After the ODE, Abbey’s attitude didn’t get better, in fact it got worse. I’ve wondered for a while whether she’s ulcers – many of her ‘quirks’ are classic symptoms and it’s estimated that one in three horses suffer from them.
So to cut a long story short, I had her scoped on Wednesday. She’s grade 2 ulcers (they are graded on a scale of 1-4) and is now being treated with a course of Peptizole.
The vet has also recommended I swap her chaff for Alfa-A, adding up to 200ml of linseed oil to her feed daily and giving her a bowl of chaff about half hour before riding.
Alfafa is know to have antacid properties as it is has a higher calcium content than grass based chaffs. The linseed oil is beneficial because it is “very mucilaginous and could potentially form a protective layer in the stomach” and the feed before riding will prevent acid splashing up and burning the stomach lining.
I’m conscious that the Alfa-A has more sugar and starch that her normal Thunderbrooks chaff has, and that the linseed oil is very high in fatty acids and is often used as a good way of getting a horse to gain weight. Abbey, however, is a very good doer and does not need any help gaining weight!
At the moment I am following the vets advice to the letter (I have paid for it after all!). As we are now heading into winter, her grazing will be getting less nutritious, so hopefully if I can keep the exercise up Abbey won’t put on too much weight. In the meantime I’ve my eyes peeled for an alfafa chaff that is low sugar and starch….
We’re four days into this routine and so far, so good. I lunged her on Thursday and took her for a walk around our fields yesterday. While she was still girthy yesterday, she didn’t pick up a hind leg and didn’t threaten to bite (her ears were still flat to her head!).
Today we kept our appointment for a dressage lesson, which went very well. Abbey was much less girthy and more focused than she has been for months. More on that in our next post.
The other thing that happened this week, was the uploading of the professional photos from the not-so-good ODE….I rather liked this one: