care after colic, questions on ulcers

hi everyone.

my beloved horse just came back from a gas colic scare this mid week, and the vets at the equine hospital highly suspected ulcer involvement. i had my concerns she was ulcerous, but at the time i could not treat and hoped U-guard would keep them at bay. after weather changes, rider changes, and a stall change, i guess the ulcers just blew up. anyway, she is safe but nearly had to be put down. i don’t want to go through that ever again (even though it’s very possible this could happen again…)

here’s the care i am taking:

  • I ordered ulcerguard. I thought i could use the 1/4 tube a day as a treatment but it looks i need to buy more…
  • she gets four meals a day: alfalfa in the morning (provided by the barn), hay pellets and rice bran at 12, grass hay at 2:30, and hay pellets and rice bran at 4.
  • she is a cribber and wears a collar.
  • the other concern is her teeth. she had her teeth floated in january but i do not trust that is correct. unfortunately due to the very expensive vet bill i cannot swing for her to see a dentist until the end of the month.

is there anything else i can be doing to help her?

thanks everyone. it was so traumatic nearly losing her.

Re: the 1/4 tube Ulcerguard dose- that’s fine to prevent ulcers, but that dose is inadequate to treat them. You need a whole tube per day.
Sending healing thoughts for your mare- been there and it’s not fun.

Check with your vet about also treating for hind gut ulcers. That worked great for a horse I had with gas colic issues.

Thanks everyone. Is the recommended dose of UG/GG 2gm a tube? I wasn’t sure.

It’s been such a struggle. My barn refuses to hay net her hay. I work during the day and only get to see her on the weekends, and the lady who cares for her during the afternoon doesn’t want to hay bag either, even though I pay her…

No one else will care for her. This is because I got her knowing her health concerns, and I guess everyone is afraid she will just drop dead one day… And I admit to being an overbearing and protective owner, but this is my first horse and nearly losing her almost killed me…

My girl is a naturally anxious horse and stresses herself out big time. Has anyone had any help, after ulcer treatment, with calming supplements to prevent anxiety and stress in ulcer prone horses?

UG/GG need to be given at a full tube for treatment, assuming the horse is in the 1000-1300lb range or so. Bigger would need more like 1 1/4 tubes.

You can also try the abprazole from www.abler.com - MUCH more economical than UG/GG.

You could also add ranitidine twice a day to help with hind gut ulcers if they are suspect.

Why does she get just hay, hay pellets and rice bran? Is there a particular reason she doesn’t get a fortified feed? It’s possible her anxiety is directly related to an unbalanced diet.

So I am ordering 28 days of UG. I was able to swing…

JB, she does not get grain because i have chosen instead to supplement. She gets rice bran for fat, but she also gets a full vitamin supplement, soaked beet pulp, MSM, flax seeds, electrolytes (she wasn’t drinking enough), pro bios, UGuard, strongid wormer (and a tube every 3 months), and BUTE-LESS pellets. I’ve heard too many negative reviews on grain to convince me to use it… I know it’s more expensive this way but as an OTTB she was on sweet feed most of her life and I am afraid of her colicing again.

I just want to note I know very little about grain… I chose to feed her this way because I did hear grain has some negative side effects, but I’d be willing to change if it meant keeping her healthy…

After a serious colic like that, I wouldn’t be trying to manage this horse’s care without vet involvement. Get the horse scoped, find out what you are actually dealing with, and go from there.

As far as diet goes, you are doing a lot of good things, but could be saving some money. I’d drop the UGard, which is useless to a horse with ulcers, and the daily wormer (which has not been recommended for many years).

Keep in mind that Bute-Less pellets can cause all the same gastric issues as the NSAIDS they are trying to replace. Given that the larger issue seems gastric right now, I’d drop these.

IMO, your horse needs close vet involvement now, after such a severe colic crisis. You don’t mention surgery, so it sounds like the colic was treated medically? (As in, fluids, meds, pain management until resolved?) Consult with your vet, or the vets who treated your mare, for guidance on her care and management now to avoid a recurrence and to support healing.

In addition to gastric ulcers, treated with UlcerGard, talk to your vet about the possibility of hind gut ulcers. There are supplements and medications that specifically target the hind gut.

Probiotics/prebiotics might be a useful addition to maintain gut health. My vets specifically recommended Arenus Assure for pre/probiotics, and to support hind gut health. (My senior horse has a history of impaction and/or gas colic.)

Magnesium (MagRestore in particular) may be helpful to decrease her “stress” behaviors. Magnesium can also be used to promote good gut motility. I use MagRestore for my senior horse, to keep things moving through. MagRestore uses Magnesium malate as the source of magnesium, which has a much higher bioavailability compared to other forms of magnesium in supplements. I have found that Performance Equine Nutrition, the people who make MagRestore, has excellent customer service.

