Possible Ulcers??

SarahM

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 September 2016
Messages
77
Hi, looking for similar experiences please.

My 6 year old ID has always been anxious and highly strung but he tends to be either quite lazy or nuts with no in between. A lot of his behavior I've put down to his age and him being very green plus he was scared of his own shadow when I first got him. When I tried him he was so different, really easy on the flat, and very chilled but lanky and needed condition. He naturally holds a lot of tension and I find it very difficult to get him to work in a long and low frame. I have been working him 4-5 times per day over the last 3 months (he had 5 months off due to me breaking my ankle) with a variety of lots of long reining (lots of hill work), lunging over raised poles, walking out in hand (always up lots of hills) and hacking. He has matured a lot in the 13 months I've owned him and filled out but he still has poor topline which worries me as with the work he does he should really have improved now. I keep him in a sloping field as hoped this would also help but his lack of topline is pretty poor, yet he is a chunk. He is fed thunderbrooks chaff with a tiny amount of their grass nuts with Pro Earth balance + and salt.
He can get very anxious, on occasion at training clinics, once due to horse flies, if he scares himself, or if he gets bored in his stable he makes hiccup noises, which I believe is a form of windsucking. He won't eat anything when travelling and finds it very hard to relax.
He is fairly spooky, this week he was going nuts in the field, bucking and throwing his head around sort of like stallion behavior when I went to get him in for no apparent reason. whilst schooling him a couple of weeks ago, he was stressy but I asked for trot after the warm up and he was fine for 5 mins, then he lost the plot and bronced with me until he got me off, this has never happened before!

I was doing some ground work this week asking him to cross his hind legs, I asked with my hand where my leg would go and he continued to try and bite me even though he was really chilled and trying. This obviously worried me. He also appears sensitive by his withers, and swishes his tail a lot.
When I lunge him his stride length is fairly good and he engages his hind end and appears pretty loose. I feel when I school him his stride length becomes much shorter, he feels sticky and he is very reluctant to relax and lower his frame. He feels hollow and very tense and swishes his tail.

He is having a sarcoid cut off his ear next week so I have asked my vet to scope him at the same time as I think he may have ulcers. When I got him 13 months ago he was 5 stage vetted with back x rays. I will scope next week and see what comes of that but am thinking of some back investigations as well. To look at he doesn't look as if he would have ulcers, his poo's have never been loose but from experience I know that this means nothing.

Sorry for the essay but just wondered if anyone had experienced anything similar. He was 5 stage vetted, including back x rays 13 months ago with very regular physio, teeth and 3 monthly saddle checks. Thanks so much in advance
 

LiquidMetal

Active Member
Joined
19 February 2020
Messages
42
It’s entirely possible your horse could have ulcers. I would bet the underlying cause is pain

There are a few points in your post that would concern me. First, like you said, your horse should’ve improved his top line somewhat by this point. The fact that he hasn’t but is not underweight is a big red flag for me. I lived through that with my previous gelding and wish I had listened to my gut a lot sooner. Even horses not in work who are sound and healthy should have a decent top line. There was just a really good article on The Horse website about top line. I’d suggest checking it out

Second, you say his withers seem sore, he seems short strided under saddle and is starting to buck. I would be taking a good look at your saddle. Does he have necessary wither clearance? With you in saddle, put fingers down into gullet and have horse walk around. Are you fingers getting pinched? I know it’s probably impossible to get a saddle fitter out at moment but you might be able to setup a remote session.

Third, while your vet is out have a serious discussion about the issues you’re having. Have a good look at his feet and ask vet for their opinion. I would also be asking about SI issues.

My previous gelding was a lot like your horse. Poor condition when I got him, very anxious and hard to manage. Recurring ulcers were a constant problem. Turns out, he had pretty severe coffin joint arthritis in both front feet. I suspect as partially the result of poor posture due to a never diagnosed SI injury as a young horse. About a year after I got him, I started to have a feeling something was wrong as his top line just Would. Not. Develop. I wish I had listened to my gut more and had vet out but honestly, I didn’t even know where to start. Good for you for taking this seriously. I hope you are able to get some answers!
 

