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Ulcers (maybe) after the ulcers have been "cured"

Hey Y’all,

Last summer my dear old hunt horse went where the good ponies go. I miss him every day. That left the younger horse alone. He did not like it and developed ulcers. His behavior showed up on hound exercise, though he’d been fine riding in the ring/pasture/trail. He got the month long treatment of Gastroguard Nov 2022. The behavior cleared up and he’s been great. The follow up was 1/4 a tube of Gastroguard before stressful activity-ie hunting. BUT as my vet warned me, if the stressor doesn’t stop-he’s still in the pasture alone-ulcers often come back.

I was doing my usual between the hunts riding last week (walk, trot, turns, very low key), had been riding about 30 min, was just doing a final trot around the ring, when he suddenly jumped sideways, turned and plunged forward. I stopped him and he started, I guess the only way to describe it is hopping in place, slinging his head so high he hit me in the face. I tried to sit still and told him to “stop it”, and he did. We went right back to the spot and continued the trot. Then I stopped him and was walking on thinking “what on earth?” when (at a different spot) he whirled and scuttled off again. No hopping or head throwing. Made him go back and walked around a bit and got off.

The next day got our huntsman, who is an excellent horseman, to check him out-back, etc. and he found nothing. He said he was sure it was his stomach acting up again. He hunted fine behavior wise but was a bit lame about an hour in so I went home.

Gave him 1/3 of a tube of Gastroguard each day after that, also gave him 3 days off because of the lameness. Rode him and he was fine. I thought yay the daily 1/3 tube worked. Rode the next day 30 feet after I got on, spook and whirl. That time I fussed at him and sent him back the way he’d gone, rode for the usual between hunt time-about 30 min. no more incidents.

He has never ever done stuff like that. Not when he was 4 and green.

Is the 1/3 a tube every day enough to do anything? As I type it seems like probably his ulcers are acting up. I am working on a pasture buddy for him. He is obviously still unhappy to be alone-very looky in the pasture, leaves his food to peer around. Til he does get a buddy (if in the end that’s what the issue is) what can I do to make this better?

So far none of this is too awful, but I do NOT want it to escalate. The sudden whirl is something I really hate-I had a horse 20 + years ago who did this, much more violently with super unpleasant results for me-I definitely have some post traumatic stress over it.

Anyway, any of y’all delt with post ulcer issues? How did you solve or at least get them to a livable level?

All help appreciated!


Sounds like it is time for a work up. It could be ulcers or it could be lameness or saddle fit or or or.

If the ulcers are back, 1/3 of a tube of Ulcerguard for 4-5 days isn’t really doing anything. The treatment dose is 1 tube per day on a fasted stomach. Furthermore, depending on the type of ulcers, ulcer guard can be the gold standard or do nothing.

I’d haul to a local clinic, do flexions, and get a gastric scope and cease all riding until you have clarity.

Behavioral issues can linger far beyond physical symptoms so not aggressively going after the source could leave you with lasting behavioral issues. He’s got a history of ulcers, is living alone (totally alone?), and there are just too many factors for internet vets to give you a real answer.

I wouldn’t overlook flexions and a saddle check even if you are dead set on ulcers. I’ve known more than one horse where this exact behavior was rooted in a hind suspensory, broken saddle tree, and other issues that can easily be overlooked.


That is sound advice. This is a good point to throw some science and testing at the problem.
I did have the saddle fitter out in Nov-Dec I think, around then anyway. But something could have gone wrong since then.
And the lameness at the hunt last week could be a symptom as well.
I do think ulcers are the likely culprit. But far better to get a vet to figure out if it’s anything else rather than guess.
Unfortunately I’m about 2+ hours from a vet with a scope. But I can either haul to them or get another guy to do everything but the scope.

I think you have come up with your own answer. Get him a buddy now. Or board for a few months. Hunting is almost over, a couple months of field board with friends and you can start fresh.


