Horse Life

The Verdict is In….

Aaaand we have ulcers. Yay?


I know it’s technically what I wanted, but seeing it confirmed on scope left me unsure of whether to celebrate or cry. There’s finally a diagnosis that could explain P’s erratic behavior, but I hate thinking back to every single time I was frustrated with him or agreed with someone who said he had a shitty attitude or poor work ethic. I know what’s done is done, but I’ve been kicking myself nonstop for the last 20 hours straight for not doing this sooner.


My favorite face


Poor P was so hangry when I got to the barn at 1 yesterday. While I was waiting for husband to hook up the trailer, I was sitting on my tack trunk and P was gnawing on his halter. Usually he takes it off the hook and throws it at me, but this time he just kept gnawing until I took it away.


He had also walked circles in his stall, and given himself quite the new facial marking. Sigh.


We got to the vet’s clinic right at 2, but he was on his way back from a call so we had to wait about 10 minutes. P tried to eat gravel until I took him away from my husband (who thought it was funny…heartless much?) and jogged him around and around the circular driveway.


Husband: See that grass? I’m going to walk you right by it
Pilgrim contemplating becoming a cannibal


Then everything was finally ready and they sedated him, then put a thick tube down his nose, through the esophagus and into the front part of the stomach. Then they tested the camera and stuck it down the tube.

One of the vets drew me a nice little diagram explaining what they were looking for.


The front of the stomach, the non-glandular, is supposed to be a light pink, then there’s a line called the Margo Plicatus, and then the back of the stomach, the glandular part, is a dark pink. Whatever shade it’s supposed to be, it’s supposed to be a uniform shade. Not blotchy or discolored.


So they started in the front, and there were all sorts of areas covered in yellow. My phone wouldn’t take good pictures of the monitor, so I’ve scoured through Google *YUCK* to find similar images. This is what P’s non-glandular stomach looked like:


The yellow is called fibrin and it’s sort of like a scab. It indicates that the stomach ulcers are in the healing stages, which she said is probably due to the Ranitidine. Ulcers in the nonglandular part of the stomach are typically easier to heal. She graded them a 2 out of 3.

Then they went back to the glandular part of the stomach, and this was even worse.


Instead of the uniform dark pink, there were stripes and discoloration all over and even 4 bleeders. The vet said these can be harder to treat. She graded these a 3/3.

A small reprieve was that there were no ulcers present in the esophagus.


I asked about hindgut ulcers and she said there are 2 ways they can test- ultrasound, which is expensive, or manure, which is highly unreliable. But hindgut ulcers are likely to be present if foregut ulcers are there, so we’re treating him for that as well.

The next 21 days are going to suck for my barn. I’ve already pre-ordered my BO’s favorite bottle of wine (x3 because I care like that).

Here are the instructions:


What’s going to suck is the sucralfate. It can’t be given within an hour of any food or other medications, so pretty much every 2 hours for the entire day, he’s got to have someone giving him something. I’m also not looking forward to giving him the GastroGard, as he’s terrible about those syringes, which are similar to wormers. I’ll think he’s swallowed it, but really he’s been holding his breath, because even after waiting 20 seconds or so, he’ll spit out whatever you gave him. The vet recommended holding his head up, so that’s what I’m going to try. It’ll probably take 2 people to get the stuff down.


The cost also took my breath away. I mean, I knew GG was expensive. But holy crap. Total it all came out to $2,160, and $1,600 of that was just the GG. I’m really looking forward to when their patent expires.


His feed is being changed to the Triple Crown Senior and while BO already gives a ton of hay (I have yet to see him without any), I told her if she could make sure he always has hay in front of him, to charge me whatever surcharge she wanted. He’ll stay on the U-Shield, and I have to go stock back up on Ranitidine. Previously he’s been on 3600mg/2x/day, but the vet wants him to go to 3600mg/3x/day, so his grain will have to be split into 3 meals. At least that shouldn’t be so bad, since the horses are typically in all day due to the heat.

I asked about continuing to ride throughout the treatment and she said it was ok, just not to overdo it. Like, don’t pick battles. If he starts acting out, go to something easier. And maintenance wise after the treatment is done, to keep him dosed with GG before, during and after travel. That may be a bit hard due to the fact that I travel so much, but whatever keeps this from happening again, I suppose.

I’ve already sent my stuff to insurance (please be quick, insurance company), and then he’ll get rescoped in 28 days to make sure he’s on the right track.

Thanks everyone, for all the good thoughts and well-wishes. Also a quick PSA- if your horse has a personality transplant, don’t just assume it’s your shitty riding and wait 3 months like I did to get it checked out.






19 thoughts on “The Verdict is In….”

    1. Ugh and yay are my exact sentiments. Glad there’s a reason behind the behavior change, hate that it took me so long to realize that and he’s been in pain.


  1. i’m not too surprised – ive never met a TB who didn’t have ulcers. theyre just little stress buckets that get fed way too much grain for a portion of their lives.

    gastro guard is so ridiculously expensive. when the lotto got real big around here we had a barn pool and my one barn friend was like “omg… 11mil each.. THINK OF ALL THE GASTROGUARD!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure- I mean, I know they can charge what they want because they’re the only ones with that specific formula, but COME ON. They would probably actually profit more if they dropped their prices a bit because it’s so far out of reach for a lot of people. If I didn’t have insurance on P, I would’ve been tempted to try the Abler route like so many others.


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