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!