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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010

    Default Colitis/IBD/Ulcers - so stressed out.

    Ok - tearing my hair out with my 5 year old. He had suffered a really bad bout of Colitis last year, and has never been able to come off a grain/hay cube diet, with everything soaked to mush for every meal.

    We give him Simethecone with every meal for gas (like Mylanta), and he's on Sucrulfate 2x a day.

    It's been almost a year, tried to take him off sucrulfate (slowly) - but he was back to full blown symptoms within days. Put him back on the full dose - and 2 weeks later he's still symptomatic right down to having some (small) ventral edema's. (Protien loss)

    He doesn't finish his meals, has bouts of what looks like colic (pawing, laying down) but seem to pass on their own within 30 minutes to an hour. He's in great weight, and has a pretty good shine on his coat regardless of all that. Very happy horse the rest of the time.

    I am thinking perhaps he has either IBD or Gastric ulcers as well. I know he has strictures in the colon, and I am not sure if he has any active ulcers back there. I worry that I'm dealing with gastric ulcers because he seems most bothered within 30 minutes of eating. I worry about IBD because he showed thickening of the small intestines while he was in the equine hospital - and that's not a symptom of colitis (Which we know he def. has/had).

    I'm trying to avoid the vet and handle it on my own as much as I can - the vet/hospital expense over the last year could have put one of my children through at least 1 year at a private college, and I will loose my husband if I keep spending as much as I have on this little guy - I think most people would have put a horse like this down by now, not many folks can really justify this amount of vet care.

    90% of the time the horse is perfect and happy, and I have been able to ride him and have some really relaxing rides - but the 10% of the time that he's not its gut wrenching, unpredictable - and it has me nervous all day long, every day. (Maybe I need the anti-ulcer meds?)

    Any ideas out there? Any idea's on how to better cope with it?

    I was thinking perhaps I should mix in a pro/prebiotic type supplement - "smart gut ultra" looked good on smart packs comparison charts. But I'm not sure if I can give that to him with sucrulfate - and I'm really afraid to try taking him off that again after the last episode. He does get 1 meal a day without it, maybe I could put it in that bucket?

    Sorry for the rant, I'm just soo stressed and tired over it. He's such a sweet boy, and young - would really like not to loose him. He's so happy and playful when he's feeling good - most people don't even believe me that he gets sick.

    Anyone have any ideas? (Or good people-ulcer-preventative ideas? marriage councilor?)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World


    I'm sorry that you are going through this. I just want to say, it might be worth having the vet at least do some blood work, I just found out my picky eater has kidney failure, so you don't want to mess with that.

    I had pretty good luck in the past with Succeed, and have heard good things about another product called Equi-shure. I would think you could give it to him in the meal without the sucrulfate.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010


    I'm so sorry to hear about the kidney failure - sending jingles your way.

    Your probably right about drawing another blood panel...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003


    Oh Lordy...colitis is a b*tch and a half to deal with. I went through it with one of my horses too.
    Have you considered taking him off grain 100% for good? I kept my gelding who had colitis off of grain and stem hay for 6 months, thankfully he did heal seemingly without damage left over.
    Grain and stem hay can bother a colitis horse even later on from what I know about it. When there's thickening, the hay tends to get caught in that part soon after eating and causes colic symptoms. And if there are any small pits left in the colon the grain gets caught in there too and can cause colic symptoms.
    Maybe try removing the grain and any stem hay if he's getting any? And keeping him on multiple smaller meals instead of 2 bigger ones?
    If he has stomach ulcers, try Maalox and see if there's an improvement there. If there is, he probably has stomach ulcers...if there isn't then you can probably save money on not having him scoped.
    I know what those vet bills are like. And yeah...close to a year's tuition for me too. And in our case...that was because nobody could diagnose what was wrong with him. We went through hell with colitis...hate it.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2010
    Farmington, MO


    Definitely sending jingles your way, this sounds like a nightmare and he's so young! I'm sure financially it's becoming a huge burden which isn't great for your pocketbook or for you mentally. These darn horses, we'll do anything for them!

