Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ulcers in horses

Horses by nature are grazing animals. They are meant to eat all day long. The modern way that we keep horses does not allow this natural process, therefore the domestic horse suffers many different type of digestive disorders associated with this unnatural feeding process.

One such problem is ulcers. Studies have shown that 60% of horses suffer from ulcers.  A horse that is fed twice a day and stands in the stall all day long without any food is at high risk for developing ulcers. The symptoms of ulcers can vary and usually show as being girthy, picky eaters, nervousness, tucked up gut, back soreness, sensitivity to being groomed, mouthy, biting, hind end lameness, pinning of the ears when being saddled, loose or watery stools, hard keepers, pain and weight loss.

The health of the stomach and hind gut is crucial to your horse's health and soundness. Training issues may be caused from a horse that is in pain as a result of ulcers. Stress is a contributing factor and when a horse travels from barn to barn for shows, is relocated, or pressured to perform, or even losing a horse buddy causes distress and therefore puts your horse more at risk for developing ulcers. Environmental factors play a big role in the health of your horse's digestive system. Nervous horses are at highest risk of developing ulcers.

Ulcers occur in the stomach and the hind gut. The hind gut is often overlooked. It consists of the cecum and the colon and is vital to the health of the digestive system. Horses are hind gut fermenters. What this means is most of its energy and nutrients are obtained by the fermenting process in the hind gut.

Extensive research has been done to confirm that ulcers of the hind gut do exist. How does a horse get hind gut ulcers? The most common cause is the use of NSAIDs like the common anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone, or Bute. NSAIDs work to reduce pain and inflammation by blocking certain chemicals called prostaglandins. Damaged tissue and healthy tissue both have prostaglandins and NSAIDs do not differentiate. The healthy tissues of the hind gut are responsible for the mucus production and blood flow, when the prostaglandins are blocked by the use of bute, ulcers develop in the right dorsal colon due the destruction of the mucus lining of the intestinal tract. A horse with ulcers in the right dorsal colon will be more sensitive on the right side below or around the loins and flank area and can exhibit an off beat with the right hind leg. Medications such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, wormers and other prescribed medicines can interrupt the natural friendly microbial population of the hind gut and create a myriad of digestive upsets including ulcers.

Hindgut Acidosis can cause hind gut ulcers. The overload of starch and sugar and processed feeds in the modern equine diet causes the bacteria to produce lactic acid. This raises the acidity of the hind gut by lowering the pH. This condition allows the bad bacteria to multiply leading to ulcers. Hindgut acidosis is caused by modern feeding practices and can be prevented by eliminating sweet feeds and other processed grains from the diet.

Parasites are another cause of ulcers although with a good worming program this is not usually a problem. Using natural wormers such as Wormcheck and getting fecal counts on a regular basis so you do not overworm is a good practice.

Exercising a horse on an empty stomach can also contribute to gastric ulcers. It has been discovered that during exercise the stomach acids will splash onto the upper 1/3 of the stomach which causes irritation and can cause ulcers. Your horse should never be ridden on an empty stomach. Give them a handful of cubes or pellets before tacking up. It absorbs the acids and makes your horse more willing to work.

There are many products on the market today to help prevent or heal ulcers. Most of them address gastric ulcers which are of the stomach. Colonic or hind gut ulcers are equally as important. I have used just about every product out there in regards to digestive health. Most of them did nothing. There are some that worked with great results. Some the things I found that work well are listed below.

1. Oat Bran or Oat Flour. Feed 1/2 cup of oat bran or oat flour mixing it with some pellets and adding water. The oat bran coats and heals the hind gut and provides beta glucans which support the immune system. This can be given before riding.

2. Cabbage powder. 1/2 tablespoon 2 - 3 times a day. Cabbage is high in the amino acid L-Glutamine. This amino acid has been proven to heal the lining of the stomach and intestinal tract.

3. Pumpkin Seeds. Feed 2 ounces a day. These little miraculous seeds are high in nitric oxide which is what the body needs to heal and repair anything that needs to be healed. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are useful with arthritis and other joint discomforts. They are high in minerals that help to increase bone density. They support the immune system and are an anti-parasitic.

4. Fenugreek seed powder. 1/2 tablespoon twice a day. Fenugreek improves digestion, reduces inflammation, lowers blood glucose levels making it good for diabetic conditions, soothes and heals the intestinal tract and has cardiovascular benefits.

5. Hemp Seed Oil. 1/2 to 1 ounce daily. Hemp seed Oil is a source of both LA (Omega 6) and LNA (Omega 3) essential fatty acids and essential amino acids in balanced proportions. Benefits include increased stamina, speeds healing, calmness, reduces inflammation, enhances immune functions, reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, improve concentration and increases the availability of nutrients.

6. Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. 2 ounces daily. Raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar is high in enzymes which help to flush toxins from the body. Enzymes are responsible for all cellular functions. Apple cider vinegar promotes healthy joints, boosts the immune system, helps dissolve calcium deposits, improves urinary tract health, stimulates proper digestion, helps the horse improve resistance to parasites. It must be raw and unpasturized to get the benefits.

7. Probiotics. Fed according to manufacturer directions. These are extremely important to maintain the proper intestinal flora. Should be used after any type of stress or medications, including worming. It is safe to use on a daily basis. Probiotics help populate the friendly microflora to support a healthy digestive system and immune system. There are many on the market. The best ones I have found are Advanced Biological Concepts Pro-bi and ABC, Earthsong Ranch,  Vitaflex Micro Balance, Bio Mos and Yea-Sacc from Oak Creek services

8. Rapid Response. This product is packed full of glyconutrients, is fast acting and works extremely well. Contains Anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, glucosamines and glyconutrients. Speeds recovery of injuries, excellent for joint pain, arthritis, ulcers, and more. Recommended by veterinarians to provide advanced nutritional support for the special dietary needs of animals in maintaining the health of skeletal structure, tendons and soft tissues particularly following trauma induced injuries. Visit website

9. Herbal blends such as Ulcerase from Advanced Biological concepts.

10. Chamomile. This herb aids digestion, is calming to the digestive system and soothes the intestinal lining. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

11. Succeed Digestive Conditioning program.  This program works very extremely well.   It is well worth it.

12. Lecithin granules.  Lecithin is derived from soy and is a naturally occurring group of phospholipids that's found in nearly every living cell.   Research has shown that lecithin cures equine gastric ulcers.  It does this by making the stomach lining stronger at the cellular membrane level and enhances the rest of the digestive system as well.   

To keep your horse healthy, sound and free of ulcers the correct feeding program is of utmost importance. A horse who has gastric ulcers will not eat that well despite being give hay 24/7. This is because their stomach hurts. You must first address the ulcers and then your horse will enjoy eating and you will find they will not be as finicky. If your horse is stabled and does not have access to pastures, good quality grass hays should be available for them all day long. A small amount of alfalfa is acceptable because it is higher in calcium. The calcium helps absorb the excess acids. It doesn't matter whether your horse has ulcers or is ulcer prone, they should have access to free choice hay all day.

If you treat the symptom without making dietary changes by giving antacids this disturbs the natural digestive process and actually causes the stomach to produce more acid.  You get results, it appears that your horse is better but in a few weeks or even a few days, the symptoms return again.  You treat again and the cycle continues on.  It is important to heal the stomach and/or hind gut ulcers for a complete and healthy recovery. 

109 comments:

  1. Gastric (or stomach) ulcers could be caused by your horse's diet, training program and lifestyle. Here's how to assess your horse's risk for gastroint.Glyconutrients

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  2. yes, absolutely. Training causes a certain level of stress and some horses cope better than others. Diet,training, riding and environmental factors such as lifestyle play a major role in whether or not a horse gets ulcers.

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  3. I have curently been dealing with my young thoroughbreds ulcers and this has been an amazing website i concur with all the above remedies and am very impressed with the add ons you have listed in which i will be giving to him now that you informed me of others! thank you so much....i hate giving a 'mystery supplement' in a jug or bucket because i want to know EXACTLY what is in there and i have yet to find one ulcer supplement that contains all of the vital ingredients it SHOULD have! .....i am resorting to buying all he powders, extracts and seeds and making baggies every week for my barn....he is being treated for ulcers now with gasrto gard and once finished, i want a solid feeding program - no grain, hay all day, turnout, probiotics, salt to ensure water consumption, and herbal remedies to keep him on his way to being healthy and stable.....i fear them occurring again =(

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  4. Glad to help. Another effective remedy is to feed one cup of flax seed daily. It must be raw and you must soak it for at least 20 minutes, the oat bran, probiotics and any herbs can be added to this mixture also after it has been soaked. It will get slimy and that is what you want. That slimy part of the flax is full of essential fatty acids and will coat, soothe and heal the intestinal track. You can soak it longer that is okay, but not longer than one hour. Feed right away, do not let it sit overnight it will go rancid. It can be mixed on top of some cubes or pellets. Most horses love it. This is a good preventive measure.

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  5. Psyllium also works well. I've been using it in my horses diet for a year now with great results.