SarahM

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 September 2016
Messages
77
It’s entirely possible your horse could have ulcers. I would bet the underlying cause is pain

There are a few points in your post that would concern me. First, like you said, your horse should’ve improved his top line somewhat by this point. The fact that he hasn’t but is not underweight is a big red flag for me. I lived through that with my previous gelding and wish I had listened to my gut a lot sooner. Even horses not in work who are sound and healthy should have a decent top line. There was just a really good article on The Horse website about top line. I’d suggest checking it out

Second, you say his withers seem sore, he seems short strided under saddle and is starting to buck. I would be taking a good look at your saddle. Does he have necessary wither clearance? With you in saddle, put fingers down into gullet and have horse walk around. Are you fingers getting pinched? I know it’s probably impossible to get a saddle fitter out at moment but you might be able to setup a remote session.

Third, while your vet is out have a serious discussion about the issues you’re having. Have a good look at his feet and ask vet for their opinion. I would also be asking about SI issues.

My previous gelding was a lot like your horse. Poor condition when I got him, very anxious and hard to manage. Recurring ulcers were a constant problem. Turns out, he had pretty severe coffin joint arthritis in both front feet. I suspect as partially the result of poor posture due to a never diagnosed SI injury as a young horse. About a year after I got him, I started to have a feeling something was wrong as his top line just Would. Not. Develop. I wish I had listened to my gut more and had vet out but honestly, I didn’t even know where to start. Good for you for taking this seriously. I hope you are able to get some answers!
Thanks for your reply. I had his saddles checked in February and was due for the 3 monthly check in May. I am always very on top of these things, but totally agree it is important to check. I've only ridden him once in 3 weeks as we are mainly long reining and lunging and I don't do that with a saddle anyway. I don't want to ride now until we investigate further and are able to have the fitter out again. He has fantastic feet and is actually barefoot, his podiatrist comes every 5 weeks and always says how great they are. I am going to ask for back x Ray's during the scope next week which we can compare to the x Ray's taken during the vetting. I've had a horse previously with SI joint disease, I'll hopefully know a little more after next week.
 
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SEL

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Joined
25 February 2016
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5,904
Location
Buckinghamshire
Everyone thought I was wasting money having my over weight mare scoped but there were ulcers and a horribly inflamed stomach. When it flares up she tends to eat obsessively and I think it's to try and stop the pain.

For her stomach can be a primary source of pain, but if she hurts herself or gets sore elsewhere then I can guarantee we'll have stomach problems too.

Is it a hay belly you're seeing when you say "chunk"? Sometimes this can happen if protein is a bit low in their diet
 

SarahM

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Joined
16 September 2016
Messages
77
Everyone thought I was wasting money having my over weight mare scoped but there were ulcers and a horribly inflamed stomach. When it flares up she tends to eat obsessively and I think it's to try and stop the pain.

For her stomach can be a primary source of pain, but if she hurts herself or gets sore elsewhere then I can guarantee we'll have stomach problems too.

Is it a hay belly you're seeing when you say "chunk"? Sometimes this can happen if protein is a bit low in their diet
Thanks for your message, I wouldn't say he's overweight as such but he's a registered full Irish draught so he is quite chunky. He does have a bit of a belly I suppose, he's gone from a M/W to X wide saddle in the 13 months I've had him so has filled out and matured. Makes sense about why you say with the eating, he is very food motivated and will get very teasy and sharp for food.
 

SarahM

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 September 2016
Messages
77
Thanks for your message, I wouldn't say he's overweight as such but he's a registered full Irish draught so he is quite chunky. He does have a bit of a belly I suppose, he's gone from a M/W to X wide saddle in the 13 months I've had him so has filled out and matured. Makes sense about why you say with the eating, he is very food motivated and will get very teasy and sharp for food.
 
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