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Left sided bloat, colic, hind-gut ulcers

I have a young (4 yr old) mare that has struggled with colic and we think hind gut ulcers since July. To try and summarize this: no colic issues prior to this year when in late May she started being gassy and bloated, she had a serious colic in July and spent 3 days in the vet hospital, blew a vein so was being treated for that, came home looking decent. Got an extensive feed change, and we thought there might be some issues with coming in season as an ovary was twisted after all that – which we fixed and she has been on regumate, equisure and succeed since then, none of which seems to have made much of a difference in anything. She tested for hind gut ulcers with the succeed test and her colic was hind gut ulcer like – lots of diarrhea, gas, discomfort but no twisting, weird peeing behavior. When we first started the misoprostel she improved a lot, except for some bloating on the left side. Kept improving, stayed good for about 2-3 weeks after we stopped it and then the bloating and gas got worse again, treated her again, was a little better, changed her feed again, got a bit better, then basically the same thing. She’s now back on the misoprostel and sucralfate (away from the other meds) but not much changed, so we have just finished a panacur power pack, which has eliminated bloating on the right, still slightly bloated on the left.

To be honest, I’m running out of ideas and am out of money. She has had 4 vets consulting on this, so my questions are really a last ditch – throw it out to the universe to see if anyone has experienced anything similar. And yes, I have spent hours looking at the COTH posts on hind gut ulcers and colic. So, has anyone had a horse with bloating just on the left side? That side is almost always bloated to a greater or lesser extent. They did an ultrasound in the hospital and did not see anything abnormal. If you did have this, did you ever figure out what was causing it? Have you had success with something other than equisure and succeed? She’s on another supplement from my vet with turmeric in it but again, not much difference. My only other thought is once I can save the money, to do a food allergy test. We did do elimination diets for soy (which did nothing) and alfalfa (which we put her on after the colic) and taking her off that helped with the right side bloat but not much with the left. If you did food allergy testing was it accurate and did you do a blood test or the old skin testing? I’m open to any suggestions, as I may have to make a really hard decision about a lovely little mare with an amazing temperament and good talent that I’ve known since she was a baby.

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I have one with similar weird issues and she can’t have ANY commercial feed. Theory is that it’s the defoliating agents used on grains at harvest that are the problem as that’s the only thing anyone can think of that they have in common.

Her grain is timothy or alfalfa pellets, some oil, organic oats and a vitamin/ mineral supplement and Gut-X or vitalize if we are showing. The oats were for taste but they really helped imho, they are full of beta glucan and help her maintain her weight all winter but did not make her any hotter.


FWIW, if she’s eating beet pulp at all, take her off it, wait a couple of weeks and reassess. I stupidly caused gas (thankfully not to full-on colic level) in my mare when I decided to give in and try beet pulp. I hate the smell of it and the quality variations which is why she’d never had it before but I thought it might be a nice addition to her cubes since it is so palatable and the increased water intake was appealing. Not such a great idea. When it got to the point that I was longeing her to get her farting I finally got smart and took her off it.

Another sensitivity for my mare is alf/tim pellets as opposed to cubes. Both soaked - you’d think similar? No. Pellets cause some gassiness - not as much as beet pulp (no apparent pain like there was with beet pulp), but enough that my non-publicly-farting mare was gassing out the grooming area on the regular.

Good luck, I know there are a lot of other possibilities, but this one is pretty easy to try as a feed elimination if she is on beet pulp at all.


Thank you for the input. That is very interesting and I’ve been wondering if it could be something really hard to figure out like a toxin used in processing (something her body sees as a toxin that others do not). I’ve thought about rolled oats for her so I think I’ll give it a try. Super interesting about the cubes. She refuses to eat any pellet for any reason.

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So we did put her on beet pulp when she refused to touch any type of pellet. She was bloated before the beet pulp but its worth taking her off and seeing what happens - thank you for your input! And I see you mentioned the cubes, not Amberley. At least seeing that others have had some success is enouraging.


Have they checked for sand ingestion? You would need x rays to check for that.

They didn’t see anything of that type when she was in the clinic. She mentioned not seeing that as an issue, but I don’t actually know how they check for that.

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My vet pointed out we could spend a million dollars chasing individual allergies or just not feed her any pre-mixed feeds and keep the money. So that’s what I did. She’s an easy, easy keeper which helps.