Interesting chat with vet about ulcers.

Doodle92

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Apr 6, 2021
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Thought it was worth a new thread.

I spoke to the vet this morning about Robins ulcers. I asked if some horses just get them and why do they get them. He said yes some horses just keep getting them regardless of management or treatment. They don’t totally understand equine ulcers. They agree there is something else going on that causes them that they can’t find out what. You have the classic situations, for example racehorses, where it is understandable as to why. However you have horses who no matter what you do and do all the “right” things they just keep coming back. He has a pony, who lives out, gets ad lib hay. No noticeable stress ever caused and still they can’t get them to stay away.

He also said that last week and to a lesser extent the week before, he has had a huge increase in number of people phoning to say “my horse is not right”. Quite a large increase in ulcer symptoms. He is sure there is a seasonal link. Each year he is getting more and more sure there is some sort of syndrome at this time of year. The symptoms being “not quite right”. Bloods are taken and all tests given but nothing is ever found. Along with a definite increase in ulcers at this time. He mentioned that this time last year. He does not know what the cause is but there is something.

There have been many people suggesting that an equine can get some sort of bacterial infection. This then causes ulcers that keep returning. There has been a lot of work done to try and find this possible bacteria but nothing is ever found.

So basically. They don’t quite understand equine ulcers and their cause. It makes me feel a bit better that it isn’t necessarily me doing the wrong thing.

For Robin we are going to go with treatment for a week and if some improvement then carry on with the course. He has managed to borrow a scope but that can’t be until 3rd nov and he agrees we need to treat now rather than wait.
 

carthorse

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Jim fell into the group you describe, God knows I tried everything including buying him a pony so he had constant company, but I never could wean him right off the meds. Interestingly flare ups always seemed to be in the autumn and for no apparent reason. In the end we worked on what seemed to work best for him - he wasn't happy out 24/7 so we let him have what he wanted, larger herds seemed to cause him more stress as he tried to keep everything safe and organised so I got him Little Un who was company that wouldn't be taken away, work was kept to stuff he seemed to enjoy etc etc. A few times when he had Karidox antibiotic for something his gut would seem better for a while but it never lasted long and other antibiotics would make him worse hence why we used Karidox.

I think you just have to keep a close eye on them and see what works best for the individual. I don't envy you, I dread to think how many sleepless nights I had.
 

Doodle92

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That is interesting about the Karidox. He went on that after the initial ulcer treatment, for his lungs. How long had you had Jim before he got ulcers? I have had Robin 5 1/2 years now with no issues till last autumn. Vet so sure that this time of year causes the most issues.
 

carthorse

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I'd had him from a 2 yo and bought him from the breeder. His ulcers weren't diagnosed until he had colic surgery at 11 but with hindsight they'd been a problem for a very long time, I wouldn't be surprised to find he'd got them when I had him. He'd always had a sensitive tummy, had problems with some foods and been very sharp and reactive with explosions coming out of nowhere with ne or minimal warning. Ulcers weren't so widely suspected or diagnosed back then though and he certainly didn't fall into what was then considered to be the at risk groups.
 

Doodle92

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Thanks. He has coliced once. And that was after box rest a few years ago. He went out and stuffed himself with spring grass all day. Filled up with gas. He got painkillers and had several very large farts and returned to normal 😂.

I’m pretty sure he hasn’t shown symptoms before last year. I’m actually feeling better that I am not doing everything wrong or missing something obvious.
 

carthorse

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That doesn't sound like the sort of colic you need to worry about once he got over it. Jim had been a colicky horse for years, I suspect nowadays he'd have been scoped much sooner - or maybe given his temperament put on meds and see if that solved the problem.

From one owner to another please believe me when I say it's almost certainly nothing to do with how you look after him.
 

Doodle92

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I have never been so pleased to see him take off on the lunge, throwing in large bucks, incorporating the jet propulsion, and then looking confused as to why I was telling him he was good 😂. He had thrown himself to the floor rather dramatically making me think he was dying. But yes I’m not too worried about that

Thanks for that. I spent last night awake wracking my brains as to what had triggered. But if the vet can’t work it out then I have little hope.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Just back to the ulcers point, the friend I used to share the field with (she moved away, woe alas) had a homebred filly who had always lived out 24/7 and never had any stress or cause for ulcers to develop. She was a wicked filly though, a genuinely unpleasant horse. My friend started her and rode her but at 7 a vet suggested she get the filly scoped for ulcers. And lo and behold, she had terrible ulcers, 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 and clearly had had them for years and years. With treatment her temperament - obviously, in retrospect, caused by pain - has improved immeasurably, though she is still a difficult mare.

My friend has had horses all her life and is an equine (and human) chiropractor and a brilliant rider. She was appalled and mortified to find that her beloved filly had been in pain for years and she had never clocked the reason. There was no reason for the ulcers, they just happened, so I think @Doodle92 your vet may be right!
 
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