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  6. The cause of ulcers in horses is multifactorial. Stress is one of the reason why performance horses got ulcers.

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  7. How much Lecithin granules would you feed a day? Do you also know where the best price is for them on the internet?

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    1. 1/2 cup per day for a horse 1100 lbs or less. 1 cup per day for larger horses. You can get it from bulkfoods.com

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  8. Can you tell me how much Lecithin granules to feed?

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    1. 1/2 cup per day for a horse 1100 lbs or less. 1 cup per day for larger horses. Sorry I didn't see this post until now.

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  9. Hi wondered if you could help me, My tb has been scoped for ulcers and has none in his stomach. Hes currently poor condition and I am wondering if he possible has hindgut ulcers. I currently feed him on pure feeds pure condition, from the above what would be useful to add to his diet as a supplement?

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  10. What other symptoms does your horse have besides poor condition? Has he been wormed? Is he girthy? It is possible he could have hindgut ulcers. There are several things you can do. The first thing I would try to see if he shows improvement is lecithin granules. You can get these at http://www.bulkfoods.com/whole-foods.asp?wholesale=4730. Start him on half a cup twice a day. If he is over 16H give him a cup and half daily. His condition should start to improve pretty quick on this.

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  11. Hello:) We are currently implementing several of your idea with great success. A horse that was on Gastroguard for months without significant improvement, is now off of all meds and thriving. We have also used Succeed, and are keeping it handy, just in case. At this time our TB mare is getting pumpkin seeds, cabbage powder and lecithin granules on a daily basis We are now adding the hemp seed oil, as she was just xrayed and diagnosed with mild arthritis in her knee. However, we are concerned because she will be (hopefully) racing in approximately 1 1/2 to 2 months. No one can tell us if the hemp seed oil will cause a positive test for THC . Do you know or have any idea how we could find out? We'd hate to be treating her naturally, and yet have a bad test result on race day. Thank you:):)

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    1. I'm happy to hear you are getting good results. As far as I know she should not test positive because it is an essential fatty acid and is derived from a different species of hemp but I'm not sure how you would find out for sure.

      To be on the safe side, stop the hemp seed oil and increase the lecithin by 1/2 cup. She will still get the same benefit from doing this. In addition, you can also make an oat bran mash to help support the digestive system and calm the nerves. Half a cup of oat bran mixed with water and put on top of pellets or cubes or sometimes they like to eat it from the bowl. This can be given on occasion, does not have to be on a regular basis since you are doing the lecithin.

      For her arthritis I would highly recommend a product called Rapid Response. http://www.rapidresponseamerdon.com/rapidresponseequine.html
      We have several clients using it at the track with great success.

      Hope all goes well!!

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    2. Thanks so much!! We feel like we can see an improvement with the hemp oil already. We'll probably stop the hemp oil prior to racing, just to be safe. Any ideas how far out you would recommend stopping?

      We're checking out the rapid response and will definitely try the oat bran as well.

      Thanks again:)

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    3. To be safe at least 3 weeks.

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  12. Melissa MaitlandApril 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Hello- I have a new Warmblood gelding that I've had for about 3 months. Recently, he has become very agitated during grooming and handling. He pins his ears, tries to nip at times and will occasionally kick up at his stomach. I had the vet out and we ruled out any lameness or back issues. Thinking it likely could be an ulcer he had me start him on Ranitidine to see if improvement followed. We are doing this in pill form...10 pills ground up in feed 2x daily. After several days I noticed improvement so I have ordered a month's worth of Gastroguard (gasp at the cost) to go ahead and treat him. Will start treatment in a few days. However, tonight we are back to the same behavior issues and he's on day 12 of the Ranitidine..almost done with it. I've also added 1 cup 2x daily of Aloe Vera Juice...mixing meds and Juice in bran so he'll eat. Is it possible that the Ranitidine is just no longer working...or maybe not dealing with an ulcer at all? I understand per the vet it is just a Band-Aid and the Gastroguard would be needed to heal the ulcer. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated :)

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  13. Ranitidine works by reducing the amount of stomach acid. If there is an existing ulcer this does not heal it. Long term use can have more serious side effects. You want to focus on healing the ulcers. There is a good chance that your gelding does not have stomach ulcers but instead has hindgut ulcers. These medications do not address the hindgut.

    To work on healing the gut, you might want to start with one cup of lecithin divided into 2 doses of half a cup each. You can get the lecithin granules from bulkfoods.com.

    With this add biomos and yeasacc. This can be purchased from Oak Creek at this link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Horse-DIGESTIVE-ULCeR-IMMuNe-Supplement-1-Lb-BIO-MOS-9-Lbs-YEA-SACC-Live-Yeast-/370634070779?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item564b831afb

    I recommend this because medications throw the natural intestinal flora out of balance and this will help to restore and heal this.

    Give 1/2 cup of oat bran mixed with water twice a day. This can be added on top of cubes or pellets. Stay away from any feeds that contain molasses or sweeteners. Also do not feed any grains. This will cause fermentation and hindgut acidosis which can lead to ulcers. Your horse needs a high fiber diet.

    This is a good place to start and see if you get some improvement. Once you do, your horse is on the road to recovery.

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  14. Hi. I found your article very interesting. I suspect my horse has ulcers. I bough him in January this year. He came from a sand only paddock (they had him for a year) and was fed oaten hay and muesli twice a day. His coat was relatively dull and he was a bit Robby. I wormed him, drenched him, had his teeth done. He is a lovely horse except he either tries to bite me or a pole when I do up his girth. He does show resistance transitioning to trot and I really struggle to canter him and keep him going with him often picking up the wrong lead. There would be no harm in trying some of your suggestions, prior to getting a vet out would there? Can ulcers be healed without medication?

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  15. There is no harm in trying some of the suggestions. There are no side effects other than good health for your horse! Yes ulcers can be healed without medications. It's important to make necessary dietary changes and reduce the amount of stress for your horse to increase your chances of success. Is he an easy keeper or has a hard time keeping weight on?

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    1. Thanks for your reply. In the five months that I've had him I have had him in a full board agistment where he has only had hay twice a day (again on a sand paddock). He does have free access to meadow roll but he doesn't seem to like it. I take him to our own five acres in a week so I will finally be able to feed him and monitor his habits myself. I would say he's a little on the underweight side .
      I am planning on providing oaten hay roll (is that okay) in his paddock while U am trying to establish pasture (kikyui) and supplementing with wheaten chaff, Lucerne chaff, lecithin (1/2cup to start) and maybe a tablespoon of flaxseed oil with a few carrots (he loves carrots) and as he is an Arab he does tend to be a little bit "hot" with pony nuts. Also, I was wondering if I could add in some of L gluitimine powder and if so how much? (I have a container from a weight training program I was following). I also have apple cider vinigar. What do you suggest I start with?

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  16. I don't know what type of grass hay you have available but try to get something like orchard, timothy, bermuda, etc. Stick to grass hay only. Don't give the oaten chaff or the wheaten chaff. These can cause problems. The lucerne or alfalfa is okay but not too much. No carrots. These are too sweet and can aggravate the condition. Stay away from any sweet feed including snacks like carrots and apples and other fruits. For snacks give a couple of alfalfa cubes. Start him on 1/2 cup of lecithin and let him have as much grass hay as he wants. Keep hay available 24/7. The flax oil is okay to add with the lecithin but better than that is to get raw flaxseed, put 1/2 cup in water and soak it for at least 20 minutes. It will get slimy. This is what you want. Then pour it on top of a pelleted grass feed. Don't let the soaked flaxseed sit any longer than one hour before feeding or it will go rancid. You can add the L-glutamine that you have, just be sure it is not sweetened. He would need about 10,000 mg - 30,000 mg twice a day. Not sure how you can figure that with the one you have. Should be about a tablespoon. That's a good start. Stick to it and keep his eating times a consistent as possible. You should start to see results rather quickly.

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  17. Hi, Have you heard of giving omeprazole to treat ulcers? Can there be any side effects? Or do you prefer natural treatments, if my horses are getting soy bean is this as good as giving Lecithin or I still need to obtain lecithin? Looking forward to hearing from you.

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    1. Omeprazole is often the standard treatment prescribed to treat ulcers. It is a proton pump inhibitor which means it works by decreasing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Limiting the amount of acid the stomach produces can temporarily allow the ulcer to heal but this does not treat the cause of the ulcers. There are many causes such as improper feeding schedule, high stress environment, overwork, confinement and more which must be addressed or the ulcers will return.

      There can be long term side effects with this drug in which it can actually cause ulcerations because it changes the ph of the stomach lining causing damage to the protective mucosa. Other side effects are colic, anemia, and diarreha. Allergic reactions can be fatal, such as seizures, shock, coma, hives, and itchy skin.

      I prefer to treat the horse naturally by finding the cause and make positive changes in their lifestyle along with proper nutrition to allow the ulcers to heal. This is a safe and natural approach and offers healing of the whole horse.

      Soybean meal does have some lecitin in it but not in the concentrated amounts to provide relief. It is best to give lecithin.

