Friday, May 18, 2018

Bast Gets a Brain

Alternative title: Ulcer treatment is a miracle cure
A couple of days into Bast's stall rest from his violent fence interaction, I started him on Gastrogard. This was more than just a preventative action, though. I'd planned for months to start him on a full 28 day omeprazole treatment. His fence "altercation" only solidified my plan.

See, Bast had already been exhibiting a ton of ulcer symptoms. He was tight in the belly. He was a funny (not necessarily finicky) eater-- he trampled hay and spurned grass for clods of dirt, but hoovered up his grain. His nervous behavior and tendency to suddenly shut down also matched ulcer symptoms. With the changes in lifestyle in his imminent future, I knew we would have to treat now. So, I spoke with my vet and charted out a treatment plan. I would give him a daily dose of Gastrogard. Once his treatment was done, I would pursue a daily supplement or preventative.
"Dude?! Why would you choose dirt over this lush grass buffet?!" -- Pig, obviously
Last fall, I did the "nexium experiment" and noticed a positive change in Bast; so, I was pretty sure this would help. However, I knew the nexium dosage wasn't truly enough of the drug to really heal the ulcers. As expected, the moment I tapered the pills down the symptoms ramped up again (though they also never completely disappeared). Because of this, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Tracking his improvement was difficult. I didn't notice a real difference at the old barn. I was impressed by his behavior and ease at the new barn, but I don't think that was really due to the meds. (He had shown very nervous behavior at the old farm up to the day we left.) However, a couple of weeks into the new barn leaves me positive the Gastrogard was a necessary treatment.
Sign of improvement #1? Calmly eating grass and not bashing through this fence...
I've been constantly impressed by Bast since ramping up work with him recently. He's still a nervous internalizing horse, but he doesn't jump right to Level 100 Panic Mode. He takes a moment and actually thinks. He's breathing, not just hiccuping, in stressful situations.

In other words, he's acting like a normal horse coming off the track into training. Thank god.
"IDK what we're doing, but I guess I'll give it a try?" -- Bast
"Don't fuck this up, kid." -- Pig
At the suggestion of the vet, I began ponying and lunging Bast regularly to help the hematoma in his hind end work it's way out. With every interaction, I've been extremely pleased by Bast's level of attention and willingness to play the game.
Ears and eyes on me, right where they should be!
I'm so excited to take this new horse back to real work! We took a step in that direction this week, when I finally deemed the little guy sound at all three gaits. Once that milestone was passed, there was no reason not to hop back on him. So... I did.
💖💖💖
He was a complete star, even when we left the ring to walk around a soggy, hilly field in a drizzle. I'm so happy with this champion young horse and his great brain. Hopefully we can keep his confidence up and we ramp back into work!

Anyone else notice a huge difference with ulcer treatment? Have you gone in for the whole gastrogard treatment before?

14 comments:

  1. I’m so glad he is back to being normal and willing to work for you! My mare started showing sings that worried me at the end of winter so I started a full course of Gastroguard and she returned to her normal self pretty quickly.

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    1. Pig came out of winter super ulcery a few times. In no time at all, some ulcergard fixed him right up!

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  2. Such a relief to have him settling so well at the new place and with your new management plan. Hopefully it’s smoother sailing from here! I treated Charlie for ulcers after he came off the track mostly to check that box off, and have treated him one other time too for similar reasons. In neither case did he show much of a difference. Honestly I think he’s about the least ulcery horse I’ve met... which I guess is a nice thing haha

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    1. I did a treatment the moment Bast stepped off the trailer and into my life, too. At that time I didn't see much of a difference. It's so interesting you they react! Charlie's so emotionally stable. I'm jealous! Haha

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  3. I love this so much!!

    And I've never dabbled in ulcer treatments before because the horses lead such a cushy life for the most part. I've definitely pondered it for Q though and still wonder about starting it once I can guarantee seeing her daily.

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  4. I did the nexium experiment, and I'm so glad Bast has made so many positive changes with gastroguard! I was too cheap to go straight there. Did you pick out a post-treatment supplement? It seems like there are a billion and they're never very similar, so I'm always looking for people's opinions.

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  5. So glad he's got his brain reliably back in his head! I did a few weeks of gastrogaurd with Bobby when I first got him back followed by the blue pop rocks and it was like his spastic brain immediately settled down. He went from pawing to China and not eating at shows to hanging out without a care in the world all day long cleaning out his hay net. I did the Nexium experiment with Opie a couple months ago to see if it would settle him down outside, but I didn't notice any difference.

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    1. cause Opie is special :) LOL....I am glad Bast is coming around and finally got his brain from the wizard:) HA he looks very happy at his new barn in all your photos! YAY

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  6. Ulcerguard is certainly one of my go-to's. As much as Amber isn't really ulcery or crazy, I've seen plenty of other very "wild and crazy" horses that have done a complete 180 once they've been on ulcerguard even just 2 days, and their owners did the 1 month loading dose then down to the daily after that. And now I have Amber on u-guard pellets because she's gonna be stall-bound for a while lol. So glad he's doing really well on it so far! I hope he continues to improve!

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  7. Ahh I'm so glad things are working out with him, I was so worried from the moment you sent me that video of him going over/through the fence. Ulcers definitely make sense, and it seems like ponying with Pig has given him some confidence too. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly from now on, can't wait to hear more about how he's going undersaddle!

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  8. This is great news! Hoping he gains for confidence from his big Pig brother. Curious what follow - up supplement you chose? Hampton seems to do the best on G.U.T. but I am always curious about other options.

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  9. Speaking from personal experience - ulcer pain is horrific and has landed me in the ER before (before I was ever diagnosed or treated for ulcers). I’m personally not at my best when in tons of pain (see raging biotch) and I have no doubt that our pony friends are similarly affected. I’m glad it’s helping him so much!

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  10. Holy geez have I done the whole Gastrogard thing. The entire rehab process for my OTTB took three to four months. She's on TractGard right now as maintenance and that seems to be working pretty well

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