    Anyways, I would definitely say blood work is the first place to start but maybe see if you could get a nutritionist out to see you. Try and split the fee with other people in your area to make it more cost effective. From a personal human standpoint I was having all these stomach "attacks" where it would knock me out for hours, felt like someone had a knife in my abdomen and it was getting to the point where I could work or be normal. I finally saw an acupuncturist since my doctor ran every test imagineable and couldn't find anything wrong with me, she coupled treatments with supplementation and establishing a diet for me. I slowly stopped having issues and have since then been able to come off all the supplements to lead a normal happy life.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    between the barn and the pond


    I am going to risk it and cross the horse/human barrier as I do not have any equine colitis experience. My mother deals with colitis and has for most of my 39 years. She must maintain a very rigid schedule or she just falls apart inside. When things are good she's great. When my BIL upsets her, all hell breaks loose. It makes her extremely ill for days. Like I wish I could just die type of discomfort.

    With a horse, I would so fear that I'm running a huge colic risk from the pain when he flares up. And then what? That is so scary and painful for you.

    Perhaps sitting down with the DH and committing to a plan is a good idea. If I, Katarine, can't find a workable, affordable diet plan for Dobbin, something he's been asymptomatic on for say 3 months, and at a price we can stomach, I agree we will reassess where he is, and either negotiate another 2 months to see if the latest diet tweak did it, or I agree that we will put him down.

    I totally feel where you are. I have a horse with an issue that if it flares again, if if if- I'll have some hard decisions to make and I will have to talk with my DH about.

    My very best wishes and I'm sorry I don't have more to offer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2006


    Don't have much to add, but at the hospital, sucralfate (Carafate) is at minimum a TID treatment but normally a QID treatment. Sucralfate coats the stomach, so I'm confused as to how it would be affecting his colon.

    If he isn't finishing his feed, my first though would be stomach ulcers. Of course, all the stress and pain from the colitis could have most certainly caused the ulcers.

    I have my mare on SmartGut and really like it so far. I don't think there is a SmartGut Ultra, just a SmartDigest Ultra. I don't have any experience with the SmartDigest. Of course, my mare is on SmartGut for maintenance and not to treat anything.

    I second (or third?) the recommendation for, at the very least, blood work to be run. I know it would be expensive, but I really feel like a vet needs to be called in. Thickened small intestine, edema caused by protein loss, colic symptoms...this screams vet help. I've seen these problems send horses to the hospital often.
    Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

  8. #8


    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses[/INDENT]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2003
    Staunton, VA, USA

    Default Where do you get your hay?

    You might send a sample of your hay up for nitrate testing. And have you tried adding some whey protein to the mush, about 20-30g per meal, eg about a tablespoonful. the whey protein helps a lot with colitis/IBD.

    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on
    New edition of book is out:
    Horse Nutrition Handbook.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2004
    Cairo, Georgia


    I have lived with IBS for years. I live on probiotics & all my horses live on them also. Just a cheap ounce of prevention. Have you tried succeed? I've heard that it works well on colon problems. Definately your horse should be on the probiotics though. The very best you can get. He should take them for the rest of his life.
    I have a friend who's horse has some narrowing of his small intestine (different problem I know) but has to live totally off of Equine Senior wet to a runny mush consistancy. They later added some shredded alfalfa or alfalfa cubes totally in a mush consistancy also. This horse immediately started feeling & looking better & has maintained on this diet for several years now. NO HAY at all. The vets did say he could have grass & he gets that sometimes but mainly a sparse paddock. Good luck with all of this.
    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006


    OP, you have a PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007


    Have you talked to your vet about one cup of psyllium husk daily?

  13. #13


    I have lived with IBS for years.
    Have you thought about worming?? SEriously, that's what mostly is the cause for IBS.
    Please go to this site:
    Just a little tidbit from there...
    In the U.S. diarrhea caused by intestinal parasites is the third leading cause of illness. Gas, diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, nail biting, mood swings, insomnia, dry skin, brittle hair, hair loss, weight gain, bad breath and muscle cramping are a few common symptoms. Because parasites can occur anywhere in the body, the symptoms can as well. Parasites contribute to major diseases including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, and rheumatoid symptoms, diabetes, some heart disease, asthma and others
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses[/INDENT]

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