Gut Supplements

When I brought Annie home it was quickly discovered that she cribbed. While this was not disclosed it didn’t change my infatuation. The previous owner claims that she never cribbed before but I have a hard time believing that she started obsessively cribbing out of the blue.

As we moved farms the cribbing would vary depending on the hay quality/ quantity as well as stress levels. At our new farm my BO is the bomb and doesn’t make Annie wear a collar outside. As she almost always has access to hay or grass out there she rarely cribs. Inside however Annie will still crib – yes I have considered letting her live outside and no that isn’t where we are going right now as the delicate princess doesn’t like to be left outside. abgard

After discussing it with my vet I decided that due to some other signs I wanted to test out treating her for ulcers. While I wish I was made of money and could justify spending a small fortune on GastroGard I decided to test out AbGard first after doing some research. Annie has been getting a full tube for almost a month and I think that there has been improvement in her girthiness as well as cribbing.

As we move forward I plan to keep tubes of AbGard on hand for shows however I would like to find a daily option that can be offered on her grain that is more affordable.

abprazole_plus_sachets_and_sprinkle_granules-e1445230930282I have been exploring the AbPrazole “pop rocks” but I will admit that I am pretty skeptical… Do any of you have experience with these?

Other options that I have considered are: (images from SmartPak and google images)




So I ask you my blog friends – do you have any preferred ulcer prevention methods for a horse that has had a history or tendency to have ulcers?

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  1. Because Annie was race-trained, I would absolutely assume she has/had ulcers, as most racehorses and race-trained horses do. Roger had ulcers too, which was why he was slightly girthy and his coat looked like crap, and why he had a harder time keeping weight on. We tried the SmartGut supplement and it worked really, really well. Trainer/BO also keeps tubes of omeprazole on hand to administer before and after we travel off-property, and that seems to keep his tummy very happy!

    1. I would say that Annie was barely race trained and actually didn’t spend that much time at the track… Her coat looks incredible but she was a little thin. Regardless I opted for the treatment and then prevention option.

      In my experience providing a fed supplement before actually treating the issue won’t help long term. That said I haven’t gotten my mare scoped and opted to purchase the treatment instead of spending $$$ on the scope when she didn’t exhibit super strong symptoms.

      My plan post treatment is to provide the paste starting the day we leave for a show through the entire trip but I would like to provide some kind of daily support if I can find something that will work. We will see.

  2. My vet gave me a liquid supplement for McKenna. I think it was Gastrix. Smelled awful but she happily ate it and it helped with ulcer symptoms.

  3. in the past i’ve treated with a gastrogard course with success, and then maintained with daily u-gard supplements (i get both powder and pellets) with the expectation that we’ll probably do a full treatment annually…

    recently we just finished a 28 day abprazole pop rocks treatment and…. my mare is still ulcery. fml. my chiro (a former dvm) suspects the generic formulation of omeprazole used in all abler products (paste and pop rocks) is somehow less effective than the proprietary formulation used by gastrogard, which is crappy bc of the immense difference in price.

    however other barn mates have had better luck with both abler’s pop rocks and paste, so i’m thinking something else is going on that made my mare’s case somehow a little worse? or that she needs a little extra help getting over the ‘hump’ in recovery? anyway good luck!

    1. I have heard that you can use a full tube of UlcerGard in place of Gastro for treatment as it is the same thing but one is FDA approved for use in treatment and the other as prevention. UlcerGard is significantly less but nothing like the $13 for AbGard.

      I would assume that the Abprazole is probably more of a preventative as opposed to a treatment but again I am not an expert.

      1. abprazole is the same active ingredient as ulcergard and gastrogard: omeprazole. it’s simply the generic formulation vs proprietary. and abler advertises treatment doses vs. maintenance doses, and we did the treatment dosage (measured by weight of horse). you *can* use abler products as a daily supplement as well, tho there is some disagreement over whether it’s safe for a horse to be on omeprazole on long periods of time (i believe it affects things like magnesium absorption, but could be totally wrong about that).

        but yea, ulcergard and gastrogard are pretty much the same thing, just approved for different dosages. a month long course tho is about quadruple the costs of treating with the generic abprazole 🙁

        tho reading Karen’s comment makes me think i just need to try the abprazole for longer than 28 days? maybe? idk…!