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  18. Hi. I have a 6yr old tb. Pretty sure he has ulcers. He is very nervy and takes time to settle. I have put him on gastrocoat and has settled down and have seen huge changes. Im wondering what I can give him to neutralize the acid in his gut as the gastrocoat really on just lines the stomach. Also on the container it says its 93% psyillium. Is it worth just giving him plain psyillium? His ulcers really bother him and want to get them under control properly not just mask them.
    Thanks

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    1. Since you have been getting good results with the gastrocoat stick to that and add Lecithin granules. If he is under 16H he would need half a cup a day. Over 16h give half a cup twice a day. That should help calm him and heal the ulcers. Don't add anymore psyllium. Another important aspect to healing the ulcers is to not exercise him on an empty stomach. This will only aggravate the condition. You don't want to give him a full meal before working just something small, like a handful of alfalfa cubes or some grass hay. this will prevent the stomach acids from splashing on the upper part of the stomach and making it's way into the gut. If he is still having problems after being on the lecithin for 3 weeks, then add soaked flax seed. Give him half a cup a day soaked for 20 minutes in enough water to cover them. They will get thick and slimy. Pour them on top of cubes or grass pellets and give daily.

      Do not give him any grains or sweet feeds and snacks that are sweetened, this includes carrots and apples.

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  19. I have been looking everywhere for all natural ingredients to treat stomach and hindgut ulcers. My horse have stage 3 (out of 3) ulcers and my vet wants to put him on something called IGA. I'm not sure of what that is but I'd rather be safe and use natural ingredients. I just found out 3 weeks ago about all this and it has taken some time to get around the fact that I might lose my buddy to colic since that is an issue with ulcers. I will use you hints and get back to you on how its working in a few months. Thanks for posting this helpful info. If you have any other advice, please email me. isaddleup20@yahoo.com Thanks Brittany

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    1. Start giving him oat bran mashes asap. Also get flax seed, soak half a cup in water for at least 20 to 30 minutes until it gets slimy and poor over alfalfa or grass pellets or cubes. Add a little water to the pellets or cubes also.

      Once he starts to show improvement, you can stop the flax and switch to lecithin granules. Be sure he has hay 24/7. Don't feed him any sweet feeds. Give him the oat bran mash and the flax seed mix twice a day. Get him bio mos and yea-sacc. Both can be purchased from: http://www.oakcreeks.com/home/biomos-about.html Follow the recommended dosage for both and mix in with the oat bran and flax seed mix. Stay positive, there is hope for recovery.

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  20. I have an 8 yr old warmblood gelding that I attempt to train in dressage. I've had him for about one year. He now lives at our farmette where we have two paddocks that have mixed fescue and bermudagrass. He is out 24/7 with 2 miniature donkeys. He has a run in shed so that he can come and go as he pleases. He has hay in a bin in the shed that I replenish every am and pm (it is never left to run out)- the hay is orchard grass. I feed him 2 x day- 2 qts alfalfa pellets and 1 1/2 qts purina 10% pellet. I had been adding a handful of flax seed to his pellets but it made him really gassy so I stopped. He is in excellent weight and body condition. He eats all of his meals readily. He has awesome barefeet. I have a saddle that has been fitted specifically for him. The problem is when I ride him...he is agitated when I girth him up. He sometimes refuses to go forward- even at the trot. The right side is worse. If he picks up the wrong canter lead-it's always to the right side. (ie he will choose the left lead). When I lunge him, he is perfectly fine- sometimes he'll get "bronc-y" cantering to the right but it goes away. But when I get on he will balk, kick out and if I push him he will buck- majorly! He is not safe to ride. He has gotten increasingly nervous. The vet thinks it is not likley that he has ulcers bc of his lifestyle. I've ended up paying for hock injections and NSAID meds and mscle relaxers- but none of this ever made any difference. He's super tense when I ride him, pins his ears and gets really pissy. I've given him 1/2 cc - 1 cc Ace orally before riding a couple of times and he's much better on that- I can ride im w/t/c both ways w/o incident. I stopped giving that bc it's not a fix plus I can't show on it. What are your thoughts on this horse? I'm pretty frustrated!!!

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    1. I would suggest stopping the purina 10%, I believe that has grain by products and molasses in it. This will agitate the gut and cause him discomfort, making him gassy. I like everything else you are doing. I would suggest adding lecithin granules. If he is over 16 hands give him 1/2 cup twice a day. This not only helps soothe the gut but it calms the mind and helps him to relax.

      From what you have described I don't think ulcers are the problem. What this sounds like is girth pain syndrome. It can be caused by pain in the ribcage. Read my post on it. If a rib is out of alignment this can be very painful when he is girthed up putting pressure on the sensitive nerves around the wither area. If you have access to a good equine chiropractor this could be an option. If not then, find an acupuncturist. Chances are that if you touch him around his wither, shoulders and also near the pelvic sacroiliac joint he may show signs of sensitivity and want to kick out.

      Check his stifles, he could also have a loose stifle which he compensates through his back causing the ribcage to misalign. If he has ever slipped and fell or cast himself this too can cause some issues in this area.

      If it is girth pain syndrome, be sure not cinch the girth tight right away. Keep it one or two holes loose and then lunge him a few minutes and then go tighter with it once he is warmed up. Once his back is more warmed up he may respond better when sitting on him.

      The other area to look into is the bridle and the bit. Please read my post on the bitless bridle. I would suggest investing in Dr. Cook's and giving it a try. I have a dressage warmblood gelding who did very similar to what you are describing. He would not go forward and do a bucking bronco act if I insisted. I switched him to the bitless bridle and after a few days of lungeing him in it he improved tremedously. He rarely does the bronco act and only on occassion if I have not warmed him up enough before getting on he will not want to go forward.

      If it is girth pain syndrome, warm up is very important for him. To keep it safe I would suggest doing only groundwork and lungeing with him in the bitless bridle in an enclosed area like a round pen. In the smaller area he will be less inclined to act out. Because it has now become a learned behavior to get away from the discomfort and also out of working he will have to relearn that it is not acceptable.

      To do this, you can not allow him to do his bronco act and he must go forward. It can be controlled more in a roundpen. When you have consistent improvement in this way then you can try to get on him in the roundpen only.

      Keep him forward and lower in his frame. If you collect him too much there will be resistance because the tightness or discomfort is through his topline. It's important be light with your aids and try not to use spurs because this will agitate the condition. Get him responding politely to your leg aids.

      He must track straight. Crookedness is usually an issue with this type of symptoms. It is probably painful when bending right so he will get more resistant to avoid the pain. Strengthening exercises and stretching him to get him traveling straight so he can work through it should help him.

      You may be pleasantly surprised at the changes in him if you try the bitless bridle. The reason it works so well is that it frees up his back allowing him to move more comfortably. Get the lungeing strap attachment with it.

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    2. The other thing I would suggest is Lysine. This amino acid is very helpful with relaxing the topline muscles. Rapid Response is an excellent joint, muscle supplement that improves their mood by making them feel better all over, removing the aches and pains. This is well worth trying also. I have a post on Rapid response and Lysine and where to get it.

      Get a frictionless saddle pad. Horses with girth pain syndrome are highly sensitive to any friction in the saddle area. A good one is by Oglvy. Mary's tack has it: http://www.marystack.com/ogilvy-dressage-friction-free-pad.html

      Be sure not to ride him on an empty stomach, which it doesn't sound like is happening if he has hay all the time.

      I can relate to your frustration but there is hope for improvement. Don't give up on him. I think you can make some progress once some of these additions and changes are in place. Let me know how it goes or if you have any other questions. Don't rush it. It can take some time to resolve.

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  21. I had to post my response in two replies, read both posts below

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  22. How do you feel about feeding Papaya?

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  23. Papaya is beneficial because of the digestive enzymes in it and can soothe the stomach but it is very sweet so I don't recommend it as an ulcer remedy.

