Ulcers - time of year related ??

Tori21

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I have had my mare for 2 years, now aged 7. 12 months ago she showed some symptoms of ulcers - kicking out when tacking up, reluctance to go forwards, could buck on canter transition. she was scoped showing grade 3 squamous ulcers only. 1 month of gastroguard, rescoped and given the all clear. The vet advised as they were only squamous ulcers (so top of stomach) this just indicated acid splash so he didn't think pain related so to just feed low sugar, low starch diet and feed before riding. she can be mareish when in season so has also been put on regumate which has worked brilliantly since. After a couple of months post ulcers, I assume getting over the pain related memory she was working really well and we have had a really good summer.

Fast forward end of September, sudden reluctance to go forward and real aversion to any leg pressure. Physio came out and couldn't see anything obviously wrong so thought digestion. Booked in for rescope, now completed and diagnosed grade 2 ulcers - same squamous ulcers only.

This mare is not stressy, not in hard work, not travelled, not feed high grain. She has adlib haylage, is turned out with others for 10-12hrs per day, fed on fast fibre with thunderbrooks chaff, and chaff given before ridden.

I am now at a total loss of what to do to prevent these ulcers, vet suggested time of year, has anyone heard of this ?

I am thinking of putting her on coligone to try, and then exploring pain related areas may start with SI/hocks? It doesn't make sense to me how we can have a really good summer then go back to square one.

Just to add saddle regularly checked and all up to date with the dentist.
 

be positive

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Wet grass may mean less chewing so less saliva to buffer the acid is a possible explanation, an increase in haylage consumption may contribute, most eat more when the grass quality goes, the colder nights, is she rugged, some really need to be warmer than others although that may also indicate a low level of pain which is worse when cold and damp, I would look at giving her some extra support with an acid reducing supplement or probiotic and see if that helps, never used coligone but it is supposed to do the job.
 

HeyMich

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Yes, I've had my mare scoped and treated twice for ulcers, both times in the autumn/early winter. I put it down to a change in routine and grazing at that time of year - more time in the stable, more hard feed/haylage, less turnout etc. So yes, I think time of year does affect them.

This year I have her out 24/7, on hay not haylage, on a decent probiotic and oil etc in feeds. I'm crossing my fingers that they don't flare up again, or if they do, that they are milder and more manageable.
 

Bellaboo18

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I definitely have to be more careful with one of mine this time of year because she finds the change in others routine in winter stressful. She's always got company in with her but there's alot more horses coming and going compared to summer when they're mostly out and just go in to be ridden. What's her turnout situation? It might be worth trying 24/7 turnout with a friend.
 

Tori21

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Her turnout hasn't changed, I am on a livery yard and we haven't started winter turnout hours yet. Given her symptoms started back in September I am pretty sure it cant be change in routine. I have considered moving to 24/7 turnout but that is really a last resort as that would involve moving yards and I don't want to disrupt my other horses routine who is old now. I also wonder if she would be stressy on full turnout as she always more than happy to come in!
 

Fanatical

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My experience of ulcers is that they are pain related. Unless there is really bad management (which it doesn't sound like in this case), they are more often than not, secondary to pain elsewhere in the body. I don't understand why the vet said that because they were 'only' squamous ulcers, it wouldn't be pain related. One of mine had mild squamous ulcers, as a result of which, we looked for the real issue and he has since been PTS due to the issues he had. Obviously they won't all have major soundness issues requiring PTS, but a horse with ulcers would always have me looking further into their soundness.
 

_daisy_

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Highly recommend coligone. One of our mares had grade 3 ulcers 4 years ago.
we sorted the ulcers out with the prescribed drugs from the vets but ongoing she has coligone. She has daily dose of the powder along with the fibre cubes they do and then has liquid as extra during any stressful moments. It works wonders for her and we’ve had no problems with ulcers since.
 

Bellaboo18

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Another thought, after the month of gastrogard did you stop suddenly or wean her off it? If it's suddenly stopped it can cause the ulcers to return.
 

Bellaboo18

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My experience of ulcers is that they are pain related. Unless there is really bad management (which it doesn't sound like in this case), they are more often than not, secondary to pain elsewhere in the body. I don't understand why the vet said that because they were 'only' squamous ulcers, it wouldn't be pain related. One of mine had mild squamous ulcers, as a result of which, we looked for the real issue and he has since been PTS due to the issues he had. Obviously they won't all have major soundness issues requiring PTS, but a horse with ulcers would always have me looking further into their soundness.
They can definitely be caused by stress even without poor management. Some horses just don't cope as well with changes as others.
 

ohmissbrittany

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Could be that the sugar in the grass goes up when there's a cold snap followed by sun (pretty standard weather pattern in the UK - clear skies mean it is cold and sunny). You might try a bit of alfalfa in her feeds- pellets are easier handling for me. The calcium buffers the stomach acid.

Aloe juice is BRILLIANT but it's SO EXPENSIVE here.

Edit- I LIED. Falcon Feeds has it in bulk. :) https://www.falconequinefeeds.co.uk/omega-equine-aloe-vera-juice

I put half a cup (about 120mL) in feed for prevention. When they're suffering with it, double that. It can have a slight laxative effect (lots of soluble fiber in aloe) BUT made mine remarkably more comfortable the next day.
 
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Tori21

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thanks for the replies, so far I have changed her feed now to pink mash, baileys light chaff with Colligone. I have looked at various other supplements to add - Slippery Elm, marshmallow root, meadowsweet and aloe vera…. the list is endless and I wouldn't know which worked if I started them all! We have now some hot spots showing in her back, so she is booked in for x rays when she is rescoped, if nothing else its the start to cross things off my list.

Fingers crossed I have an appointment with Rob Jackson now as well so will see what comes of that. I have read so much... kissing spine, SI, Hocks, PSD, arthritis... again another endless list where all interlinked and each time I read that one is secondary to another! :eek:
 

ycbm

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Could be that the sugar in the grass goes up when there's a cold snap followed by sun (pretty standard weather pattern in the UK - clear skies mean it is cold and sunny). You might try a bit of alfalfa in her feeds- pellets are easier handling for me. The calcium buffers the stomach acid.

Aloe juice is BRILLIANT but it's SO EXPENSIVE here.

Edit- I LIED. Falcon Feeds has it in bulk. :) https://www.falconequinefeeds.co.uk/omega-equine-aloe-vera-juice

I put half a cup (about 120mL) in feed for prevention. When they're suffering with it, double that. It can have a slight laxative effect (lots of soluble fiber in aloe) BUT made mine remarkably more comfortable the next day.
Tested dose of aloe for ulcers is 11g for a 600kg horse, and recommended feed rate on Battles is 25 ml, you might be able to save a lot of money!

Available for £8 a litre on Amazon.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28555939/
 
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