Friday, January 7, 2011

on the road to having a much more sane horse

I have really had some excellent rides on Lucy this week. A few things may be contributing to this:

1. Lauren has also ridden her a couple of times, after being busy most of December with work and the holidays. I think Lucy really missed her because since Lauren has been riding again, she's seemed really content. Yay for having an awesome leaser.

2. I cut her grain again. She is now getting just three pounds of grain a day. The grain she gets is 14% fat so I am able to feed a lot less of it than the 10% grain she was on previously, of which she was getting almost TEN pounds a day and still did not look great...insane! Her tummy is probably a lot happier eating less grain, though I don't know how happy Lucy is about the change; she sure does like her grain. I've also started her on a pound of rice bran pellets a day, which are 18% fat and supply nice cool calories to hard keeper horses. Rice bran doesn't add energy, just fat, and isn't bulky. She still gets the hay stretcher in the morning and then warm soaked alfalfa cubes at night, and then of course about 20lbs of hay a day. So spoiled.

3. Everyone knows OTTB's usually have issues with gastric ulcers. Honestly I should have had her scoped when I first bought her, but she didn't show any signs of having them other than being super skinny, but that's because she didn't get fed appropriately at her last home, and that was easily remedied once I found the right feeding schedule. Now she's borderline fat. But with all of the nonsense lately with her attitude, I started wondering if ulcers really were plaguing her. A horsey friend had told me a good test is to give 30cc's of generic Maalox, which you can buy very cheaply at WalMart, for about a week. If you notice an improvement, it's a good indication that ulcers are lurking. So I tried that out last week and low and behold I think she was marginally better. I am going to give it another week or two and see if she gets any better, and if so, I'll come up with the money for the scope. In the end she will still need the full course of GastroGard, but the Maalox is a good cheap way to test the theory before spending megabucks on the scope and treatment.


  1. Ulcers are a B. They make horses a B. Hopefully she doesn't have them but if she does:
    I have Laz on Aloe Vera liquid that you can get at Walgreens for about $10 a to your vet about that too. It's a natural remedy for ulcer care. It may prove to be something to do after you get them under control w/ GGuard and is more affordable. I used Ulcergaurd for months to get Laz back to a comfortable state too.
    Good luck!

  2. What I find most outrageous is the cost to treat them. Merial sure was smart to protect their technology, which is why the treatment is almost $1000 a month. Statistically if the majority of OTTB's suffer from ulcers and the only proven way to heal them is GastroGard, I think it's almost criminal that Merial is allowed to carry on the way they have. I don't think that would fly with the CDC if we were talking about human medications.

    Good news is that she's insured and outside of the $250 deductible, the insurance company will cover the cost of the scoping and treatment, so I am very fortunate to have her insured. My $575 premium will really pay for itself this year!

    Good idea on the aloe. I have heard that a few times, too. I will check it out. Thanks!

  3. Ultimately, if the Maalox test works, your vet will recommend a scope, but you can decline and they should agree to give you the GastroGuard. Since you have her insured, it's probably not as much of a big deal to just go ahead with it.

    When Promise had an ulcer last January, I wasn't able to afford the scope, and I think it is unnecessarily invasive, so really didn't want to do it anyway...but my vet listened to the symptoms, we had tried Maalox already, and it calmed her down, so the vet agreed to a week's worth of GastroGuard -- also all I could afford at the time, must pay up front for it with my vet! But that dosage, combined with the SmartPak UlcerGuard I put her on for maintenance, did the trick.

    Good luck! I wouldn't be surprised with her attitude lately if that was exactly the problem. Is she still liking the new saddle??

  4. My vet has wanted to scope her since the PPE. He was almost annoying with how much he was pushing it until she started really gaining weight, and then he said, well maybe ulcers aren't the problem.

    It's come down to ulcers or lyme, though. I don't think she really wants to be THAT obnoxious all the time, though with the new saddle she has improved drastically.

    A couple of nights ago when I rode was the first time she hasn't pinned her ears when I'm tacking her up. My saddle fitter did warn me that even though the Stubben fits like it was made for her, it would take time for her not to associate any saddle (doesn't really matter how well it fits) with pain. I am hoping that she is over the saddle thing and her not being grumpy about it is a sign that I am at least doing something right.

  5. I hear you about the saddle and pain thing. There are *still* days 10+ years later when Promise is clearly thinking about the pain she used to feel when she outgrew 3 or 4 saddles in 6 months! Maybe now she's a little sore, or a little stiff, but the saddle is not causing her pain. It is frustrating, but at the same time, I have some powerful food associations...things I can't eat because I got sick after eating them, etc. It's really the same thing. Survival mode. :)

    I've never encountered Lyme disease in a horse. Isn't that just a blood test? We don't have it this far south, but as far as I remember from living in New England it's not very common in horses. Seems like a stretch to me, lol.

    From what you've written, she seems to be a generally sweet mare, although young and she has an attitude. She's a mare! I find it hard to believe she's misbehaving out of spite. The good ones just don't do that. You'll figure it out.

  6. Oh yes it's extremely common around here, and this past spring she had Ehrlichia, which is another tick-borne disease that causes a fever, lethargy, and swelling of the legs. That was easily remedied with a ten day course of antibiotics, so not as bad as Lyme, but the likelihood of her eventually getting another tick-borne disease is very high. I checked her frequently for ticks throughout the season but on such a big animal it's an impossible task to get them all. I hate ticks!

  7. Ditto. Only ever found one on a horse and that was in Jamaica, lol.

    Been battling them with the dog for going on 8 months now. Our bug guy can't get rid of them in the house...he claims they are not in the yard. It's beyond ridiculous to have to check a Bernese Mountain Dog for ticks EVERY day...nevermind a horse!

  8. Hence why I am so happy to have a short-haired dog, though we still treat her with Frontline each month and since we started that I haven't found any. Finding ticks on my Golden growing up was like finding a needle in a haystack, so I feel your pain!

  9. Frontline...doesn't work.
    Advantix...doesn't work.

    It's hairy mess. In more ways than one!

  10. Have you ever tried Cool Calories instead of Rice Bran? It's 99% fat and doesn't add energy, but it might be even be a little less expensive than RB. My TB does really well on it. Just a thought :)

  11. If you need GastroGard, let me know. I can probably get it for you at cost (about half of what you'd usually end up paying).


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!