Never mind that Izzy demonstrates NONE of the signs commonly associated with ulcers. According to Doctors Foster and Smith, signs of gastric ulcers in adult horses include:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss and poor body condition
- Poor hair coat
- Mild colic
- Mental dullness or attitude changes
- Poor performance
- Lying down more than normal
I had run out of theories. This horse lacks for absolutely nothing. He gets the best hay we can find, there's copious amounts of it, and he lives on nearly a quarter of an acre. In desperation, I started researching equine ulcers and treatment.
To prevent equine ulcers, the exact same omeprazole is administered but at one quarter the dose of GastroGard. The product, also manufactured by Merial, is sold under the band name UlcerGard. GastroGard must be prescribed by a veterinarian as it is used for the treatment of ulcers. Since UlcerGard is used to prevent ulcers, it does not need a prescription. The tubes are identical, but the dosage is different. If giving GastoGard, you administer the entire tube. If giving UlcerGard, you give only one-quarter of the tube a day. A tube of UlcerGard generally costs the same as a tube of GastroGard.
Did it help? I don't know. At the same time that I administered the four days of UlcerGard, I also worked the snot out of him. After looking at every possible factor, I realized that his jackassery started when we moved the clocks back an hour. I think that the change in my schedule - coming out at what felt like an hour later, combined with less saddle time, simply rocked Izzy's little world.
I am still going to give the once-a-week dose over the next month, and I am considering adding a tube of UlcerGard to his routine when I know a change is coming. As a side note, both of my boys are on Platinum Performance Equine which contains Calcium, Magnesium, and Thiamine, the same ingredients found in many over the counter ulcer supplements. If those ingredients were going to "fix" anything, you would have thought it would have already happened.
Overall, the best "therapy" for this horse comes free of charge: exercise in the form of lunging on a line and free lunging. When he's tired, he remembers who I am, and his brain re-engages.
Who doesn't love "free?"