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  24. I am currently fostering a 16 yr off the track thoroughbred for the past 3 months who has had a history of poor condition and being very underweight ( 2 out of 9). The horse was kept on pasture some lush some not for the past 2 1/2 years prior to coming to my house. He had dropped weight a year ago and underwent a refeeding program with another foster using purina senrior and probiotic and did put on weight but no top line but then dropped all of the weight over the course of the winter when on pasture only. When he came to me he was approx 300 lbs under weight with a multitude of other medical issues, ulceration on the eye, sores that did not heal, rain rot, very poor teeth, very poor top line, skin problems and an old swollen knee. Although he eats his grain aggressively, even licked the mats he would stand with his hind legs so close together that he would step on his own hooves while he was constantly shifting his weight. In addition, he was slow to eat his hay and spent a majority of his time in the field head tossing and touching his chest with his nose. I suspected ulcers and the blood work seemed to confirm this as well as showing other signs of malnutrition. He has very low protein levels, high muscle enzymes, and trace mineral levels that are out of specks. We began re feeding him with a high fiber, high fat grain along with 25 pounds of 2nd cut no steam grass hay and 14 hours of lush pasture time. We started very slow with the grain beginning with .75 pounds a day and now up to 10 pounds per day. His blood levels were taken every 2 weeks and he continued to drop protein levels even though he put on 100 pounds over the next month and his mood improved but behaviors continued . We began treatment of gastroguard (generic) and gastrafate (Like succlifate) for the past 6 weeks and he improved in his behavior and began to put weight on the top line. We slowly reduced all meds to avoid rebound but after a week of being off of them he began to show signs of discomfort again ie hind leg position and not grazing, placing his hind end on his bucket and trees without rubbing. About a week ago I began giving slipperly elm root ( 2 tsp 2 x per day) along with 2 oz of aloe juice 2x per day. I have now doubled the aloe juice. He did seem better for a day of 2 and does better when it is giving at least 1 hour prior to a meal but I still think he is starting to decline as he is not interested in grazing today. He is currently out 24 hours and only comes in for meal times. Over the course of the past three weeks he has also suffered an episode of choke from a biscuit style horse treat and the vet felt there was some previous insult to the esophagus; he has recovered nicely but I have observed fluid coming from his nose after eating. As we have dealt with the ulcers with meds we have also needed to give antibiotics for this and a skin infection that would not resolve. He has not been on bute or banamine for over 30 days but was initially given at high dose to address eye pain now he is on a normal does of equioxx and he has not had any antiboitics for the past 2 1/2 weekd. The last lab done 1 month ago showed improvement in the protein level to just making inside the normal level but this was taking when he was still being treated and prior to antibotics being given. I am interested in addressing this abdominal pain, lack of muscle/low protein levels, skin issues as well as continue to re-feed him the calories he needs. He is a big boy, 18 hands and am concerned about not feeding any concentrates at all. My vet recommends that we continue to increase his grain but I am looking for another way .Please help I am dedicated to save this boy

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    1. This is challenging but I think you can make some good progress with him by making some changes to his diet. First I need to know, What type of grain are you feeding? you mentioned high fiber/high fat. I need to know what it is. What type of hay are you feeding? Is he still on any meds? Is he still getting the aloe and slippery elm? Is he fed twice a day and the rest of the time out in pasture? Any other supplements that he is getting?

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  25. Hi. I want to try pumkin seeds for my mare but i have afew question.should i feed her the seeds with the shell? How long should i feed them her for? It no problem to make it apart of her daily diet.

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    1. Feed pumpkin seeds with no shell. She can be fed them indefinitely. They are very nutritious and good for them.

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    2. Thanks! I Was curious in your opinion if i try feeding her the seeds and give her some oat bran b4 i work her. It's that a good start to try to relive the hind gut discomfort? Our should i try another one of your suggestions first?thank you for all your advice!

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    3. That is a good start. It may be enough to help. Be sure to add water to the oat bran.

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  26. Hi Wingedwolf, Your advice is brilliant thank you! Sadly I am in the UK and sourcing some of the things you suggest is a touch problematic!
    I have a 16hh 18 year old Trakehner mare, I have owned her for just under 8 years, she was diagnosed with stomach ulcers about 7 years ago, she cribs and has always been a fussy eater and hates to be touched anywhere from the neck back! Her nickname at the barn is Princess Brat! She is not ridden at the moment we go walking on long lines and are generally building her muscle strength up after having 4 babies. She is a fantastic mother and still has her last son who is 18 months old as her stable and field buddy! He is weaned before you ask that
    Apart from when she was at stud (4 years) she has been fed a sugar starch and cereal free diet. Mainly hi fibre Lucerne and grass nuts with micronized linseed (I believe you call this flax seed) a mix called Healthy Tummy made by Dengie horse feeds (she has completely gone off this at the moment) The nuts and linseed I get from Simple System Horse feeds. I add Chamomile, Fenugreek, Fennel, Seaweed, Spearmint and Brewer’s Yeast to this. She has adlib hay which is a mix of rye meadow and timothy grasses, when in her stable. They have 3 acres of pasture that she shares with her son, the pasture grass is a mix of meadow, timothy and rye grasses (The hay comes from the pastures) her stomach ulcers have been quiet for years now and I put her attitude down to habit.
    She is a very fussy eater in the sense that she will eat her forage or bucket meals for a few days/weeks/months then suddenly go meh not eating that anymore it’s boring! I have to resort to feeding her Haylage at those times as it is literally the only thing she will eat but not good at all for her already compromised stomach health! She does actually starve herself picks at things but eats no more than a couple of kg in total a day I weigh everything that goes in and out of her stable. I have resorted to syringing linseed oil into her mouth before just to get some calories in her she is that bad! Needless to say if I don’t give in and feed the Haylage I get a vet bill for colic instead…………..Rock and a Hard Place!
    A couple of days ago I noticed a small amount of blood and around her droppings, not a lot but combined with her refusal to eat right now and hard droppings due to this! I thought that was the cause. Larger amounts in the bed yesterday morning so called the vet out! She has been diagnosed with hind gut ulcers not a surprise but a blow anyway. The evidence of the blood her history and general behaviour the vet is very sure it is what we are dealing with and has put her on Succeed Digestive Conditioning!
    What would you suggest removing or adding without compromising the Succeed or her health to try and ease her a bit more or help things along? The Lecithin granules might be a problem as I cannot seem to find a bulk supplier in the UK, largest amount I can source at the moment is 500g :-/
    Many thanks
    Leasa
    Email:- leasadane@hotmail.com

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    1. thanks for history on your horse. As I was reading my first thought was that she needed succeed and then as i read further your vet put he on this so I am happy hear this. I think she will start to feel better on this. I think Lecithin would make a good addition if you can get it. bulkfoods.com will ship to you. worth checking into. They have good shipping rates. here is the link to their lecithin. http://www.bulkfoods.com/health-foods/4297-lecithin-granules.html. If you can't get that then stick to the micronized linseed. Increase the dosage and add warm water to it to make it into a mash this will help release the healing oils. If you feed her cubes or pelleted hay add water to them and you can mix the linseed with it. If you can get cabbage powder I would suggest adding at least 2 tbs twice a day to the mix. I think you are on the right track and I like the regime you have her on.

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    2. I already soak the Linseed in warm water for around 20mins to get the oils out and all her feeds are made into a mash. I am looking for a supplier for the cabbage powder and will look at your link for the Lecithin. Thank you so much it is nice to have someone back up what I already think she needs. At the moment she is inhaling the Succeed so fingers crossed it is something she will continue to eat without a fuss!

      Many thanks for your speedy reply

      Leasa

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  27. My horse is girthy and sore in his back and has tight hamstrings. He kicks up at his tummy at times and if I rub my hand down where his girth lies he kicks out and attepmts to bite me. He has an area on his back that is very warm to touch. Vet said could be ulcers or bad back or both. Reluctant to scope as he would find the starving period before hand very distressing. Have others experienced sore backs secondary to ulcers? What do people suggest to start him on feed wise? He is currently having alfa a oil linseed oil topspec joint balancer and hay. Gets turned out minimum 4 hours daily. Any help and advice much appreciated. Thanks

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  28. Sounds like ulcers. Yes I have seen sore backs with ulcers because the discomfort and pain in the abdomen causes them to tighten the back muscles. Based on the symptoms you described he is probably in a lot of pain from them. Be sure he has grass hay 24/7. Use a hay bag or slow feeder if he is stalled. What is the name of your joint balancer? Some of the joint supplements can aggrevate ulcers. The alfafa is okay and the linseed oil.

    I would suggest adding one cup of lecithin divided into 2 doses of half a cup each. You can get the lecithin granules from bulkfoods.com.

    In addition I would also suggest 1/2 cup oat bran mixed with water twice a day. This can be added on top of cubes or pellets. You can get oat bran from a local health food store that carries bulk food items. this can all be top dressed with the lecithin.

    Last thing I would recommend to this mix is a product called Ul-cerase. It can purchased at : http://www.abcplus.biz/abc2.aspx?Id=Equine_Specialty_Ul-Cerase this is a combination of herbs that help to heal the gut.

    These products have worked on some tough cases. It is a good place to start.

    Stay away from any feeds or supplements that contain molasses or sweeteners. Stay away from grain. Check your saddle fit. this can be contributing to the issue.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helps him!

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  29. Thanks for your reply. When you say half a cup do you mean normal size drinking cup for a human? Im from the uk so not sure if bulk foods supply to uk? Is it the same as soya lecithin? Thats whats coming up when I google it. Does it come in powder form or granule form? Thanks again for your help. Rachael

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    1. yes, half cup which would be 4 ounces. Bulkfoods.com does ship to you but not sure if it is cost effective. Yes it is the same as soya lecitthin and is in a granule form.

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  30. I just found your site.....Thank you for all the information. I have a quarter horse mare that I have been dealing with ulcers for over a year. Plan to try many of your suggestions. Thanks again!!!

