Monday, July 10, 2017

Life with ulcers

It's amazing what a difference one little thing can make.  Theo's ulcers were treated over the winter and he responded well.  But when spring came and the trailering returned, his stomach problems returned.  He's now two weeks into a full 28 day treatment with a daily dose of paste omeprazole.  Once the 28 days is done I'll wean him off, and then give him a maintenance dose whenever he goes in the trailer.  The trailering really seems to be what sets him off.

It's freaking expensive to treat ulcers.  So expensive.  Ulcerguard is about $30 a day.  I go through and get it down to about $7 a day.  So it's about $200 a month to have him on the treatment dose.  If I wasn't going generic, I don't know if I could afford it.  It's $900 to go through a full regimen of Ulcerguard.  Yikes.

The granules I used before were useful, but apparently he wasn't consistently eating it all.  Some days he was good, some days he was biting at the cross ties.  He likes to chuck his food everywhere while eating and I'm sure he was chewing some of it up. That keeps it from making it to the parts of his digestive system that need it.  For a horse that eats politely or is fed in a stall where they can't decide to flip their bucket over, they're a great option.  For papi?  Paste is working much better.  I know he's getting his full dose every day.

The generic paste isn't flavored.  It's also not flavorless.  As is my policy, I tasted his medicine to see how bad it was.  I was in my bathroom scrubbing with a toothbrush afterward.  It's awful.  I really worried about how I was going to get that into my horse.  Turns out it's not a problem.  Theo is such a hoover or maybe it's not that bad to a horse. We now have an easy, no stress routine.

After grooming him and giving him time to finish whatever was in his mouth, I make a big show of unwrapping three of the big, soft mints that he loves.  I make sure he can see me and hear those wrappers.  By the time I'm done, he's usually whickering to himself and leaning on the cross ties.  I pull out the syringe, dial in my dose, and try to keep Theo from pulling the syringe out of my hand while I dose him.  The tip gets bent because he pulls it into his molars in his excitement.  I dose him quickly and then start shoving peppermints in his face before he can even contemplate getting rid of the paste.  There's no way he'll spit out a peppermint, so all of the nasty meds go down the hatch with the parade of mints.  It's quickly followed by his Probios treats.  By that point, the meds are long gone.  There's usually a lot of lip licking and some extra drool afterward so I think that's the aftertaste of the meds, but too late for him to protest at that point.

Theo actually likes the sight of his ulcer meds syringe now, so this seems to be working.  I'm going to teach his leaser how to dose him so I don't have to drop by the barn on her days.  He's basically the perfect horse to learn on since he holds his mouth open and begs for his medicine.  Which blows my mind because it is really rank stuff.  I guess he considers that a small price to pay for all of the mints and treats.  Usually he has to do something difficult to get so many treats.

 He's a different horse when his stomach is happy.  I really think a lot of his rage issues come down to pain.  When he first got nasty with his first owner, she was shipping him out to the beach and to clinics.  Then he was awful at shows with various riders.  Now I'm doing preventative treatments any time he gets on a trailer and it's making a very real difference.

I'll probably be managing this the rest of his life, but it feels good to know that we found the actual cause for a set of his issues.  He wasn't angry or naughty.  He was in pain.  All it takes is a half dose the day before the show and a half dose before we get on the trailer.  That's a very minor thing to manage.

If you're thinking about trying the generic option?  I've had good experiences with Abler.  Shipping can be slow, especially if you go with the free option, but I haven't had any trouble with it.  You have to pay by electronic check or wire transfer from your bank.  If you pay by check, you'll get a phone call the next day from a company verifying your order.  It seems a bit sketchy at first, but it's totally legitimate and not a hassle so long as you answer your phone or proactively call them to verify your order.  I've found no instances of people having trouble with their products and when tested, they actually found the active ingredient to be slightly above the dose in the label.  So the med is in there, which is always a concern with a generic.

Theo is getting their AbGard product in the stable pack size.  He gets 5 markers worth of paste every day and a tube lasts him 6 days.


  1. That seems like a really strange payment option! I wonder why they don't take credit cards or paypal? Hmm! Glad to hear you've had good experiences with it though- I'd be interested in trying it in the future. - Kelly @

  2. My horse is getting scoped tomorrow, so this is a great post for me to read! Thanks for sharing