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Hind Gut Ulcers “not a thing”?

The veterinarian that does the Straight From the Horse Doctor’s Mouth podcast asserts in the episode linked below that hind gut ulcers are “not a thing.” She says that horses can get them; however, a horse afflicted with them would be very, very sick.

The segment on hind gut ulcers starts at 2 minutes, 30 seconds in.

Link - https://springhillequine.libsyn.com/s5e15-stomach-ulcers

Comments? Discussion?




Well, she’s “not wrong”. I do think that a horse could have milder signs/symptoms leading up to a full blown attack, and I do think that our awareness of stomach ulcers (and possibly over treating them with PPI’s) could lead us down that path.
Let’s face it. A horses’ digestive tract is unbelievably fragile. Our current standards of horsekeeping, in some ways, is not helping. We know so much more now, and in our efforts to “do better” we sometimes overdo.

My own experience with this, IF that’s even what it was: I had an older TB gelding, he was my schoolmaster. So he had been around the block, big time. In his lifetime of course he’d been treated with NSAID’s any number of times. Treating stomach ulcers was not a known thing yet during his prime competition years. I had him at the vets for some reason, and that fecal blood test had just come out (I can’t recall the name of it). Vet thought we should test, so we did. First couple times, came back positive for stomach ulcers. So we treated with compounded omeprazole. Then he popped a positive for hindgut! Protocol was pull him off all dry/long stem forage, only soaked feeds. It was spring and grass was soft wet and green, so he got that, but otherwise lived on mash. It did work. So much so that by the time I reintroduced dry forage to his diet, I kept him on primarily mash. He gained weight, kept it on, and in general seemed happier.
So. Did he actually have RDC? Or some “lighter version”? Who knows. Obviously not full blown, or we’d have been in hospital.

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I agree that she’s not wrong, but not tooootally right.

There’s a range of severity of actual colitis.

But what a lot simply call hind gut “ulcers” is likely a whole lot more about an acidosis situation which, if left unchecked, could easily lead to mild and then worsening actual ulcers.


The rise of Succeed in the mid-to-late 00’s definitely started a hind gut ulcer hysteria.


Thank you all!

I was kind of surprised by her statement in the podcast, but I really had no idea how accurate it might be, and figured I’d seek opinions here. Mostly she makes sense, but every once in awhile I kind of go hmmm.

My horse Star was diagnosed with thickened intestines via ultrasound. Now I wonder if it may have been something related to, or similar to, RDC. I no longer have his vet records so I can’t go back and look for the site of the thickening. The horse had a history of periodic mild colics that would resolve; at some point they got closer together and started to require veterinary intervention. He was also lethargic and depressed. I took him to the local (and I do mean local–I led him there) equine hospital for further diagnostics. Treatment was an almost constant supply of slow-fed timothy hay and little to no concentrates. We even did some acupuncture. Eventually he got better but a variety of factors led to me retiring him within six months.

@Texarkana - agree. And am I remembering correctly that the company that made Succeed also distributed the test?


You don’t hear people pushing the product as much these days, so I went to their website to see if it even still exists in the same form. It seems they have rebranded ever so slightly. Before it was hindgut, hindgut, hindgut IIRC. Now they market it to condition the entire digestive tract. Looks like the same formula, but the language to describe the product’s effects is less specific than I remember.

People see results with the product, so I’m not saying it doesn’t work. But I suspect it mostly mitigates acidosis when we see results as opposed to it healing hindgut ulcers like we were all led to believe.

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Thanks Tex, it was Succeed that had the fecal blood test. I remember I couldn’t afford to put my guy on the product, so I bought oat flour instead and added it to his feed.

I kind of think if a horse were to actually, truly have RDC, it would be a pretty dramatic event. I agree with there is probably a whole lot of ‘acidosis’ going on instead.

Makes you go Hmm… doesn’t it? We all just want to do right by our horses.

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