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  31. I have a new horse that developed ulcers-colicky at meals, girthy (more irritable for the saddle pad and saddle going on than the girth; saddle fit has been checked by vet and saddle fitter)-and responded immediately to Gastrogard. We did 4 weeks of treatment and 2 weeks tapering off to find the ulcer-y girthiness coming back about 4 weeks later. I started him on generic omeprazole, increased his bermuda grass hay to 24/7 in a slow feed haynet, added 1/2 flake alfalfa 2x per day, reduced his grain to zero and added a small amount of beet pulp, a mineral pellet and changed his powdered biotin supplement to a pelleted one. In trying to taper off the omeprazole after 6 weeks, he is getting girthy again. I have him back on omeprazole and need to find what I can add so I can get him off the medication long term. I stopped his mineral pellets, beet pulp and biotin supplement in case they were causing him any trouble. He is very picky so whatever I give him has to be palatable with soaked alfalfa cubes. He's been eating 1tbsp slippery elm in his soaked alfalfa cubes for about a month. What do you think is the highest priority to add? It seems like my reading comes up frequently with pumpkin seeds and dried cabbage with oat flour if hindgut ulcers are suspected, which I have no idea if he has.

    Thanks for your help!

    Rae

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    1. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor which means it works by decreasing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Limiting the amount of acid the stomach produces can temporarily allow the ulcer to heal but this does not treat the cause of the ulcers. This is probably why you got results for a short while and then the symptoms returned.

      Pumpkin seeds, oat flour and cabbage are a good addition and help with healing the gut. Based on what you have said adding 1/2 cup of lecithin granules twice a day will give quicker and long term results. Nothing wrong with doing the pumpkin seeds, cabbage and oat flour with the lecithin.

      Stop the omeprazole as soon as possible. Since he has been on the medications it would also be a good idea to add Bio Mos and Yeasacc for at least one month to help re-establish the intestinal flora.

      You said you stopped the beet pulp. Good, keep him off of it. Keep up the slippery elm. If he lives in a box stall be sure he has plenty of turn out time.

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  32. Thanks so much for the help! I've been overwhelmed dealing with this an appreciate you opinion. I hear you saying there is nothing wrong with the pumpkin seeds, cabbage and oat flour but do you think they are necessary? I have one opportunity per day to give him supplements with soaked alfalfa cubes and he is picky so the less I have to put in the better. I'll start the lecithin for long-term and look into the Bio Mos or Yeasacc to add for a shorter period. Do I need the others?

    Rae

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    1. If you have to start with one, then I would go with the lecithin. If he needs something more than you can add the pumpkin seeds, cabbage and oat flour. You can get the bio mos and yeasacc from Oak creek services: http://horsesupplementsstore.com/

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    2. I started the lecithin Tuesday with a 1/4 cup in the evening and increased a little each day to 1/2 cup yesterday. He produced a manure pile after we rode last night and it was more pungent-smelling than it's been before. Would that be related to the lecithin?

      Thanks again for your help!
      Rae

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    3. It should not do that. I have not heard of any issues with it like that. Let me know if it continues.

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    4. Just wanted to give you a quick update. My horse seems to be doing fine at the moment. (fingers crossed since he's had some colics along the way with the ulcers and omeprazole). I haven't had him poop while I'm tacking or untacking him again so I don't know if the smell has continued and in hindsight, he hadn't pooped around me for a couple of weeks prior to starting the lecithin so it might not have been related at all. He's only willing to eat about 1/3 cup of lecithin and I can only give it once per day. He is still getting 1tbsp slippery elm, 1 scoop of his BioMeth hoof supplement (2 scoops is the regular dose but he'll only eat 1) and alfalfa 3x a day and before riding plus bermuda hay.

      I've started weaning him off the omeprazole by slowly decreasing with a schedule I read people use when having a hard time getting off the drug; alternating a reduced dose with the current dose for 1 week, then the reduced dose for 1 week, then another dose reduction alternated with the new current dose for one week then the reduced dose for one week. With the dose reduction I noticed an increase in him being gassy, which makes me want to go slow with the titration since he got really gassy when I reduced the dose mid-December then coliced a couple weeks later (I'd also added SmartHoof, which has "good" yeast and bacteria so I don't know if the two together is what caused gas and the colic, or something entirely different).

      I don't own the horse and am taking care of him for a friend and she really doesn't want me to add anything else (or change anything) to his diet for a few months.

      I changed his turnout from a paddock to a large field and he's really enjoying being out there and running around more so maybe he wasn't moving around enough in the paddock.

      I'll let you know how it goes getting him weaned off the omeprazole. Thanks again for your help!

      Rae

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    5. thanks for the update. It sounds like you're moving in the right direction. If you can get him up to 1/2 of lecithin once a day that would be good. The hoof supplements are fine, I don't think they should cause the gas. The best thing for gas is peppermint oil or peppermint dried herb added to the feed. There is a product called stop colic that has peppermint oil in it and is effective. http://stopscolic.com/ You are taking the right approach in weaning him off the omeprazole. It would be a good idea to have the stopcolic on hand. As a preventive you might want to add dried peppermint to his feed.

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    6. Would it be better to feed the dried peppermint (if so how much?) or make a tea? I could use the tea with the water I soak his alfalfa cubes in.

      Thanks for the help. I'll keep the digestive supplements in mind for when the owner is more comfortable with me adding to his diet. I think the peppermint won't cause her any concern.

      Rae

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    7. Tea is a good idea but you need to use about 24 -32 ounces. You could use this in place of the water you are soaking the cubes in. If you do the dried he would need 1/2 cup at each feeding.

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    8. Just wanted to give you another update. I reduced my horse's omprazole further so he's now in 1/2 the maintenance dose, which is 1/4 the treatment dose. I added in the dried peppermint, 1/2 cup, with this dose reduction from 3/4 to 1/2 the maintenance dose, and he's not been as gassy. Thanks for the help!

      Rae

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    9. Another update and question. My horse is now off omeprazole. I've noticed his gassiness has subsided so I am trying to go without the peppermint. He is still getting 1/2 cup lecithin and 1 tbsp slippery elm bark powder each day with his alfalfa cubes plus a half dose (all he'll eat) of BioMeth hoof supplement. I want to try BioFlax for his hooves but fear changing anything right now and it has yeast in it I think which concerns me with his gassy issues this year. For how long should I keep up the lecithin and slippery elm and is there anything else I should add as a preventative? He has free choice hay in a slow feed haynet, 1/2 flake alfalfa 3x per day and the soaked alfalfa cubes I feed once per day.

      Thanks for your help!

      Rae

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    10. Stick to what you are doing. Don't add the bioflax yet. He can stay on the lecithin and slippery elm indefinately. If you want to eliminate one of them, it would be slippery elm. He will need to stay on the lecithin for about 6 months to establish a good gut mucosus. If after that time he still doing well you can decrease the amount and continue to decrease as long as his symptoms do not return.

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    11. Good to know how long I need to give the lecithin and also that I can keep giving it. I stopped the 1/2 cup peppermint but he's gotten gassy again this week. I started it back tonight. Is this something he'll also need long term? He wasn't gassy before the uclers or when he first developed them. He also wasn't gassy on omeprazole until I started reducing his dose. He's been off omeprazole for almost 3 weeks.

      Thanks again!
      Rae

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    12. Keep him on the peppermint for about 6 months so his gut can return to normal. Since he is prone to colic this will help. There could be something in one of the supplements that can be causing this or his intestinal flora needs to get re-established. If it continues you could add the biomos and yeassacc. this may help to reestablish the beneficial flora and aid in digestion.

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    13. He was on the slippery elm for a few months without being gassy and he was already gassy when he started the lecithin. He was on the BioMeth for a year. So I don't think anything I am giving him is likely the cause, unless in combination they are causing a problem. I will keep him on the peppermint and talk to his owner about adding biomos and yeassacc. The vet told me he is not comfortable that he is not on a vitamin/mineral supplement since all he eats is coastal hay and alfalfa. Do you have one you'd recommend?

      Rae

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    14. Horse Tech makes a daily vitamin/mineral supplement to balance out a grass or alfalfa diet. It is called high point grass or high point alfalfa. He the majority of his diet is grass and less alfalfa then go with the high point grass.
      http://horsetech.com/high-point-grass.html

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    15. Sorry for all the questions! Why would I need to feed both Biomos and Yeasacc when they look to have the same ingredient? Would I still need those with the High Point Grass, which also looks to have digestive aids? Will any of these exacerbate his gassiness?

      Thanks so much!

      Rae

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    16. no problem. the digestive aids in most supplements are not concentrated enough to offer a therapeutic dose. they are mostly for maintenance. the difference between bio mos and yeas sacc is that bio mos is pre biotic and yeassacc is a pro biotic these are different types of digestive flora that replenish and rebalance the intestinal tract. it is inexpensive and they both work synergistically. they should help eliminate the gassiness.

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    17. Ok thanks for clarifying. A couple more questions.

      I don't want to change too much at once. I am guessing you'd prioritize the yeasacc and biomos over the high point grass. At what point would you think the high point needs to be added? He's been on hay only since November of 2013.

      Previously you suggested giving him the yeasacc and biomos for a month. It looks like those are good to give in times of stress too and I know he often colics when he's dewormed. I was advised to give him Equioxx the day before, day of, and day after deworming but maybe the biomos and yeasacc would be better. For how many days should I give it before and after deworming and should I not give the Equioxx?

