SOS my horse eats and then quits- running out of answers

I have a 13 year old thoroughbred named junior. I’ve had him over five years with NO issues at all weight and health were great. Last year he got his spring shots and then coliced after them. Not usual but it happened and just figured it was a freak thing he then coliced a few more times over the next couple of months until he coliced so badly I took him to Midatlantic equine center to be treated. He didn’t have to have surgery and came home within a couple days. The vets were stumped but suspected possible inflammatory bowel disease… I should also mention he dropped a significant amount of weight over that time coming up to the Midatlantic visit. I thought maybe cancer but his belly tap didn’t come up with any cancer cells. He’s been on a southern states grain with tc senior feed and equine mega omega for his gut health and lots of hay. He’s been eating great just diving in and seems much brighter and has been putting on some weight but today after months and months of eating he’s stopped eating most of his feed. He’s been treated for ulcers with gastroguard for two months and he isn’t sensitive around his stomach or any ulcer points. I’m just looking for any more ideas or if anyone has had any similar experiences? Thanks guys! -Sarah

Have his teeth been checked? What was his diet like when this started? What is it like now? Have you treated for hind gut ulcers aswel? How is his water intake? What shots did he revive at the time?

Yes his teeth have been checked. I can’t recall what grain he was on when the sickness had started but it was the same grain he’d been on all his life with me. I stated what he’s on now in the original post but again it’s southern states feed tc senior feed and a gut supplement. His water intake is good and he got the same shots this spring that he got last year that triggered his colic and he was fine this time. I have not treated for hindgut ulcers yet but I’m considering that next step! I just wanted to see if anyone had any other ideas firstt

Pre/Probiotics can help humans with IBS, so maybe it will help your horse? Stress can also cause eating issues. Stress could be chronic pain or other stress. There is blood work that can check for inflammation that may be worth getting done.

I board a horse that had a lot of stomach issues, and reoccurring gas colics. Her owner put her on coconut oil and a supplement from Mushroom Matrix. It may be a coincidence, but he horse hasn’t colicked for well over a year.

So spring of 2014 he colicked after his shot series, so April or so? and then proceeded to colic again and again, all the while losing weight, until August or so? he winds up at Mid Atlantic? where he is treated and released.
Treated how exactly?
So since then he’s been eating a southern states grain - what kind? also Triple Crown Sr and eq mega omega gut supplement with hay, happily eating, gone through the same shot series in April? with no ill effect but you started treating for ulcers two months ago? in April? why? and today June 2 he quit eating? do you mean literally today or what?

Just trying to get the timeline straight from the OP.

My old guy has Cushing’s. 13 is young for that. But Spring is a time for my guy when his ACTH levels get out of whack, and this year he had a hard time with the weather and had heat related colic and stress symptoms three times in three weeks. I had a clue after the first time and was clipping his extremely thick coat as fast as I could.

Is it possible your boy is starting with metabolic symptoms? Is there anything about the hay that he gets starting in April, is it a new load, does he start to spend time at pasture that he didn’t get before? If he were staying fat I’d say he was replacing the concentrates with pasture, the weight loss implies he’s not eating anything at all but some metabolic disorders affect weight also.
What exactly do you feed him, in pounds of each and how do you break it up over the day?
Your vet thinks IBS, why start to treat for ulcers a couple of months ago, and was there anything else? What’s his workload like, his turnout, buddies?

Was he treated with full dose for the ulcers? Has he been scoped since to confirm that he doesn’t have them?

hindgut ulcers?

Have you tried do an elimination diet? I have food allergies and mild IBS myself and I did this diet it helped a lot.

Take out all the grain and supplements and start with plain hay. If he is fine on that add something else back into the diet. If he still good, continue adding the rest of his feed supplements one at a time. If there is improvement and then he stops eating again. Chances are he has an allergy causing the IBS.

Classic ulcer symtoms.

Which SS feed? There are a lot, and many of them are high sugar.

Why the mix of that and TC Sr? How much of each?

I too would do a back to basics elimination diet. Go back to just hay/grass, whatever he’s eating now, for 2 weeks if possible, then add in one feed, a good quality one. I’d choose the TC Sr of what you’re feeding.

Too frequent use of the wrong type of “digestive support” product can actually disrupt things.

Having had a horse that just stopped eating on me . . .

My vet suspected possible early cushing’s or a pituitary problem

“a” stimulus for appetite was a dose of anabolic steroids
we used Winstrol
but it can bring its own problems

eventually we did the steroids and it got him eating
but then he went into kidney failure and had to be put down

Classic ulcer symptoms, as cutter said. He’s eating well, then as his digestion gets going, he quits.

You haven’t caught his ulcers. Treat with omeprazole the entire recommended length of time, what is it, 28 days? Treatment dose, not maintenance dose. If he improves at all, its ulcers. Some horses need a second treatment, also. This is the only way the ulcers will heal.

If there is still a problem after the above treatment, THEN I would scope.

COnsidering this horse had a colic and surgery, you can imagaine that there has been considerable digestive stress and ulcers and entirely probable, not just possible. It would be foolish not to treat for them, and I believe in treating for ulcers and seeing the response before spending the money on scoping. If I recal there are areas where horses can have ulcers that scoping doesn’t reveal, anyway, not sure about that.

I had a gelding a long time ago who would do this regularly every spring for ~8 weeks. He did it every spring for the 5 years I owned him.

After he colicked from RDC and we had to put him down, my vet suggested his voluntary fasting (her term) might have been caused by a lipoma.
Of course, this was many years before ulcers became known to be as common as they are, but it’s another thing to think about.

She said he didn’t have to have surgery.

My vet surgery uses this stuff for horses who don’t want to eat or have digestive issues;

http://www.horse.com/item/manna-pro-opti-zyme/SLT901026/

Went through something similar with my horse the late last year/into this year.

I treated with UG and it still was happening. I had some Succeed (tubes) that I hadn’t ever used so I thought what the heck, we’ll try that (vet concurred it wouldn’t hurt).

Within a week, my horse was eating with gusto, losing his cow patty manure, just overall, SO MUCH BETTER.

I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen him transform with my own eyes. I tapered off the UG and left him on Succeed, just went to the powdered stuff. That Succeed really turned him around (the fecal blood test was positive for fore/hindgut ulcers prior to starting the Succeed - not saying it’s 100% diagnostic).