        1. I guess what I’m curious about is if the paste is possibly more effective for some horses? It’s also possible the pop rocks need more time? I don’t know. I’ve been happy with the Abler AbGard paste.

  4. I gave Hampton a 40 days worth of the pop rocks last year when he was full of anxiety, grinding his teeth, and having tantrums and bolting, spooking almost daily (as you know, NOT like him at all!). They were easy to just put on top of grain and he ate them all. I noticed a difference in about a week and a half. After those ran out I went back to just regular U-Guard, and along with some time out of the ring, his behavior went away and now he is back to sweet old Hampton. So, I do think they made a difference!

  5. I would personally be careful to avoid anything with an acid reducer (usually magnesium based). It makes no sense to feed a short acting acid reducer (vs a long acting one like omeprazole for instance) with a meal which is the only time the horse really doesn’t need it and could cause rebound after the fact.
    I have seen several TBs at my barn really blossom on the Uckele GUT. I actually tried to give it to Stampede at one point, but he wouldn’t eat it when it was a powder. They have a pellet version now in addition to still offering the powder.

  6. I used the pop rocks on an OTTB I had a few years ago. They worked well. I also like to give them before and after trailering as well so I usually keep a bunch on hand. I ran out during Nilla’s injury, but will order more.

  7. We swear by Platinum Performance. Swear. We’ve used the regular PP Equine for years and it works phenomenally. I know they offer a few different digestive supplements. We’ve used BioSponge when Lucy was having issues and really liked it, but I know they have other options as well. I know my previous trainer has used Gastric Support and it worked really well on the ulcer-prone horse in our barn. They’re definitely worth checking out – they don’t get nearly the credit they deserve!

  8. For my delicate (outdoor) flower- I really like SmartGut for maintenance. He still gets GastroGuard during stressful times. Let me know how the AbGard works out!

  9. Oh girl…welcome to the world of the ulcer prone TB. I have probably tried 75% of the products out there. I have used the pop rocks with some success, although I don’t find them to be as effective as Ulcergard or my compounded Omeprazole/Ranitidine from the vet. Alex is a special pain because when he’s ulcery he stops eating, so feed thru relief is out. Succeed did nothing and the SmartPak supplements did nothing. Currently his daily supplements are GastroBalance from EnviroEquine and WildGold Premium Oil. When he travels he gets Omeprazole a few days prior, a tube of the compounded mix the day of and gradually tapering off Omeprazole after (I use pop rocks for this sometimes). This is the only way he can travel without completely going off his feed. He does get ulcer meds during other stressful times, worming, vaccines and injections or other stress, but otherwise just stays on the two supplements I mentioned. He also eats low starch, high fat feed and gets fed as much hay as I can make him eat. Ulcers are always worse during the winter as the pressure drops are hard on bellies. It’s probably less the former short race training and more the move down south that has her a little upset. Just my two cents, hope this helps!

  10. I used on the pop rocks on Fawkes when he wouldn’t gain any weight. I did two straight months of them and they worked like a charm. I didn’t scope either (like you I wanted to put the money into treatment and also was mostly looking for weight gain) so I can’t say anything for sure, but he put on weight and became less girthy in the first month.

    I tend to use ulcer guard for stressful things like a show, but the pop rocks were a super cheap experiment and I think worth a shot generally.

  11. Andrea from The Reeling has a bunch of herbal/natural supplements she uses for gut health. Might be worth reaching a t to her on the blog or FB for some ideas 🙂

  12. I treated Eli with Ulcergard for 28 days when I first bought him (also didn’t scope–his only symptom of potential ulcers was the girthiness) and then put him on the SmartCombo Ultra (has the SmartGut Ultra in it) primarily for the benefit of the Smartpak Colicare program. After the Ulcergard he was much less girthy, and the supplement seems to keep him that way … he’s still a little girthy, but then, he’s a weirdo.

  13. If you want a random/hippie/natural alternative…. I cleared up ulcers with a daily diet of:
    – 1 cup of aloe vera juice
    – 1 scoop of equine choice second gen. probiotic


  14. So, interestingly, I was talking to my vet tonight because I want to get my guy on something, and she told me her favorite thing to use is papaya extract. The downside is it has to be refrigerated after opening.