Wow. I thought of SmartGut as being the low cost alternative.... I fed it for a couple years and considered it a great value.
Guess I'm just cheap, but, the low cost alternative to what? If I'm correct it is not an alternative to ulcer meds if that's what you're comparing it to. My understanding is it is just something good for their digestive system to keep everything happy down there.
"The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp
One of the things that I'm really grateful to CoTH for is that my eyes have been opened to reading labels. Especially members like DeltaWave and JB who really clearly see how incredibly fluffed up most marketing is.
I once considered SmartGut after my horse had responded favorably to an ulcer treatment. I was so excited about having a new horse, I wanted to keep the tummy 'happy', but I wasn't sure if SG was hocus pocus or not. $1.36 per day is a lot to spend on a supplement, at least for me.
I read the ingredients, read all about each ingredient, and settled on buying a bag of slippery elm powder and changing my horse's feed from a daily beet pulp mash to a daily alfalfa cube mash. I only give slippery elm when my horse goes through something stressful, like colic from spring shots, or being given bute, or on stall rest, etc. Mostly it makes me feel better, but the ulcery symptoms of our past have never reared their ugly heads again, so something about our system is working well.
Smart Gut's product label is
Ingredient Per Serving Per Pound
Active Ingredients per 60 g:
L-Glutamine 5,000 mg
Calcium Carbonate 4,500 mg
Magnesium Carbonate 3,000 mg
Hydrolyzed Collagen 2,700 mg
Magnesium Silicate 1,700 mg
Deglycyrrized Licorice 1,500 mg
Mannanoligosaccharides 1,300 mg
Glycine 875 mg
Gamma Oryzanol 300 mg
Slippery Elm 300 mg
Marshmallow Root 250 mg
Orthosilic Acid (Silica) 35 mg
Lactobacillus Acidophilus 750 million CFU
Read the ingredients, read about the ingredients, educate yourself so you don't feel like you're just blindly feeding your horse 'stuff'. I did that for years, I won't ever do it again. Knowledge is power.
I switched to U-Gard (Kaolin, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Hydroxide Glycine, Diatomaceous Earth, Zinc Oxide, Methylcellulose, Silicon Dioxide, Dried Apple Pectin Pulp, Aloe Vera Gel, Sodium Propionate (a preservative), Iron Oxide, Natural and Artificial Flavors) and Ultra-Elite Digest. I cut the doses in half this month and I'm going to cut out the probiotics (Ultra-Elite Digest) completely.
The U-Gard is basically just Tums (calcium carbonate) with added kaolin, apple pectin, and aloe vera -- ingredients that some say are good for stomach health, but who knows. It would probably be just as easy to add a handful of Tums to his feed.
I'm willing to bet that most supplements don't do much of anything, but a lot of people (like myself) are afraid to stop them.
I feed U-Gard, Smart Calm Ultra, Smart Digest Ultra, and an extra 5,000 mg. magnesium to my ulcer horse. This program seems to be working really really well for her. Even the loose cow flop poop is completely gone now. We did do Smart Gut for awhile but I didn't really see any improvement in anything. I add additional oat flour if I think she needs it. I took her off the preventive omeprazole because I "think" it was contributing to a low magnesium level. No proof on that - just my hunch based on her behavior beginning to deteriorate. But with the products listed she's doing awesome. For how long - who knows. But at least for now that's what is working.
I used Smartgut and didn't notice any difference. My vet agreed with use of Calf-manna to get some calicium carbonate in the diet- this was in place of any other concentrates during hunting season. If I think the horse is having an ulcer flareup I go straight to ulcergard.
The product I had the best luck with is TractGuard. It's really inexpensive, and is basically just tums, yeast and electrolytes. Interestingly enough those are the only ingredients that are really proven to do anything for horse's digestion.
The nutritionist also said one of the best things you can do to prevent/minimize ulcers is to not ride your horse on an empty stomach.
I mix a pound of slippery elm bark powder, a pound of marshmallow root powder, a pound of fenugreek seed powder and feed a heaping ounce scoop of it in an alfalfa pellet mash (just one cup of pellets, lots of hot water) after riding at night. It is fairly inexpensive. I also give her daily Forco (probiotic) and she gets Ulcergard at horse shows.
Every once in a while, I'll also do a week of psyllium. The psyllium will form a gel in the hindgut and clean out excess acid and make a healing environment.
So far so good. She got ulcers once when she needed a course of bute for a bone bruise. They get them so easy.