Horses with ulcers have a difficult time gaining and maintaining weight, fortunately ulcer treatment can radically change a horse from skinny to healthy. Owners often ask the question, how will I know if ulcer treatment is working? Luckily, knowing if ulcer treatment is working can be as easy as assessing your horse’s weight.
Improved Body Condition Score
My horse Oliver had ulcers. I have struggled putting weight on him from day one. It saddens me to say this, but for years I did not think that his inability to gain and maintain a healthy weight was a result of ulcers, but rather a result of high metabolism. He has always been a big eater, so I didn’t suspect ulcers. It wasn’t until recently when he suffered a bout of gas colic that his veterinarian suspected ulcers. I was desperate for him to feel well, so I immediately started him on omeprazole and sucralfate. Oh. My. Word. This horse gained weight within a week…in the middle of winter! Each day, I dreaded removing his blanket to find ribs and a poor topline staring back at me. Imagine my surprise when I pulled off his blanket to find almost covered ribs, and a round bum! Oliver’s body condition score drastically improved, and continues to improve daily. Our struggle is all too familiar among horse people. When a horse is receiving copious amounts of hay, quality grain, and lush pasture, yet still does not gain or maintain his weight, ulcers may be the culprit. I was fooled by his ravenous appetite, but, I won’t let Oliver suffer again.
Sucralfate and Omeprazole: Interactions
These two ulcer treatments do two completely different things. Most are familiar with omeprazole, which is a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI). This reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces. Sucraflate does not reduce acid production, but acts as a bandaid by coating the ulcers and allowing them to heal. Both are wonderful ulcer treatments, but must be given in a precise manner to avoid interactions. Because sucralfate only works when there is acid present in the stomach, giving at the same time as omeprazole would result in it being ineffective. Oliver gets sucralfate 1 hour before his breakfast and omeprazole with his breakfast. This way, his stomach is fully protected before he eats and there is not a chance for interactions with omeprazole.
Gaining and maintaining your horse’s weight can prove to be difficult if they are suffering from ulcers. Fortunately, ulcer treatment will help your horse not only gain weight, but also maintain. Proper administration of sucralfate and omeprazole will help to eliminate interactions and keep your horse protected.