Does my horse have ulcers?

First post on here so bear with me please.

I have a 5 year old ottb mare and I’m worried she may have ulcers. There are a few reasons I suspect this and they are as follows:

  1. I moved her to my farm at the beginning of August. Stress of trailering, figuring out pecking order, new environment, feed schedule, etc.

  2. She cribs when given the chance. I was told she cribbed at the track and when she first moved to previous farm, but stopped after a while. It started back up when she moved here.

  3. We had an incident where she pulled back in the crossties, fell over and broke the post, and ran off with it still attached to her halter. She was fine save for a few scratches, but it was very stressful.

  4. Lately she’s been grumpy about me grooming one side (kicking towards belly, pinned ears) and a bit girthy. She also kicks out sometimes when I use leg to send her forward. I was told she did this before she came to me, but she started doing it with me only over the past few days.

I have heard cribbing can be a sign of ulcers, but haven’t been able to find any research to back that up. She is pastured 24/7 and is on a high fat/fiber diet (TC senior supplemented with RB). Currently I can’t afford a 1k round of ulcergard or gastrogard (just bought a new saddle) so if you do think it is ulcers, are there any cost-effective ways of treating them?

Thanks in advance for any help!!

Call a vet and have her scoped.

First, welcome to COTH!

The first thing I do if I suspect ulcers is to look at the management: I prefer 24/7 TO and roundbale for these types, grass if they can have it (non IR) with alfalfa pellets supplemented into grain. Low NSC is usually important, but some of the horses I’ve taken care of have done exceptionally well on an alfalfa/oat mix for their grain.

Just in my experience… every cribber that I’ve taken care of that has been scoped had ulcers… while the plural of anecdote is not data, it is certainly cause for consideration.

If you can’t scope, (it is expensive and restrictive in some regions), you could try doing 1/4 tube of UG (or is it GG, I always get them mixed up) daily for a month - it is not cheap but it is cost effective. If her behavior gets better, well, you know why – if it stays the same, you might not be dosing high enough or it might be something else.

In the long run it is almost always better to scope to see what you’re dealing with because different types of ulcers need different types of treatment/management styles…

if she is already on 24/7, there is not much else you can do from a management standpoint besides add alfalfa (I prefer pellets) and get her on a roundbale 24/7. Ask you vet about ranitidine/sucralfates - which are not as $$ as UG.

All of the other supplements to “help prevent ulcers” IMHO are hogwash and a waste of $$, albeit they do give many horse owners peace of mind.

I was told my horses had ulcers treated and it did nothing,but eat up $$$$$ for no results.

I wouldn’t do a 1/4 tube of UG for a month. If you are catching it early (sounds like you are?), you may see better results from a week to 10 days of a full tube. If behavior improves, there are some less expensive sources for omeprazole you can try.

If you can feed it 3x a day, ranitidine may help and can be cheaper, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Sucralfate is prescribed in humans for gastric ulcers, but it’s generally given to horses for suspected hind gut problems.

My vet had me do Aloe Juice and Alfalfa for 2 weeks. 1 cup and a half pound respectively. I did see improvement and I’ve not had issues since, but I do keep my mare on alfalfa now.

[QUOTE=IPEsq;8873818]I wouldn’t do a 1/4 tube of UG for a month. If you are catching it early (sounds like you are?), you may see better results from a week to 10 days of a full tube. If behavior improves, there are some less expensive sources for omeprazole you can try.

If you can feed it 3x a day, ranitidine may help and can be cheaper, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Sucralfate is prescribed in humans for gastric ulcers, but it’s generally given to horses for suspected hind gut problems.[/QUOTE]

There is a study floating around about the efficacy of UG/GG. Apparently no difference between 1/4 and full tube, IIRC.

That study didn’t use anything that’s available in the US, and the prep that was used is considerably more effective than UG/GG.

www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?450411-your-thoughts-on-ulcer-colic-maintenance&p=7819475

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?448306-Study-Shows-that-1-4-Tube-of-GastroGard-works-just-as-well-as-a-whole-tube

[QUOTE=Simkie;8874042]That study didn’t use anything that’s available in the US, and the prep that was used is considerably more effective than UG/GG.

www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?450411-your-thoughts-on-ulcer-colic-maintenance&p=7819475

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?448306-Study-Shows-that-1-4-Tube-of-GastroGard-works-just-as-well-as-a-whole-tube[/QUOTE]
In that case, disregard me. Oops :eek:

re: sucralfates – my question would be if hind-gut ulcers were present if she is already on full 24/7 TO and grass – hence the sucralfate suggestion. I almost always see the two (ranitidine & sucralfate) prescribed together. You can’t really scope the HG so I’ve always had vets prescribe to rule it out that way.

for some, but not all.

My vet pointed out that there are some horses out there who require more than 1 tube to treat. Others can treat on as little as a 1/4 tube. I have treated successfully on a 1/4 tube recently with no reoccurrence after 3 weeks off the UG.

It’s all a guessing game unless you just get her scoped.