Still not quite right.

As much as I’d like to say Nay Nay (that was NOT planned) is back, he’s not. The ulcer treatment has not been some miracle cure. We’re at day 15 and somethings have improved, but overall? He’s still at the same place. I’m currently waiting to hear back from the vet to discuss next steps.

Hay.

Hay remains the biggest issue. I mentioned in my last post that Nay just isn’t enthusiastic about hay, but to be honest, he barely eats hay. I mean, some days? He inhales in, especially outside. There have been days that he parks himself by the feeder and just eats. Others? Not so much. In his stall, he had been picking at it. But not touching much alfalfa.

I thought the alfalfa MIGHT be because it was stemmier than he’d prefer (they last round was VERY soft and flakey, this is more stemmy). It’s still really green and nice (and everyone else loves it), but it’s not fall apart flakey as the last batch). So less candy and more… oatmeal with brown sugar? Then I picked up a bale of compressed alfalfa to see if that would make a difference….he’s not even touching that. Yeah.

He does eat chopped hay. I don’t give him a lot (he dumps a bunch on the ground). But he eats a bucket. He likes it. Well he likes the Triple Crown alfalfa forage blend. The one that $25/bag… Not the $15/bag blends…

Grain.

He doesn’t eat breakfast. He picks out carrots and ignores the rest. He eats his breakfast with his dinner overnight. He inhales his fibre beet mash mid-day. I’ve considered giving him some overnight but will fibre beet end up like everything else? Something that Nay LOVES until he doesn’t? Right now I feel like it’s something I feed 1x/day and he’s very enthusiastic about it.

The vet office suggested scoping and I suggested pulling blood. Scoping is so stressful so I hate doing it. I’m not against it if it would help, but the office also mentioned hind gut ulcers and I wasn’t aware that a gastroscopy could show hindgut ulcers? Correct me if I’m wrong… I’m not actually scheduling anything until I have a conversation with the vet. My issue with scoping is that I’m withholding food for a number of hours pre-scope. We scoped back in 2020 and Nay was a mess for it and I said I’d never scope again after the whole ordeal. The scope basically just revealed scarring. That said… So, I just want to know what they hope to find. Especially with regards to hind gut.

So that’s where we’re at. I’m worried about Nay.

12 thoughts on “Still not quite right.

    • Thank you. I chatted with the vet and she thinks this is odd. She’s not convinced it’s ulcers though it could be pyloric. She doesn’t think he’ll starve himself and suggested a few things once I confirmed I’ve tried several types of hay. She suggested removing all hay but chopped for a week and seeing if he cleans that up. It’s $$$ but might be a good experiment… I will need to put the bucket (or chopped directly) in his feeder to prevent waste.

      We’re going to start by pulling blood Tuesday. She wasn’t sure this was necessary, but I pushed it. I’d rather start here vs waiting (my vet is very much a wait and see vs run lots of tests which I do appreciate whereas the practice is test test test). Blood was my compromise. If everything is normal, we can go from there.

      I’m actually thinking of putting him back on succeed of all things. He was on it for over a year and it definitely helped. And then he stopped eating it… But, if I can get him to eat it again OR use the paste, it might be worth it…

    • It’s been a while if we have. Interestingly, my vet isn’t convinced a lyme titer is necessary, but we’re in lyme country so… We’re pulling blood on Tuesday morning so we’re might as well pull a lyme titer and everything else. He ate half a 12 gallon tub of chopped hay last night and that was it. I’m pretty stressed and worried, but as the vet said, he likely won’t starve himself.

  1. Hey! This might be one of those times where prevention is better than cure?? If he does have ulcers, why?? Maybe changing his home environment? I’m in Australia and I have always found it unusual that the US keeps most horses stabled or yarded. It’s very uncommon here. Most horses are kept on 2 acres minimum with some on much larger shared paddocks. I currently have 6 mares on 86 acres and I live in a city with 450k people. The mares come to the front of the paddock in the morning for some Lucerne hay (I think that’s alfalfa in the us), rug swaps if it’s winter or flyveils on in summer. In the late afternoon they have a hard feed with Lucerne and Wheaton chaff and boiled barley that I cook in the slow cooker. Again rug swaps if winter and flyveils off in summer. 2 mares I ride 3 times each a week. They are in paddocks all year except if pasture is too rich I do yard overnight so they don’t founder. And I then give them teff hay.

    Just a thought that perhaps he would do better left in paddock 24/7 especially now it’s warming up where you are 😊

    • I appreciate the comment. As I keep my horses at home, changing environment isn’t too much of an option right now. I can’t afford to move to a larger property at this point. That said, he’s out for at least 12+ hours/day (all weather) which is more than most boarding stables (some near me turn horses out for 4 hours in good conditions only). He always has hay in front of him but I can’t make him eat. I actually have to muzzle my mini due to the amount of food that is provided.

      If conditions aren’t to his liking, he self stalls (ie lives in the turn out shed). He is very happy coming in at night and works slowly on his feed overnight.

      The thing with ulcers IF he has them (I’m not convinced that this is ulcers), is that I think these are secondary to something else. What that something else is (Lyme, epm, food allergies, etc.), we need to figure out. If it was just ulcers, I’d have seen improvement like last time after starting treatment. I saw a tiny shift but nothing more that fixed the major eating issues.

      Anyway, I do appreciate the suggestions here!

  2. Keep us posted on the blood test results. If scoping was so bad the first time, I can understand why you’re so reluctant to go through that again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you

    • Definitely! He got super stressed by the entire ordeal, needed a muzzle taped closed overnight (and even through he wasn’t eating much…), and was a miserable sweaty mess by the time we got to scope. Then it took sedatives AND me plus the vet and 2 techs to hold him still and to be scoped… Not ideal for a horse coping with ulcers. It was just not a great experience. Life through chemicals should keep them calm and no amount of chemicals seemed to help.

  3. Ugh. I’m no real help. Could it be an inflammatory gut issue? Maybe not true erosive ulcers but like an IBS sort of thing? If I remember correctly, he had a lot of food issues before with allergic type responses to grains etc….Maybe some steroids would help? Please keep us posted on the bloodwork results.

  4. I forget where it was discussed, but last week I was listening to an equine nutrition podcast(?) youtube (?) and the nutritionist said that some horses go off specific foods if they eat it and end up uncomfortable or with a sore tummy, whether it’s just a result of overindulging on the new good thing, or ulcers, or ? In her experience they often associate the specific food with feeling not so great later and are reluctant to eat it again even if they found it palatable. No idea if there’s any science for that or even if it’s relevant for you, but it got me thinking about my fussy mare.

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