Modern-Day Stress and Ulcers

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When we discussed writing about ulcers again, we worried about repeating ourselves. After all, subscribers now have access to all our back issues online.? But, we ultimately decided the topic of ulcers was too important to let go.

No, tHere's not a lot of new research around ulcers, and there are even fewer over-the-counter products on the market, making your choices easier. However, the number of confirmed cases of equine ulcers continues to rise. it's certainly not just in racehorses anymore. Even backyard horses are being found with these painful stomach lesions.

Associate Editor Margaret Freeman feels very strongly about the topic. ?I feel we can't hammer home the ulcer issue enough,? she said. ?Before the year 2000, I thought that the noise being made over ulcers was complete hooey, but I've come 180 degrees, and now I'm almost messianic about them.

?Part of my experience was being located close to Fairfield Equine (Connecticut), where they've done excellent work on ulcers.? The barn I was in then, which was very well managed, with good grass turnout, had 16 horses, about half of them non-competition horses.? Over a period of three years, 12 of the horses were scoped at Fairfield and 11 had ulcers.

?My own horse then, whose only ?symptom? was bad shying at times, turned out to have level-3 ulcers.? His stomach looked like the craters of the moon.?Within a week of being on Gastrogard, his shying was cut by half.

?I feel many people just haven't really paid attention and don't understand the many aspects of ulcers.?Any time we can find a way to approach them again, we will be helping horses.?

Dr. Grant Miller agreed. ?In my practice, I sometimes feel like I'm forcing clients to believe me when I tell them I believe their horse has ulcers. But once they try the medication, it's like they have a new horse.

?Some have even come back to me with tears in their eyes over the guilt they experience when they realize that their horse had been condemned to a life of ulcers right under their nose the whole time. For many of them, they disciplined the horses for acting out, when all along it was a medical issue plaguing the horse.?

My own mare definitely battles ulcers, and I didn't even realize it at first either, thinking she was simply misbehaving. SHe's a nervous mare anyway with nervous-habit vices like weaving. And, because of the damage she inflicts on her body, sHe's on long-term devil?s claw, which has recently been determined to cause ulcers, and sometimes firocoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is supposed to have a lower risk of ulcers than bute.

But using one of the over-the-counter liquid ulcer remedies in our chart worked like a charm and made me a believer, too.

Cynthia Foley, Editor-in-Chief