Wednesday, February 1, 2012


My poor mare had quite the day yesterday.

She got it from the front (camera scope up her nose and into her belly.)

She got it from the back (rectal exam including ultrasound of ovaries and uterus.)

And she got it from the middle (abdomen fluid sample taken from middle of underbelly.)

We spent over four hours at the vet. She was in the stock sedated most of the time, except for an hour she spent in a stall trying to absorb the water in her stomach so that they could scope her again. They tried flushing out the water but that didn't work.

The reason she had this appointment is because her symptoms, although better, have not gone away.

Here is what we found out: Loretta is stuck in a heat cycle. She showed a lot of edema and follicular activity on one of her ovaries. Sometimes mares can't ovulate due to the shortened hours in the winter, it's like she went into heat this fall and never got out!

The view this a.m. after I fed the horses....a peaceful snowy morning.

Although difficult to assess ulcers below a certain line in the stomach because of water in stomach, there were signs of a stage one ulcer (the yellowing corn looking scabs, some reddish skin.)

They were concerned that her secum (fermenting area between guts) was very full. They also thought it odd that her stomach was not moving the water out into the intestines.

My poor baby eating her breakfast this a.m.

My poor girl looks so thin and her stomach is very tucked up as she could not eat for 24 hours before this appointment. The last month and a half have been tough for her. Are her symptoms related to the stuck heat cycle, or the ulcer? Is one causing the other? The vets had several recommendations. GastroGuard treatment- which is very pricey but will get rid of the ulcer. Another suggestion, try taking her off all grains and starchy foods, limit stress.....see if the ulcer/s will heal on their own. Try Regumate hormones to help with the heat cycle.

At this point I am going to think about it and discuss options with other professionals that have helped me with this mare. I never thought Loretta to be a nervous type of horse but these vets said that in the time they spent with her they felt she really fits the ulcer profile (age, body type, personality......) she also had a pretty big move this past November (leaving the ranch and moving to our place with My Boy....) perhaps this was just enough to set off an ulcer.

When she is having an episode, we don't Banamine her any more. We just watch her and make sure her colic symptoms don't involve anything that could hurt herself. She usually works through it in about 24 hours (off and on symptoms. during that time.) They have seemed milder the last few times.

What is your experience with ulcers? Or mares that have become "stuck" in heat?

Another strange thing I noticed Loretta doing this past week while eating her hay....every few bites she'll take a crunchy bite of the ground (which is packed frozen slushy snow/ice.) Has anyone seen a horse do that? Is she craving a orchard grass snow cone?

So although I got answers, I am still asking questions.  Thank  you for your advice and thoughts and prayers for Loretta!

I will keep you posted. Have a great week!! Next time I will tell you the story of how we had to catch My Boy last week!

Ranch Girl


cowgirljlynn said...

Poor Loretta, sounds like you finally got some answers. Love Auntie

fernvalley01 said...

you have got me on this ! I soo hoped it was a dental issue, it did kinda fit . Though the hormonal iussue makes sense as well. Poor darling! I hope you find a good course of treatment that fits her and you and she is on the mend soon . If you use Regumate , be careful to wear gloves girl!

dusty devoe said...

Hopefully this will help ease some of your worries.
Keeping you both in my prayers.

Sares said...

Man, if it's not one thing, it's another. Do you have any hair left or has it all been pulled?! I feel so bad for you, it sucks when you have an animal ill and don't know how to help them.

Heidi said...

I know several horse who like to dunk their hay in water as they eat. Maybe she would like to be by water to wet her hay but is using the snow as the next best thing?

Ashley said...

I have a mare who is pregnant and in the beginning of December she started showing colic signs and being very uncomfortable. I had the vet out and we took a good bit of blood samples to make sure everything with the baby was okay - and it was. My vet contacted our university and they said not to rule out ulcers. I have insurance on her but the deductible to get her scoped was $250 and I didn't feel like paying it plus I didn't feel like stressing her out having to haul her long distance to a vet that has a scope. My vet's office carries a generic version of gastroguard. Its $110 for a 30 day supply...its a powder version of the omeprazole. Way cheaper that the actual gastroguard. My vet warned that it doesn't work on all horses so not to be disappointed if we didn't notice a difference. But we did. I have her on the maintenance dose which is just 1 scoop 1x a day - that is what gives you 30 days worth. It worked wonderfully for my mare, she is so much happier and comfortable. The treatment dose is 3 scoops a day so I guess that gives you days worth for $110...probably still cheaper than the regular GG. Not a lot of vets carry the generic. I think it's only one company that actually supplies it to the vets but I could find out who they are so maybe your vet could get a supply in. Email me if you have any questions!
~ Ashley @

Laura said...