Again, consult with your vets for guidance on your mare’s care, medications, supplements and diet. Smaller meals more frequently, including hay nets/NibbleNets to keep her “grazing” instead of hoovering her hay, may be necessary. Talk to your vets, and then find a way to implement the veterinary care orders.

Please come back to post, because COTHers are a great resource that can help you brainstorm solutions.

OP - I have a mare who has had two colic surgeries due to displacements and gas (no answer from vets as to whether the displacement caused gas build up or the gas build up caused the colon to relocate where it shouldn’t be).
Anyway - they told me to keep mare on low sugar/starch diet. Alfalfa is higher in sugars, so they said none of that, only T/A or grass hay. I don’t know about the other things you are feeding.
I would suggest that you find an equine nutritionist that will talk to you. My equine surgeon referred me to one across the state, and that person happily gave me advice that included a pre/probiotic, a “second” on the hay and low sugars thing, and also said that anytime new hay comes, switch gradually, the sudden switch can be as bad as sudden switch of grain.
Don’t know what state you are in, but try contacting any veterinary schools, see if they have a nutritionist.
Your horse is getting a lot of food variety; it may be that less is more.

If your barn wont work with you, I’d think about looking around for a different place.

What about turn out?

Did they scope? I know the UG is already bought but I personally wouldn’t buy any of the expensive stuff without a confirmed scope, I’ve known too many horses that has classics symptoms and scoped clean! Hopefully you see some improvement.

I don’t see too much wrong with hay pellets/rice bran/multivitamin but there are good low sugar and starch options for grain out there. But at the same time if I need to feed the recommended amounts I like two meals I don’t know if that’s a good option for you. A ration balancer may work well for you though.

[QUOTE=2tempe;8884765]OP - I have a mare who has had two colic surgeries due to displacements and gas (no answer from vets as to whether the displacement caused gas build up or the gas build up caused the colon to relocate where it shouldn’t be).
Anyway - they told me to keep mare on low sugar/starch diet. Alfalfa is higher in sugars, so they said none of that, only T/A or grass hay. don’t know about the other things you are feeding.

If your barn wont work with you, I’d think about looking around for a different place.[/QUOTE]

What is T/A?
Unfortunately I had a horse that had colic surgery, and I was told to just feed a low sugar feed. I didn’t get much more advice than that.
I must say that while I was allowed a hay bag for a little while, I haven’t seen many barns amenable to that. I know my barn is not really. I guess the extra time to fill them and the fear that they will get caught rules that out. At home I use Kensington hay bags and find them quite easy to fill. You might ask about that, just in case an easier one would work. I do understand what you’re going through on that, though. Nobody likes the hay bag idea.

[QUOTE=joiedevie99;8884686]After a serious colic like that, I wouldn’t be trying to manage this horse’s care without vet involvement. Get the horse scoped, find out what you are actually dealing with, and go from there.

As far as diet goes, you are doing a lot of good things, but could be saving some money. I’d drop the UGard, which is useless to a horse with ulcers, and the daily wormer (which has not been recommended for many years).

Keep in mind that Bute-Less pellets can cause all the same gastric issues as the NSAIDS they are trying to replace. Given that the larger issue seems gastric right now, I’d drop these.[/QUOTE]

I treated a horse with ulcers with a full tube of Ulcer Guard per day. This was after a scope and at the direction of the vet. He was re-scoped at the end of treatment, and was clear.

I understand that is a possible outcome, but it’s not the only one. With a horse that is having serious issues like the OP’s - I’d do what you did - scope first to confirm you are treating the right thing.

Also, I’ve had two horses not scope clear after 28 days. I had one that you would have sworn had ulcers scope completely clean on day 1. A friend had a horse scope clear, but ultrasound of the colon showed massive thickening, and a fecal occult blood test was positive. That horse didn’t need ulcerguard - he needed misoprostol, sucralfate, and a diet with no hay. My vet had a “textbook” case that turned out to be delayed gastric emptying, not ulcers. That’s a long way of saying, I wouldn’t dilly-dally around trying different things without a diagnosis when the horse is having real symptoms now.

It took 60 days for me to get a clear scope as well. Perhaps I was confusing but I would definitely work with my vet before administering any type of treatment plan. My vet likes to refer for a scope before Ulcer treatment, which is what I did. Obviously sometimes budget is something one has to discuss with the vet, but I’d definitely see what the vet thinks. I was only referring to the comment that Ulcer Guard isn’t useful for a horse with ulcers, as I was told by the surgeon and my own vet that a full tube of Ulcer Guard per day was a treatment for ulcers.

