Sunday, November 16, 2014

saddle fit... or ulcers?

Isabel and I participated in five shows in the past two months. It was AWESOME. 


But also, maybe a little much. 

Isabel has been a little off her game since our last HT - in a way that I can only describe as 'fragile.' 

She's been stressed. Uneasy and fidgety. Pooping 3-5 times in a single grooming. Not wanting to get on the trailer, after hopping up on the first try for six months. Not pleased if I'm anywhere close to her flanks, and very unhappy about being saddled (thus my never-ending search for the perfect padding/shim combinations).  

Under saddle she continues to be a rock star... but her ground manners have had me perplexed, and at times, admittedly, beyond impatient. 

Finally, a post from A Filly's Best Friend struck a nerve and I decided to discuss with my trainer. 

And P thinks: ulcers. 

Isabel is out 24/7 (only in for dinner and severe weather), so I thought she wasn't really at risk for ulcers. But P says that any horse who travels regularly is actually especially prone. 

She also noted physical changes in Isabel to support her hypothesis. Namely: Isabel's spine as it meets the dock of her tail slightly protrudes above her hindquarters. P says that given the work we're doing, we would expect more rounding in the muscling there. 

So P outlined a simple (read: $$) protocol for addressing the issue, with a long-term view of management via supplementation. 

However, Isabel's owner was more comfortable getting the vet's opinion. The vet's protocol is a little more aggressive (read: $$$$), but is more likely to resolve the issue. 

I will let you know how it goes! 

26 comments:

  1. Poor Izzy, fingers crossed and i hope she feels better soon.
    *hugs*

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  2. Ulcers are so crazy expensive to treat, but going the "cheap" route doesn't really help (in my experiences, and unfortunately I've had lots).

    Fingers crossed that you guys get her problems resolved, hugs!!!

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    1. Yea that's pretty much what the vet said... So we will aim to fully treat and heal, so miss Iz will feel better soon!!

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  3. I hate to agree with Cate. The cheap route usually just masks the symptoms. The protocol the vet wants to do probably actually treats them. There is a lot you can do to prevent them from returning afterward though. Alfalfa and aloe vera juice are great! They both buffer the stomach. :) Good luck! I hope she feels better quickly!

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    1. Thanks - we will definitely be exploring those options once she's healed up!!

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  4. Hope you're able to get it figured out and she's feeling better soon!

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  5. Hope things get better for Miss Isabel!

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  6. Hope your horse feels better soon! Ulcers are so tricky. We treated a horse with GastroGard and have tried a couple of supplement options since then. We're thinking of trying SmartGut Ultra - it seems to have a lot of good stuff in it.

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    1. Thanks! We are treating w gastrogard too, and I will look into smart gut!!

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  7. My old pony Beans (you just read his story) had bad, bad ulcers. He was on a regiment of gastrogard (which helped for a while and was mega $$$), and a daily supplement (don't recall the name, but was still kinda expensive). Also - and I'm not sure how true this is, but I've heard peppermint can calm the stomach and help them to feel better. I would always buy the peppermint nutrena treats for him, they're like $12 for a big bag.

    Are they going to scope her to confirm? I hope whatever it is gets resolved and you two can get back to doing your thang! *fingers crossed*

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    1. thanks - i read Beans' story with interest for this exact reason. i'm hoping that isabel's case won't be so severe - that we'll be able to clear up her existing issues and just maintain from there... the vet doesn't currently think scoping is necessary, fortunately. and i've heard the peppermint thing too - and isabel LUVS candy canes :)

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  8. Here's hoping that Izzy starts feeling better soon!

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  9. are you getting the vet out? I hope it's nothing serious, but it's definitely the signs that Wiz showed before he was diagnosed with EPM... and it was after a lot of showing, apparently it stresses their system, which can cause ulcers, which can make them more susceptible to it. if it's just an upset stomach, aloe vera juice is cheap and a miracle worker! Wiz was pooing everywhere, very runny and everything, and the aloe vera really calmed his stomach. I hope it's good news though and nothing too serious!

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    1. hm, the vet didn't think she needed to come out after a description of the symptoms (tho she DID want to write a prescription for gastrogard), but i'll certainly be keeping an eye out if the symptoms continue after treatment. epm is scary! and yes - aloe may very well end up as part of our maintenance plan :)

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  10. Stampede has given me many experiences, one of which was a fear of him having ulcers. He was chronically underweight for years, picky about food (still is!), hated to be groomed, and cranky while being ridden. It sounds like classic ulcers to everyone, but in reality the only issue was back pain. I share this just as a cautionary tale, because I wasted so much money and time treating ulcers that didn't exist and I would hate to have someone else do the same thing. If I were in the position again, I would have gotten the scope after the first treatment didn't work.
    Hopefully you see results in the week time frame from the meds so you know that is the issue.
    Really think about supplements with acid reducers, because they are kind of backwards. What horse needs their acid reduced right after they eat? They need it for the times when they aren't eating. I like the idea of things like giving aloe or papaya as they make sense as a coating on the stomach, but I don't think there is any evidence they work.
    Lastly, I saw the comment above talking about pepperment. I was told to give stampede some peppermint tums before rides to reduce the acid that can splash during work. It made sense to me.
    Anyways, take what you want from my ramblings and leave the rest. :)

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    1. thanks - you make really good points. we're not planning to scope at the moment, but will definitely consider doing so if the treatment doesnt' produce the expected results. and your thoughts about how the supplements work are interesting too... all very good food for thought!

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  11. Good luck with the treatment! Glad to hear the owner is okay with the more aggressive route.

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    1. thanks! and the owner wants to be certain that we really fix the problem - which i agree with completely!

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  12. Well I am very glad to hear my post has prompted some to listen to their horses - but sad at the same time because we never want our partners to be in pain. Some other things to look into - Lyme disease, epm (muscle atrophy?). Hopefully ulcers as they are easy enough to treat. Hope you can figure it out soon!

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    1. thanks! and i agree - it's a bummer to think she's uncomfortable or unhappy from stress! thanks also for the points about other possible issues. she gets tested for lyme regularly since she's had it in the past, and fortunately her levels continue to drop!! epm will be something to investigate if the ulcer treatment doesn't deliver the right results...

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  13. Poor girl!! I hope the treatments goes over well and she's back to her normal self soon :)

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