Oh no! Poor Loretta! I hope she feels better soon...

Rusty had ulcers, due to a stressful situation at a barn he was at. There should be a generic paste version of gastroguard - I forget the name, but it is just omeprazole paste in a wormer-like tube. It was a lot cheaper than gastro-guard. I didn't have to use it long term though - just a couple of weeks, if memory serves.

Hope you can get some answers/options and get her feeling better soon.

strivingforsavvy said...

Several years ago my husband's horse had to have colic surgery. Ever since then he has dunked his hay in water as he eats. He never did this before. I am wondering if she is eating snow and ice as she eats to try to wet her hay too? Does she have water nearby? Maybe try feeing her next to the water and see if she dunks it. It must go down easier that way.? I sure hope you find the answer to what is bothering her. She is so lucky to have you!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Oh boy...Thanks to Moon popping a high ulcer last summer, I have had to learn more about ulcers than I ever wanted to.

After all of my reading and research, this is what I am doing for him;

No oats or rough, irregularly shaped or granular feeds or supplements of any kind.

No molasses (or as little as possible!).

2 oz./per day of the best Aloe Vera juice or gel you can find.

Add a balanced rice bran, ground flax supplement (I feed 1/3 cup of MoorMan's Healthy Glo).

Slippery Elm or Marshmallow Root are also beneficial as is Licorice Root...Here's an article on them for you...

I have not used the SE, MR or LR yet, because by the time I realized Moon actually had an ulcer, he was already coming out of it.

Now...If you are uncomfortable with the do it yourself holistic approach, I recommend OxyMax..

OxyMax is an all natural feed supplement that helps balance the G.I. tract and promotes healing of both the fore and hind guts. No other product does this.

I use a couple of other products that I feel are comparable to OxyMax, so I have not switched to this product...but since the products I am using are comparable and are working, this should work just as well.

OxyMax also produces a paste medication to treat ulcers and has broken them down into treatments for the fore gut and the hind gut, as each needs to be treated differently. The foregut typically needs to have the acid reduced and the hind gut needs a very high acid level for it to heal. AND they are much cheaper than GastroGuard.

My problem with GastroGuard does nothing to actually HEAL the gut or balance the acids. It simply coats the gut and reduces the acid in the foregut. If the body can heal itself it works. If the body is incapable of balancing itself doesn't work and is a waste of money.

baystatebrumby said...

Oh Ranch girl, I am so sorry that Loretta ended up having to undergo all those tests. Poor thing! At least now you have knowledge. I never even knew that could happen to a horse--stuck in a heat cycle? Cripes, one more thing to fret about. Poor Loretta. I'll be curious to see what kind of diet you choose for her. But yes, my horses and her herdmates eat snowcones all the time. they nibble hay then take a bite of snowcone, eat more hay, and maybe an ice chunk or two. I will be keeping a close eye on you two.

Jan Blawat said...

I had a mare I was trying to breed several years ago who would get stuck in a heat cycle. All it did was make her totally obnoxious, she'd back up and pee on everything. Including people. The vet gave her a shot of something to release the follicle, she was bred, and after she'd had her baby I had her for another 15 years and she was fine. No, actually she was always obnoxious but I couldn't use being in continual heat as an excuse. No ulcers, though, and no colic. I wonder if the continual heat in Loretta's case could be a result of other problems instead of the cause of them?

Desert Rose said...

I would definately be dunking her hay in water...I was told to soak it for an hour so it gets good and wet. The forever heat cycle baffles me however the way Lady acts when she is in heat would make me want to shoot one of us...Lady or me...not you ;)))
Hope Miss Loretta is felling better soon!

T&DJohnson said...

I am a fan of the holistic approach that Browneyed Cowgirl mentioned. I will try to see if I can find the name of the woman who I used to get my supplements from. Her first name was Leta I beleive but I am having trouble remembering the last name. It almost seemed like she was a horse whisperer so to speak, although it felth hokey, her reccomendations always did the trick, from nutrition imbalances to illnesses. If I can find anything i will let you know.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Everyone, thank you so much! I am exploring some of these options!!