Until you are able to change his lifestyle, I would keep him on ulcerguard continuously. I’d also add carafate for hindgut ulcers. My mare had a reoccurnce simply changing from full time pasture to part time mud lot in the fall despite having plenty of hay. I think ulcer management becomes a way of life for ever. I do gutx in the evening and u-guard pellets in the morning and another ounce of u-guard pellets while tacking up.

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Get a vet.

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I had some discussion with a hunt member just last as she was talking about her horses and ulcers. She doing the spot treatment approach and it has been unsuccesful. I told her mine are kept on omeprezole and sulcralfate from abler pharma year round. Its been an effective route for my guys.


Hi - sorry you’re going through this! I agree with others that he needs a buddy. Horses are just not meant to be alone.

Also, you may want to take a look for my extensive thread on ulcers and our story. It may help shine some light. What I would say is that it’s critical to seek out a better fix than treating with PPIs.

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I am sure it’s obvious and I’ll sound stupid but what are PPI’s?

And thank you for your advice! I appreciate it.

And thank you all for the advice! I have the first appt. I could get with an excellent vet-the one with the scope. It’s for March 30. It’s a 2 + hour drive but worth it.

I’ll let you know what he finds.

Regards and thank you again!

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Sorry! Proton Pump Inhibitors … the reduction of pH and acid level in the stomach can allow for an abundance of bad bacteria that change digestion and create some big problems downstream.

Any studies about that? Ours are on omep for years with no problems.

So I forgot to post the results-and even when I am not involved I always want to know what happened. I took him to the vet with the scope. He has been my vet for 20+ years, super careful and thorough, on the board at AU and keeps up with all the new stuff. He did flexions and lunged-w, t. c both directions-you never saw such a sound horse. He poked around on the horse’s back and found no soreness. He scoped the horse and found no ulcers though there was still some irritation where the ulcers had been. He recommended giving the horse the “maintenance” dose of 1/4 a tube the day before and the day of a ride. Which I did for a while, though I ride around 5 days a week so that’s basically every day. Lately I have been slack about that.
And guess what? Yesterday I did not give him any Ulcerguard, I had ridden for about 20 min, saw that he was looking at something in the pasture, rode over to the fence to do a turn through the circle, made a circle, turned through it, and boom he shied and off I came. The saddle fitter had been out literally the day before and pronounced the saddle just fine. So. Maybe there really is some animal out in the pasture or nearby that he smells. Maybe his tummy gave a twinge. Maybe he’s just nervous being alone. I don’t know.
I am bummed though. I don’t really think he was scared of anything. He only went about 20 feet. Hilariously, without thinking, I got up and said “get back over here” and he came back haha. So I did get back on and he was fine. I’m gonna give him the Ulcerguard today! I’m happy to hear your thoughts-I’ve had him since he was 4. I’ve ridden out there in wind and rain and in the literal pitch black dark and he’s not been spooky-though his buddy was alive then. The only other thing is, I didn’t get my vet to check his eyes, and I probably should have.
Thanks for any ideas!

Hey Fit ToBe Tied,
So what doses of omeprezole and sulcralfate do you give? And you get a pharmacy to make this up?

And I have been looking for a buddy! To no avail.

We use Abler Horse Health Care products for both the omeprezole and sulcralfate. They sell it in pre-measured dosage packets or in a bulk pack with a scoop. We use the bulk pack. How much they get is dependent on size. Also, what they are doing matters as well (stressful vs. non-stressful). They have instructions for both cure doses and preventative doses.


I’ve had my guy on Misoprostil for a while for hind gut issues and finally weaned him off by giving him 1/2 cup apple pectin plus 1/2 cup lechitin granules per day. A vet I respect at Hagyard’s in Lexington KY did a ton of research showing how these benefitted in treating ulcers

I am curious - where do you source the apple pectin and the lechitin granules?

My vet recommended an equine supplement that was based on these two ingredients, but I cant remember the name of it. If I recall, it was pricey.

It’s called Starting Gate! Not the cheapest for sure.
I buy the individual supplements bulk online from health food websites and the horse is maintaining his comfort so far, fingers crossed!

Can you provide links to the health food websites you use? If you are using a half cup of each per day, you must need to buy in bulk for sure!

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