      Thanks again!
      Rae

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    18. Yes, biomos and yeassacc needs to be given in order to normalize the gut. The high point grass can wait. Since you want to make additions to his diet slowly it would be best to wait at least 3 months of him being on biomos and yeasssacc before adding the highpoint grass. that will allow enough time for his gut to heal.

      Stop the equioxx. This can cause him problems. If he is on the biomos and yeassacc on a regular basis then you can increase the dosage 2 days before worming and continue 2 days after worming and then drop back to the regular dosage.

      On the biomos, he will need more than the recommended dosage until he gets improvement. He may need a tablespoon twice a day and then reduce as his symptoms improve. The dosage recommended is a maintenance dose. since he has some issues to resolve you can give up to 2X the recommended dosage of both the biomos and the yeassacc as a therapeutic dose.

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    19. Update on my horse and a question on the vitamin/mineral supplement. He's doing well (knock on wood). He's on the yeasacc, biomos, soy lecithin, dried peppermint (down to 1/8 cup and very little gassiness), BioMeth biotin (but only 1/2 dose because he won't eat more) and I just recently added the High Point grass supplement. He is picky and I can't seem to get him to eat more than 3/4 scoop of the High Point and he supposed to get 2 scoops. His feet have really broken up in the last 203 months, are very bad now-farrier had to use filler-and I wonder if it's because he's not gotten anything but hay, alfalfa and the limited supplements listed above since December. I have some StayStrong mineral pellets that he was willing to eat last year. I had started those after stopping the grain but then stopped those when I was still having colic issues, reducing him on the minimum "stuff" absolutely necessary. What do you think about adding a 1/2 cup of the mineral pellets (he was getting 1 cup last year) to the High Point? I really can't give him anything twice a day so the amount of High Point he will eat at one time is all I can do. I soak alfalfa cubes and mix everything in and the staff won't do that for me to get it done twice a day. I know the mineral pellets have extra stuff he doesn't need but maybe that is still preferable to not getting enough vitamins and minerals? I also have BioFlax I could give but you'd suggested holding off on trading that for the BioMeth. I was hoping it would be more palatable, allowing me to get him the full dose of the supplement, and doesn't have as much "stuff" as a lot of the biotin supplements.

      Thanks for your help!
      Rae

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    20. What he is on now should not cause his hooves to break up. There could be something else going on. Is he shod or is he barefoot? That can make a big difference. The StayStrong Minerals should be okay to add but do a little at a time since he is prone to colic. He seems to be getting a balanced diet so I don't think that is why his hooves are a problem. What is the footing like that he lives in the most? Is it sand, dirt, grass and is it wet or dry? If he is shod I would suspect that is the problem. If not then we can look at other causes. I will explain more once I hear back from you as to whether or not he is shod.

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    21. He is shod. His owner had a lot of trouble keeping shoes on him and tried to go barefoot all around for about 6 months. He came to me with shoes in front and barefoot behind. He is 17h and 1400lb and his hind feet were so short! The walls were all broken and jagged around the outside and he was bearing most of the weight on his frog, which had gotten oversized. Not at all like the two horses I ride that are barefoot and have good, strong feet that look like a regular hoof, just not with shoes.

      The ground is very dry here. He is ridden in a sand arena and turned out in a grass field, but the ground in the field is very hard most of the year. His stall is rubber mat bedded with shavings. I discovered this spring he was peeing in one spot in his stall and the staff was not doing a good job of cleaning so that is now remedied with better stall cleaning and me cleaning in the evening as well. I was putting Keratex Hoof Hardener on the outside of his hooves 1 or 2x per week and that helped at first. His walls did not peel away or break up below the nails near the end of the shoeing cycle. That was in the winter. Now that it is summer the breaking up is worse. I rarely get his feet wet, which helps but not enough anymore. I have a new farrier; the old one was able to nail higher into the stronger wall without quicking him. I think the new farrier, while good, is not able to to what the old one did. But aside from the farrier change, something has gotten worse in the last 2-3 months.

      Rae

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    22. It's been proven that shoes impair circulation to the hoof within one hour. Thermal testing was done showing a hoof without a shoe and then the same hoof with the shoe and the circulation was affected dramatically. Your horse has a good diet. It sounds like the shoes are the problem.

      I worked on a case in which a horse had a similar problem with his feet constantly breaking up and very weak hoof walls. Once the owner removed the shoes and we got the hoof balanced properly within a few months the hoof wall so was so strong and thick it was quite a transformation. Yet the farrier kept insisting that the horse needed shoes because the hoof walls were so thin and weak. They were practically crumbling apart. His diet was not changed only removed the shoes. He grew a hoof wall that was almost a 1/4" thick! Before removing the shoes the hoof wall was about 1/16 of an inch. The farrier can keep fixing it but it is not treating the problem, just like putting a bandaid on it for a quick fix. What I would recommend is finding a trimmer that specializes in bare hooves trimming and have a consultation with them. It can be quite informative. If you can send me some photos of his hooves, all 4, take a lateral (side) view on each one and then take a shot while holding his hoof up and looking down at the sole. I can make a better assessment of it that way.

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  33. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have found your site! There is such a huge amount of information here that I think will help me with my new horse.

    Nick is a 12 year old Appaloosa gelding. He was given to me in October, 2013. He has been a show horse for many years and a lesson horse. Great guy but I immediately noticed some things about him that were not "just" right.

    First, he is very touchy on his sides. I suspect that is why when ridden he tends to be antsy. Grooming him brings on pinned back ears and kicking at me with his hind legs. His sides are often damp from what I assume is him chewing at them.

    The good thing is that he eats very well so I don't think it's gastric but am definitely leaning toward hind gut.

    Prior to each of his meals I give him a couple of pounds of Lucerne Farms chopped alfalfa without the molasses. Lucerne Farms operates a facility about 10 minutes from my home and puts this up special for me. He also gets a huge bucket of this at night when I tuck him in.

    He is fed 2 cups of soaked molasses free beet pulp twice a day along with 2 cups of timothy & alfalfa pellets mixed in. I add 1 tablespoon of table salt, Vitamin E and Selenium and his Grand Digest. He gets this twice per day along with all of the timothy hay that he will eat.

    I just started the Grand Digest yesterday so perhaps I will see some results from that but wondered if you might have something that you would add to this mix. Would the oat bran be better for him than the beet pulp?

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    1. It does sound like it could be hindgut. I would suggest stopping the beet pulp and add 1/2 cup of oat bran instead. Be sure to wet the mix. Add enough water and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes until the pellets absorb some of the water. make sure the pellets you are feeding do not have molasses in it.

      I'm not crazy about Grand Digest but use it up and then if he is still having the same issues after adding the oat bran and finishing the grand digest, I would add 1/2 cup of lecithin granules twice a day. If you can get free choice minerals to offer him that would be good especially copper to see if he eats it. Don't force feed it.

      Be sure he has plenty of turnout time and exercise. Don't exercise him on an empty stomach. Give him a cup of pellets with some oat bran, add water to it, before riding. Or give him 1/2 cup of oat bran with water to make a mash before riding or exercising him.

      Hope it helps him.

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  34. I live in very Northern Maine so there is no grass right now but his turnout is good and he has access to a beautiful round bale at all time. It's been really cold the last week or so so he's only getting out a few hours per day but I guess that's better than not getting out at all.

    I do feed him Blue Seal's Min A Vit...forgot that part. He gets an ounce each feeding and 2 ounces of Omegahorseshine each feeding as well.

    He gets nothing with molasses in it at all. I will pick up some oat bran today and start him on it in the AM. My pellets are made by Standlee and the ingredients are just sun dried timothy and alfalfa.

    I won't be riding until April so hopefully he'll get some time to heal up between now and then. I will make sure to feed him something prior to riding and trailering though.

    What about apple cider vinegar? How does it affect the hind gut? When I got him he was having difficulty peeing. My old racehorse trainer used to put some ACV in the horses water buckets to change the pH so I've been doing the same...about 1/4 cup at a time. His urine does seem to me more normal looking...not so dark and concentrated but he still pees often.

    Joy

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    1. Blue Seal minerals has molasses in it. So stop using that one. For free choice minerals I like Advanced biological concepts free choice system. There website: http://www.abcplus.biz/home1.aspx?Id=Equine

      I like the Omega Shine. I would increase it to 3 ounces each feeding. I like Standlee pellets. These are good ones.

      Be sure the apple cider vinegar you are using is Braggs raw unpasturized. It is the only one that is effective. Much of the apple cider vinegar sold in the grocery stores has either apple flavor and is white distilled or may be ACV but it is pasturized. When they do this it takes out all the beneficial enzymes which are what helps the gut. I"m surprised he drinks the water with it in it. That's great.

      To help the peeing issue there is a good herbal kidney support that may help by silver lining herbs. http://www.silverliningherbs.com/store/products/37_Kidney_Support-2-1.html
      I would suggest starting him on this as well.

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  35. I started the oat bran last night and he LOVES it. I picked up some lovely organic stuff at our health food store. Smells good enough for ME to eat..:).

