Help for a ulcery horse that just doesn't seem to get better?

Hi there, so I have an 7yo ottb gelding that I’ve been struggling to get right stomach wise. I’ve owned him since he was three and am aiming to show him in the first year green devisions this year, after a successful season in the baby greens last year, if I can get this ulcer thing under control. He has been scoped and treated for ulcers with Gastroguard multiple times, but they just keep coming back.

He has been identified as having a sensitivity to corn and has been kept on a completely corm free diet since he was four. He gets two pounds of Poulin FiberMax, a beetpulp based and certified corn free gain at each feeding. Along with four pounds of Triple Crown Alfa-Lox Forage, and a pound of regular soaked beetpulp. I keep him on a acid buffer and probiotic all year round along with his joint supplement and electrolytes. He is wormed regularly and we are very careful about using NSADS with him in the event that he needs them. I also used Gasrtromax, and omeprazole paste much like UlcerGuard when shipping, showing or when he is on medication.

When we’re not out and about he lives a pretty mellow life. He is turned out on a green, three acre pasture with four other geldings for more then ten hours a day. He is quiet in his stall; no weave, kick or cribbing. He has a slow feed hay net and always has access to fresh water.

He is kept in regular work, has no soundness issues and seems to generally enjoy his job. Still, for no rime or reason he has random ulcer flair ups, mild colic and weight fluctuates.

I’ve been working closely with my vet for years on this issue, but was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for alternative treatments or possible investigation ideas.

Thanks for reading! :slight_smile:

Have you scoped after treatment to confirm that the ulcers healed? If not, I’d consider re-scoping and perhaps trying a more aggressive treatment plan (Gastroguard, Sucralfate, Misoprostol) and a re-scope every month until he’s clean. Then taper the omeprazole slowly.

Have you tried maintaining him on alfalfa? Try dropping the glucosamine?

I have scoped him after treatments, generally they have healed… If not we keep treating. He will be good for a while but they always come back. He is kept on Alfa-Lox Forage, a chopped alfalfa feed with probiotics and a buffer mixed in. I’ve tried to keep him maintained on strait alfalfa hay, his regular hay and beet pulp in the past but I just couldn’t seem to keep the weight on him.

Add Neighlox to his diet each day. In morning and at night feedings. In addition to whatever meds he is taking. It does buffer the stomach. And even a particular and suspicious horse will usually eat it with grain. It comes in a big container, when you buy it, so cheaper than buying a smaller amt. I think it’s 20 or 25 pounds in the big container.

Try to find a TCVM vet in your area. I have seen Dr. Xie’s herbal formulas work extremely well for digestive abnormalities including reoccurring ulcers. I really cannot say why they work better than traditional pharmaceuticals, but in essence they target what is wrong with your horse’s general health that causes it to be unwell. I just wish they would make them a little less pricey and not require a rx!

I dealt with the same thing. I finally gave in and give him a single packet of poprocks every day. I didn’t want him to have daily omeprazole, but I had not choice.

Have you thought about hind gut ulcers? The omeprazole may heal the gastric ulcers but can make the hindgut worse.

and omeprazole paste much like UlcerGuard when shipping, showing or when he is on medication.

“much like UlcerGard” could be some of your problem.

Use the real stuff, the stuff proven to work. If you’re getting compounded paste that claims to have omeprazole in it, it may not even be true at all.

hind gut ulcers…

My friend had a horse with hind gut ulcers, the medication for this iscytotec (misoprostol) 200 mcg tablets — give 10 pills 2 x daily x 30 days May cause some loose stools–this medication made all the difference in the world for this horse that is now in fairly heavy competition and doing super well.
Rx only.
Definitley worth a shot.

Do hind gut ulcers (untreated) cause stomach ulcers to reoccur?

OP: do you know what his eating habits are while in the barn? Does he continue to nibble his hay, or does he get bored and stop eating, leaving his stomach empty for a stretch of time?

I assume he is on a deworming program?

seems like the only thing you could do is leave him out 24/7…perhaps he is somewhat “stressed” by being stalled and hides it inside…or has a food allergy in addition to corn?

I’d consider hindgut ulcers and can you ditch the slow feed hay net and give free choice hay on the ground? My horse that has a history of ulcers (he was scoped) had a major flare up when I tried the nibble net.

That’s what I was thinking. And five horses in a 3 acre pasture is a lot - can you find someplace with a more spacious turnout? If you get him on a great pasture, you can cut back a lot of the other stuff he’s getting, too.

My horse’s ulcers were so bad that after scoping him they had me give him 1 tube of gastrogard a day, + sucralafate once daily for 2 weeks + ranitidine 3x/day for 5 days. It took 3 months to heal. Immediately after treatment, he started living on ranitidine 2x/day. I have recently added Abprazole (the omeprazole “pop rocks”) since he has had joint injections and an oral steroid for hives, and have had good results.

My advice (assuming your vet agrees) would be to have him live on ranitidine (2x day dose, not the treatment 3x/day) and add omeprazole before, during and after stressful situations. I really feel this is the only way to keep a “worrier” ulcer free.

Best of luck!