, I keep his trough as ice free as possible, when he began not wanting to eat as much I thought dehydration.. So buckets of warm water it is. He will drink about half of what I put out and leave the rest.

Then he didn't really want his grass/alfalfa hay, the other horses ate it fine. So I switched to giving him straight alfalfa to entice him to eat. He is finishing about half of what I put out.

Grain, didn't want to eat his usual pellets, so I switched to a sweet feed. He picks at it. Finish about half.

Oh, and I've been doing soaked beet pulp too. He has never been a fan, as usual will eat about half of what I put out.

He is laying down a little more than usual, especially in the sun.

No rolling, biting, pawing. Pooping, etc. good. He is not losing weight, yet. Gum color, etc. good. Visually I can not see anything going on in his mouth.

However, he was grinding his teeth quite a bit - I got some Gastroguard from a horsey friend - that night he acted a little better. Gastroguard for 3 days and each day is a little better. - BUT -

He still doesn't really want grain, just picks. and it takes him all day to finish a flake of alfalfa vs a few hours. He will eat all of the apples and carrots you hand him (2 days after Gastroguard), but still no grain and reluctant with hay. He eats, but not stand in front of the food until it's gone like he usually is.

I emailed my vet. We are discussing getting his teeth floated. Also, discussing the possibility of respiratory? (No mucus, coughing, etc)

Guess I am grasping for ideas, I feel like I've covered the basis, waiting to come up with a plan from my vet and have her come out.

Thank you!
 

chandab

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If it is ulcers, the meds take a minimum of a week to really work, and I believe its a full month of Gastroguard to heal ulcers. The teeth grinding sounds like a symptom of ulcers, as does the limited interest in grain. While it doesn't heal ulcers, I use U-Gard to try to ward off ulcers in anyone here that might be prone to them, seems to help the symptoms at least (while it doesn't heal ulcers, it does prevent more and soothes the stomach; I believe it does give the body time to heal itself).
 

Boss Mare

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The teeth grinding and overall expression of everything else I am leaning towards ulcers too. Also, each day on the Gastroguard he is improving - unsure if it's coincidence or not. A friend of mine just lost her horse to ulcers (extreme) so trying to at least cover one possibility.

I have been communicating with my vet about this too. She is very familiar with my horse(s). We are going to try the Gastroguard before scoping and probably scope when his teeth are done.

I am interested in hearing about other ulcer cases, or perhaps if anyone thinks it's something else.
 

Kendra

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Sounds very much like ulcers to me. Usually at our clinic they prescribe 28 days of Gastroguard to heal the ulcers, then re-scope to confirm that everything is healed up.

Alfalfa is definitely the way to go as far as feed to help protect his stomach. No whole grains for sure, only extruded feeds and only if he needs them. Beet pulp is good too, if he'll eat it.
 

targetsmom

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Could be ulcers.. There is a video that shows how to diagnose without scoping

corrected link: http://www.miniaturehorsetalk.com/index.php?showtopic=134438&hl=%2Bulcer+%2Bvideo&do=findComment&comment=1565639

As said, if it's ulcers alfalfa is GOOD, grain - especially sweet feed - is BAD. One thing we have used is generic Ranitidine from Wal-Mart, using I believe the dose for a human for our minis. Sucralfate can also be used, just not at the same time of day as Gastrogard. The GG stops acid production and the Sucralfate (by prescription only) helps heal the mucosal tiisue. One issue with scoping is that it requires fasting and that is one of the worst things for ulcers. Feeding hay free choice or in a slow feeder can help. We have also had good luck using Stomach Soother (pureed papaya) to stimulate appetite. Good luck!
 
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Boss Mare

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I am just stumped while all of a sudden he is a picky eater, yet everything else seems okay.

I made an appt with the vet. His teeth were checked last year, but we are starting there.

He normally loves food & finishes hay, now he picks throughout the day.
 

Casey0Lee

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What is the NSC content of his feed? Or, what feed is he on?

If you suspect ulcers, get him off sweet feed or any feed high in NSC (non-structural carbs). NO corn, barley, oats, etc. Get him on someting under 10% NSC such as Triple Crown Lite or a ration balancer such as Buckeye Gro N Win or TC 30%... If you continue to feed him a high NSC diet and he is having ulcer issues, treating him is going to do no good.