    I'm definitely using the Bragg's ACV for him. I don't use anything else for myself so that's what he gets too...:). He has no issue with it in his water and drinks A LOT.

    I will stop the Min A Vit and will check into the two products that you have suggested re: Vitamins and kidney support.

    I'm curious as to why not to use beet pulp? Is there still sugar in it? Harder for him to digest maybe? I feed it to my other three horses who do not have any issues along with oats and the timothy/alfalfa pellets....just want to make sure it's ok for them too. I buy Poulin's beet pulp without molasses and added soy oil. They love it and it's a great way to fill their bellies before I put them out into the cold in the morning.

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    1. Beet pulp may be harder for him to digest and cause fermentation and excess gas in the hind gut. I want to see how he does if you stop it and switched to the oat bran which is more soothing to the hind gut. For some horses, beet pulp does not agree with them. At this point you want to eliminate anything that could be causing gut irritation and digestive issues.

      For your other horses you might want to stop the soy oil. It is very difficult for horses to digest and is high in the wrong fatty acids. A better alternative is flax oil. Platinum Performance has a gallon of it for horses that is good quality, cold pressed. http://www.platinumperformance.com/Equine-Healthy-Weight0153/productinfo/EHEAL1/

      Flax oil has a good ratio of Omega 3 to 6. You want more Omega 3's which are anti-inflammatory fatty acids that benefit your horse.

      Glad to hear you are using Braggs!!

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  36. I think I'm going to switch his pellets to straight timothy instead of the timothy/alfalfa. He's acting a big more FRESH than usual. I will continue with the Lucerne alfalfa in small amounts prior to meals and at bed check.

    I am worried about him dropping weight though. Would the pumpkin seeds help with that?

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    1. He should be fine unless he is a hard keeper. The pumpkin seeds won't keep the weight up. Best is to use the flax oil from platinum performance or coconut oil in the form of powerstance which is powdered so it doesn't freeze. Both work very well at keeping weight on and also supplying the needed essential fatty acids and help soothe the hind gut.

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  37. He is a hard keeper...at least right now anyway. Sometimes it looks like he drops weight overnight. So....I will look into the flax or coconut oil for him and will adjust accordingly.

    He seems to be biting at his sides less and less so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

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  38. That would make sense as most horses with hindgut ulcers can be hard keepers. Of the two oils the coconunt oil will probably increase the weight faster and keep him more stable. Either one is good if on is more cost effective for you.

    That is good news to hear that he is biting at his sides less!! Great. Let's hope he continues to improve.

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    1. We're still plugging along. Nick is still a bit uncomfortable about being brushed but not as bothered as in the past. It may be my imagination but his belly seems to not be as "tucked up" looking as before. Maybe he's more comfortable now so he's not as guarded? I will keep watching.

      He also seems to be holding his weight right now as well with the diet that he's on. I stepped the Omega Horseshine up to the 3 oz. per feeding so perhaps that is helping. He's eating well and looks pretty happy. I will research the minerals this week and get him going on those too.

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    2. It takes time to for all of the symptoms to go away. You are getting some results already so that is great. One of the first things you will notice is the belly not looking so tucked up. This is a positive thing meaning what you are giving him is starting to work.

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    3. Ok.....trying to wrap my mind around all of this and be ready for the next step.

      Do I need to be feeding all of the ingredients above (lecithin granules, cabbage powder, fenugreek, biomos, Yesaac, etc.) along with the oat bran? And quit the Grand Digest? Or would Succeed take care of all of the above?

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    4. No you don't need to feed all of them. Each horse has different needs, sometimes what works for one doesn't work for the other. In most cases I have found the lecithin and the oat bran to always work. Succeed is a great product a but pricey but it does give results. If you wanted to feed succeed you would not need to do the oat bran or the lecithin. Just use succeed and see how he does. I have had worked with several horses in the past in which succeed did not help them but then I have also seen some great results with it also.

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    5. Ok. I'm continuing with the oat bran. We had a little set back and Nick started chewing at his sides again. It was so bitter cold here last week and the horses ended up in the barn for almost 2 straight days. I'm thinking that may have set things back a bit.

      I did add some pumpkin seeds to his mix, 2 ounces per feeding. They are high in fat, supposed to help with healing so I didn't think it would hurt anything.

      I am going to order the Bio-Mos and Yea-Sacc today and am toying with this product http://www.vitaminseaseaweed.com/seanutrients-for-horses-overall-health/ for his minerals. I used to feed this years ago to my racehorses and they loved it.....always looked great on it too.

      What do you think?

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    6. Sounds good. The seanutrients are a good idea. that one is just kelp. There is a better one that is called Source micronutrients. It is a combination of several different types of seaweed. This is a good addition to provide the needed minerals. http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=30e06fbe-7b6a-11d5-a192-00b0d0204ae5

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    7. The Source is on it's way and I dare say that I am seeing some progress here. His manure is finally starting to look "normal". Not too soft, not too hard and actually shaped like a ball like the other horses. I'm not seeing the chewing toward his flank like before and the desire to kick me when grooming is GONE! :) Thanks so much for all of your help.

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    8. Update: All is well right now with Nick. I ditched the Grand Digest and started him on Smart Digest Ultra. WOW! What a difference that made. He is currently eating Blue Seal's Sentinel L/S, his supplement and Lucerne Farms Chris Cox Forage Blend and seems very content. Very minimal grouchiness right now....MUCH better than before so I'm hoping that with time everything will continue to get better. :)

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  39. This is great information! My story - my horse got very ill - almost two years ago; wouldn't eat or drink, didn't have normal colic signs and urine was very dark in color??? Spent a full day at vets - many tests, flushed with several bags of fluids, etc. Nothing specific every diagnosed. Brought him home; I was sure he was going to die! Someone suggested he might have ulcers - tried Omeprazole and he was eating within 24 hours. Vet thinks ulcers might have been secondary to something else - poison plant in pasture??? No idea? I kept him on a maintenance dose of Omeprazole for several months - no ulcer problems when I took him off. We feed Bermuda and kept feeding that but removed all grain - currently feeding him a mixture of Standlee Alfalfa pellets and Purina Ultium and Healthy Coat Oil (Soy/Flax Oil containing Lecithin, etc.) and antacids. I tried Standlee Beet Pulp but he doesn't eat it well. I just ordered Lecithin and Powerstance based on your blog. I'm sure you're going to suggest I remove the Ultium but he hasn't had another incident and needs calories - he's a hard keeper. Also, I give him Omeprazole every time I worm him or if he needs Bute or Banamine for other issues. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    1. That is quite an ordeal. Glad your horse got through it. As I'm reading your post and I got the part where you said I am probably going to tell you stop the Ultium, well you are right! I think once you start him on the lecithin and powerstance, he will keep his weight on because his gut is going to start healing. There are too many ingredients in Ultium that causes hindgut acidosis which could cause him to have problems keeping weight on besides ulcers.

      Be sure he has Bermuda or Timothy hay throughout the day. If you can try to stop the antacids gradually also so his gut can start healing. You should not have to give him omeprazole each time your worm him. He needs to get the intestinal flora balanced so i would also suggest adding to his regime BioMos and YeaSacc. You can get this from Barbara at oak Creek Services. Her link: http://horsesupplementsstore.com/

      Whenever you worm him, you want to make sure he has the biomos and yeasacc. Any type of medication can cause the gut flora to get out of balance. It's important for the immune system to control inflammation to keep this normalized.

      Also read my post on Bute, posted under December 2010. This can give him ulcers. If you were giving him bute before his illness this could have brought it on causings kidneys to have difficulty.

      Hope you get some great results!

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  40. Thank you. Sorry, I forgot to mention I do keep him on a Probiotic. I get it from Valley Vet - (Brookside Command Probiotic Supreme). It also has vitamins that I thought he might need?? I assume you still think I need to replace with the BioMos and YeaSacc? And I was NOT giving him Bute before he became ill. He was normal that morning and when I went to feed in the evening, he was down (we bring our horses in twice daily year round). It was summer and he was on pasture at the time but we were having a bit of a drought. That's why we think he may have eaten something toxic that he normally wouldn't have??? Once he became ill, we did give him Banamine. That's most likely why the Vet thinks ulcers were probably secondary?? Obviously, I never want to go through that again, but because he hasn't had anymore incidents, I don't want to overdo it either. Thanks again.

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    1. Command Probiotic is good but he will still need the biomos and yeasacc. It is different bacteria. I'm happy to hear he was not getting bute at that time. Thanks for clarifying that.