I agree with Joiedevie 100%! My guy took over a year to resolve his gastric ulcers due to delayed gastric emptying… which was caused by severe pyloric ulcers! Had we simply treated with UG for 28 days after his 2nd colic without scoping I’m certain I would no longer have my horse with me still, as no doubt he’d of coliced again!

Yes scoping is expensive and and can lead you down a rabbit hole of treatment but using UG without knowing if you really need it is $$ and throwing meds down your horse without a knowledgeable vet can lead to more unwanted colics! Ulcers are a beotch but can be managed and it does take a good team of vet care and barn care! If your barn isn’t willing to do what’s best for your horse either then that’s also a big red flag!

[QUOTE=Casey09;8884832]What is T/A?
Unfortunately I had a horse that had colic surgery, and I was told to just feed a low sugar feed. I didn’t get much more advice than that.
I must say that while I was allowed a hay bag for a little while, I haven’t seen many barns amenable to that. I know my barn is not really. I guess the extra time to fill them and the fear that they will get caught rules that out. At home I use Kensington hay bags and find them quite easy to fill. You might ask about that, just in case an easier one would work. I do understand what you’re going through on that, though. Nobody likes the hay bag idea.[/QUOTE]

T/A = Timothy/alfalfa hay.

[QUOTE=thecolorcoal;8884574]Thanks everyone. Is the recommended dose of UG/GG 2gm a tube? I wasn’t sure.

It’s been such a struggle. My barn refuses to hay net her hay. I work during the day and only get to see her on the weekends, and the lady who cares for her during the afternoon doesn’t want to hay bag either, even though I pay her…

No one else will care for her. This is because I got her knowing her health concerns, and I guess everyone is afraid she will just drop dead one day… And I admit to being an overbearing and protective owner, but this is my first horse and nearly losing her almost killed me…

My girl is a naturally anxious horse and stresses herself out big time. Has anyone had any help, after ulcer treatment, with calming supplements to prevent anxiety and stress in ulcer prone horses?[/QUOTE]

If you’re paying someone to care for your horse in addition to the barn then they need to be doing what you want. If you want her hay bagged then that person needs to do it. If she won’t then find someone who will.

Uguard is not the same as ulcer guard-the Uguard is a ulcer supplement and not for treating ulcers.

Ideally you would taper off the dosage, so you don’t just cold turkey shut off the reduced production, which could result in a rebound of too much acid produced. So ideally you’d go with 3/4 a dose for a few days, then 1/2 dose a few days, then 1/4 dose a few days, then stop.

JB, she does not get grain because i have chosen instead to supplement. She gets rice bran for fat, but she also gets a full vitamin supplement, soaked beet pulp, MSM, flax seeds, electrolytes (she wasn’t drinking enough), pro bios, UGuard, strongid wormer (and a tube every 3 months), and BUTE-LESS pellets. I’ve heard too many negative reviews on grain to convince me to use it… I know it’s more expensive this way but as an OTTB she was on sweet feed most of her life and I am afraid of her colicing again.

There’s a whole spectrum of feeds from the crappiest, lowest quality, highest sugar sweet feeds (blech!!) to really high quality ingredients, low sugar feeds. I definitely don’t mind piecing together a program based around a quality v/m supplement (which one are you using?), but for some situations - like yours -that can complicate things in trying to figure out if something about the diet is contributing to these sort of issues.

Is there a particular reason you have her on a daily dewormer? They have such resistances issues now (or rather IT does, it’s just a single chemical, pyrantel tartrate) that they are increasingly useless, and using paste deworming every 3 months is a great deal of overkill even for a horse not on a DW. 80-90% of them anyway. Those 80-90% of horses are able to control almost everything on their own, and just need help with bots and tapeworms at least yearly, and usually 2x/year.

So IMHO you have a lot of complicated things going on that may actually be contributing to her issues.

I just want to note I know very little about grain… I chose to feed her this way because I did hear grain has some negative side effects, but I’d be willing to change if it meant keeping her healthy…

There are lots and lots of really excellent choices these days :slight_smile: What would be best for you largely depends on what you have access to. Where are you located? Certain things aren’t available everywhere, so there’s not much point in suggesting LMF if you’re in the NE, or Poulin if you’re in Florida :smiley: Triple Crown is available in a great many areas, and if that’s something you can get, it’s really hard to beat their Senior feed - yes, even if she’s not a senior :slight_smile: It’s 11.7% NSC, which is really quite low, and it’s nice high quality. If you have Southern States, you can get Legends Performance pelleted (not textured, much too high sugar) which is also a nice feed. There are many other good quality lower NSC feeds as well.