Ulcers - Acupuncture diagnosis

Over the years, I've had many horses arrive with suspected stomach ulcers and upset stomachs which needed to be treated.   There are many and varied symptoms ranging from rough coat to skin sensitivity to bucking and severe behavioural issues.

Some of the tell tale signs for me can be lack of muscle development, soft oblique muscles (not firm and supportive) where a horse doesn't want to push up or has trouble with forward, niggling and disliking to be brushed or girthed up.

Having used various vets/chiropractors and vet/acupuncturists, they all appear to use this same method of Ulcer diagnosis as the video below.    Of course, you can also get your horse scoped (putting a camera down their stomach) but sometimes, in the first instance, this simple method can be the easiest, fastest and cheapest method to determine.  If in doubt, of course, have a health care professional to see your horse.

One interesting thing this Dr DePaulo in this video says is to immediately take horses off sweet feeds - feed with Molassis in it.   It is quite common practice for vets to advise that if your horse is having a stomach scope, to give them a large scoop of a molassis coated feed the night before - as it strips all the contents of the stomach out and leaves the stomach totally empty ready for a clear viewing the next morning.    It seems this advice is common knowledge across the Pacific.

So this then leads to the question to our feed manufacturers in Australia - WHY DOES EVERY FEED MIX (PELLET OR MUESLI) CONTAIN MOLASSIS IN AUSTRALIA?    I have continually had this conversation with every feed rep at every big show, exhibition and at any time.  In Europe, the feeds do not contain molassis and you see a lot less ulcer problems there than here.    

To counter this, we make our own grain mix and feed very little pelletted food and have no problem with ulcers or stomach problems (and their associated issues) at all.   But not everyone has time and there is no doubt that the convenience of a pre-packaged feed is incredibly helpful for most horse owners.

We'd love to hear from, and help promote, any feed companies who are creating feeds without Molassis - please send details to us via the contacts page and we'll provide a list of feeds as a resource and their contents.

Watch the video here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr05hMmLCY4

You should definitely consult your vet about options for treatment.   Like many, we use Panacur as a first stop for 3-5 days as it's a cheaper alternative than some of the specific ulcer treatments but it depends on the severity and the horse's reactions. Ulcers are also over diagnosed when there are often underlying conditions.  You should work with your vet to determine the best management program for your horse in conjunction with a no sugar, high roughage diet (sometimes this even means taking your horse off the grass and locking them up with unlimited hay - again, consult your vet).