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  41. Hi I have a 13yr old gelding that has coliced twice in 3 months. If he eats very much hay he gets a sore belly and will kick if I touch him. He's also been very sore in his withers and girth area. I've been trying everything and Im so frustrated that I can't seem to help him. I asked the vet if he could have ulcers and he just said no because he's eating good. I just don't know what else it could be and wondered what u thought. Thank you in advance

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  42. Give half cup lecithin and only grass hay some alfalfa is ok. If you get improvement then it probably is hind gut

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  43. Hi I have a 15 yr old Arab cross who was diagnosed with Grade 1 ulcers about 2 months ago for the second time in two years. His temperment has improved a lot on Gastrogard which I am reducing and he is on a quarter dose now. He was on 24/7 hay until the vet said he is too fat and he went onto a reduced amount of hay that is now soaked. As he is at livery its difficult to know exactly but I think he only has a couple of breaks without hay and he is out most of the day in his paddock which has a little grass. I have just started riding him again after a break so that will help his weight, but he does still have a gassy stomach and can still be really grumpy in the arena. I have him on twice daily doses of Equine America Ulser Gard liquid and a herbal gut restore powder which includes slippery elm and liquirice etc which all seems to help. He also has cooked linseed, rosehip shells and milk thistle for his liver and timothy chaff. So I tried an oat bran mash last night before I rode and he was calm on it but it did have a bit of a laxitive effect and then after riding he was ravenous eating his hay like there was no tomorrow - which is actually quite common for him since I changed to soaked hay. Should I continue the Oat Bran mash daily or just give only occasionally. I finish the gastrogard soon so I need him to stay clear of ulcers. He has a very sensitive stomach and things have be introduced very gradually. He can be very fizzy and will the Oat bran make him fatter.

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    1. Try the oat bran mash a few more times. If it still has a laxative effect then stop it and try adding lecithin granules. he would need half a cup daily. Now that you are riding again this will help with his weight. While riding, don't stay focused on one thing over and over again or push him beyond what he is capable. This will cause him stress. Keep his environment as consistent as possible. Be sure your tack fits him properly. If he is having pain in his mouth from the bit or bridle, or pain from the saddle or girth, he will become very agitated. These type of stresses can cause ulcers to return.

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  44. I am finding all your information very helpful. I have been dealing with a mare for about a year who has ulcer type behavior. She is grouchy, hates having the saddle put on her back (custom fit by saddle fitter) and has a chronic sore back. I have been through omeprazole which helped and most recently ranitidine, thinking I might need to treat hind gut. A month after stopping the ranitidine, all the behaviors are back. I have purchased yea sacc, bio mos, freeze dried cabbage, pumpkin seeds and oat flour. The only thing she will tolerate in her feed is a very small amount of the oat flour. She just stops eating if I try to use any of the other things. She gets a 1/2 lb of a ration balancer and one pound of a high fat and fiber peller, with soaked alfalfa cubes twice a day, with lots of orchard grass. She is currently out all day with hay.Problem is she doesn't like applesauce or anything else I have tried to mix in the supplements. The soaked alfalfa cubes don't work for mixing the supplements. Questions: is the oat bran better than oat flour? And secondly, how can I get her to eat all these supplements? Thanks.

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  45. The oat bran is little bit better than the oat flour because it has more fiber but if all she will eat is the oat flour that is fine. What is the name of the ration balancer and the high fat, high fiber pellet you are feeding? There could be something in either of these that may aggravate the condition. Since she is a picky eater you will need to introduce each supplement one at a time and in very small amounts. Get alfalfa pellets or alfalfa timothy pellets. Be sure they have no molasses in them, just alfalfa the timothy mix. Use these to mix the supplements in. You will start with only a quarter of the recommended dose of one supplement first. Mix that in with the pellets and add water. Let them soak a few minutes to absorb the water. If she eats all of that then the next day add another quarter of the same supplement nothing more. Keep doing this each day until you are up to the recommended dosage of the one supplement. Then repeat this procedure with the next supplement, adding it to the mix with the first supplement that she is already eating. Since she is eating some of the oat flour you can do this procedure with oat flour also and gradually increase that amount mixing it with the alfalfa pellets.

    Some horses with ulcers can be very picky eaters. Once the gut starts to heal they get better about eating. If you are still having problems with her eating the supplements, try half a cup of flax seed, soaked for 20 - 30 minutes in enough water to cover them. Wait until the water is absorbed and the flax seed gets thick and slimy. Pour this mix over the alfalfa pellets and mix. You might need to start with a little less flax seed at first and then increase. If you can get her eating the flax like this she should get some good improvement.

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  46. Wow! So much information. Trying to take it all in and see how it might all apply to my horse. He's a 14 year old, 16h American Paint horse, that I do basic dressage and trails with. He is pastured in a lovely big paddock, with trees, a creek and grass. He has a round bale in there for most of the year, too. I ride him with mild to moderate intensity about 5 times a week. He is kind, solid, consistent and trustworthy. He is also prone to lethargy and he is quite stubborn, argues with me and attempts to evade aids. He comes into line eventually but really make me struggle sometimes. I have had him for about a year, and the first part of that year, I wasn't doing much more that walking on him, due to a back injury. He has recently become a bit girthy from time to time. He has a good appetite, a nice coat and well formed stools. Despite that, I am wondering if there might be the beginning of ulcers with him... He is so mellow and relaxed that it seems a long shot, but his uncooperative attitude and the occasional girthiness has me wondering. His saddle has been fitted and his teeth are alright too. I do give him a bit of "dinner" after I ride. Usually a couple cups of horse ration pellets and oats, a handful of ground flax and and a couple cups of beet pulp. I sprinkle a scoop of equine vitamin mix on top that a local equine nutritionist makes up and sells at the tack shops here. I was wondering about the lecithin and the flax seeds or oat bran.... Any thoughts that you have would be greatly appreciated. I love this boy so much and the thought of him in pain or difficulty is awful. Thanks in advance...

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  47. Happy to help. Your horse sounds like a good guy. I would suggest stopping the beet pulp and adding the lecithin. Half a cup a day should be enough. If he is at the beginning stages you can head off quickly. Oat bran made into a mash by adding water also works well but from the sounds of he may benefit from the lecithin. What is in the horse ration pellets you are feeding? You might want to switch to just timothy pellets or timothy/alfalfa pellets. If neither are availabe in your area then do alfalfa pellets and make sure there is no molasses in it. Add water to the pellets and mix up with all the other supplements.

    You might want to not tighten his girth all at once. Lunge him for about 15 minutes then tighten up the girth more before you get on. See if this helps him. Work him long and low and make sure he is forward and off the forehand. Let him really stretch out and then start to collect him up once you have him really forward in front of your leg aids. If you take the contact to abruptly he may back off from the aids and suck back into the wither and not actually coming through his topline. If you feel this let him stretch again and be sure you keep your leg on saying going forward as you collect him. I get the sense he may be tight in his back. this should help also. Are you using a loose ring snaffle?

    Get him active to your leg and seat aids. This can be done by doing more transitions. If he tends to be lazy then do canter trot transitons this should get him more active behind. Don't ride him on an empty stomach. You can give him a half cup of oat bran mash or half cup of alfalfa pellets or cubes. This will help keep the stomach acids from splashing into the gut.

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  48. My horse underwent surgery and was on stall rest for a LONG time! Unfortunately he developed ulcers. I was shocked at the price of Gastrogard and Ulcergard (same product, different dosages/tube). I did some research and found an INEXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE TO GASTROGARD AND ULCERGARD: Here's the website I bought it at:

    http://store.bonvivantequine.com/p/gastromax3-paste-equine-ulcer-prevention-and-treatment/equine-ulcer-prevention-treatment

    The product is called Gastromax3 and here is how I cured my horse of Ulcers with it: I gave one full tube per day for 35 days. TaDa! Ulcers completely healed at a fraction of the price of Gastrogard or Ulcergard.

    Gastromax3 has the same amount of Omeprazole as Ulcergard. By giving one full tube per day, it is the equivalent of giving one dose of GastroGard or one tube of Ulcergard. Note: Omeprazole is the active ingredient in Ulcergard and Gastrogard. Gastromax3 is the same product only, Gastromax3 had an additional ingredient called L-Glutamine (helps with stomach lining healing and found in cabbage).

    The price tag of Gastromax3 costs like $21/tube but if you buy qty 30, you get a lower price of around $18/tube. YOU ARE WELCOME! GLAD I COULD SAVE YOU SOME MONEY! I think the reason why it is so much cheaper is because the large Pharmaceutical companies who make the brand name products have lots of marketing dollars $$$ built into their price tags. It is understandable, but I'm glad to have found an inexpensive alternative. My vet told me that lots of people, turn down proper equine ulcer treatment for their horse simply because they cannot afford the GastroGard/Ulcergard. Shame...wonder how many horses have suffered with Ulcers because of the high cost. At any rate, glad to know there is an alternate product that truly does the same thing at a fraction of the price.



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  49. Great information! I had my horse scoped and am currently treating her with gastrogard. I am trying to figure out why she got them in the first place. She lives outside, but doesn't have free choice hay. I recently found out the barn owner was feeding her her grain in the morning without giving her hay first. Is it possible that grain on an empty stomach could cause this?

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  50. Yes it is possible that the grain was the problem Stop all grain. Grass hay or alfalfa/grass mix only. If her cycles cause discomfort this stresses her and can also be a cause of ulcers. Best to not keep her on gastrogard too long. Succeed digestive conditioning would help her. Give her a hay net so she has hay to munch on throughout the day.

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