ANY kind of stress can give them ulcers. Weather, hauling/moving, showing, etc. he Ca in the alfalfa is good for ulcers, so keep feeding that. A good/cheap way to diagnose ulcers (that I have uswed and continue to use) is using Walmart brand Zantac (Ranitidine). It's 3mg/lb on a horse. I buy the 150mg tablets and throw 20ish pills in their feed 3x a day. If they wont eat, I take a big syringe and pull the plunger out. I put the 20 pills in the syringe and then put the plunger back in. I suck up some water into the plunger and let the pills sit for an hr or two. They completely dissolve. Shake, and syringe into mouth. If after a few days your horse is back to eating and you see improvement, probably a good chance there are ulcers present. *I* continue to treat with the Ranitidine 3x a day for 60-90 days. It's much cheaper than the Gastroguard. It's kind of a pain tho, going out there every 8 hrs to dose. I have rehabbed some starved, very sick/ulcery horses using it. You HAVE to dose every 8 hrs for at least 60 days to actually start healing them. 90 days would be better. Longer for a bad case.

One thing to remember is, no kind of gastric ulcer treatment will cure hindgut acidosis. It WILL NOT travel back that far, to the hindgut. Once it is present, you need to dose them with KER Equisure. It's one of the only things on the market that I know about that will actually treat the HG Acidosis.

If it were me, *I* would get a bucket of Equisure for this horse.

Ciao! =)
 
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Marty

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I think you all nailed it with the ulcers. Sounds like a classic case to me also. I also use tagamet when I run out of gastroguard for a full 30-40 days but never did this with a big horse. I think the weather changes like this could have totally played a big part in all of it also. I'm watching my old quarter horse like a hawk. He's not himself and off his game somewhat but when the temps level out he's back in action. Only want to add to be sure your boy is warm and you may want to give him something for his joints. He's 17 and he could have had some bumpy times along the way in his life. Even though you may not see any signs of joint pain, it could be there. Kinda like me, I'm sore and achy and have pain, but you wouldn't know it. Good luck with your boy.
 

Boss Mare

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Thank you to all. I will look up some of the recommendations.

I was hoping you would reply Marty! I've only ever cared for a senior horse for one winter - my first horse who was 30+.

17 is just an estimate of Jesse's age. I've owned him for the past 9 years and he has just been a big pet. I was wondering too if he was feeling achy, but reluctant to give bute or banamine - didn't want to mask anything or irritate the ulcers - and since no fever I felt no dire need to medicate.

What's the best joint supplement with better results? I've used many in the past but never noticed much of a difference.

Will joint pain cause him to be off without displaying "ouch my leg hurts" signs?

Day 1 he wouldn't eat anything at all except picking at hay - that's the only reason I tried sweet feed vs his SR pellets. Teeth grinding, head down more than usual, etc.

Day 2, 3 & 4 of Gastroguard he is eating more, taking treats and more alert. Head up & ears perked at other horses, the barn cat, soft nickers, comes when called - even though he still isn't screaming his head off like usual.

Trying to keep him as warm as possible. He does have a turnout blanket. A stall, I try not to lock him up unless it's raining or windy as he hates being stalled. When he was locked inside during the hurricane last year he was so mad.

Just trying to do what is best for my older guy!
 

Carolyn R

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I have seen this with a horse on Christmas. It was a neighbors that I had to haul to the animal hospital Christmas night. He had actually coliced, was impacting due to the pain/not wanting to drink, he pulled through, vet believed it to be gastro enteritist (sp). I have seen similar issues in a similar case in a horse of my own several years back. Either way, same treatment or thought process as ulcer horses, alfalfa is good sweet feed is bad, soaked alfalfa or alfalfa cubes are excellent for hydration. Probiotics are always a plus.
 

Boss Mare

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Verdict is in....

My vet definitely suspects ulcers, so we are continuing Gastroguard. No scoping done though.

Teeth were no cause for concern, floating will wait until spring/summer - I planned to have the minis done then too.

Sooo.. Some form of pneumonia, left lung sounds a little junky. Guess I missed the fever or didn't get an accurate reading. He literally showed no signs - NO snotty nose, NO coughing, etc. Thinking back tho, he did stretch his neck out a little further while eating so now that makes sense. SMZ's it is.

Jesse is about 75% back to himself. He is eating, alert and calling for me when he sees me.

I also ordered a joint supplement for him.

Thank you guys!

Edited: typo
 
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Tab

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Is it possible he had gotten chilled? The symptoms fit with the wacky weather. Even a mild spasmodic colic can make them go off their feed, and look lethargic for awhile. I treat this with valerian and a cooler. It relaxes the peristalsis and also knocks them out for just long enough to recover. One of my horses got the zooms and the temps dropped at least 10 degrees. That is when they get chilled, because they just need to stay dry. The undercoat gets wet from sweat or rain and then they chill.

*I would only ever give valerian if the horse is passing manure fine.
 

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