Well, I think we have our answer as to whether Pie has ulcers. After one dose of UlcerGard (whole tube, same as GastroGard) yesterday, he is already much improved today. He's eating better, drinking more, and the quantity and quality of his manure (do only horse people care about the quality of poop?) is better, and he's just a lot more comfortable. Ears up, interested in things, not miserable. No pawing in the stall this afternoon, although slightly mopey. But not crabby or sore when groomed and on a walk-around. After another dose this afternoon, he was avidly eating his hay and disappointed that he didn't get his small grain meal.
Pie was out with the herd for 45 minutes today, and will be out for one hour tomorrow. He's still somewhat stressed that Red is turned out earlier - at 7 a.m. - so for now I'll keep Pie on one full tube of UlcerGard. After about a week, Pie will be turned out at the same time as Red, and the stress will go away, and we can ramp down the UlcerGard amounts. At Melissa's recommendation - from Paradigm Farms in Tennessee where my two retired mares and Norman-the-pony live - Pie will also start on Succeed to help his hind gut health.
I'm delighted that we seem to finally be figuring things out. UlcerGard and Succeed aren't cheap (in fact they're very expensive), but if they do the trick for Pie I'll be delighted and I expect he will be as well.
I had my first ride on Red since last Friday (when he was pretty unsound on his right hind after a ding to the front of his cannon bone). He seemed pretty happy about it and we did some walk work. We also observed a lesson where the horse was being lunged - Red is extremely worried about lunge whips and thinks if one is raised or cracked that he's going to be chased with it. He was able to observe without too much worry - the whip wasn't raised high or cracked, just trailed behind the horse and sometimes gently waved - his eyes got big a couple of times but he stayed standing with me on a loose rein. I was very proud of him and told him so.
On a sad note, a 33 year old QH is being put to sleep tomorrow. He's been doing very well medically, and his owner is very conscientious with his care, but he's been getting increasingly feeble and has had several episodes of getting down and not being able to rise lately. This morning I watched him go out to the pasture - he was walking very slowly and tentatively and seemed unsure of his balance. She's made the hard decision to not wait - he's not going to improve and getting stuck down is very stressful for him. It's great that he's got such a careful and considerate owner, who's done everything possible to keep him comfortable and healthy, but is stepping up to make sure he doesn't have to suffer. Sad, but it comes to all of us - people and horses alike - the important thing is having someone who cares and is able to be responsible when that's needed.