Half of all horses have stomach ulcers, do you recognize the symptoms?
by Deborah Diks on Oct 22, 2021
Stomach ulcers are more common than most horse owners think. In fact, recent studies have shown that about half of all horses suffer from stomach ulcers. In racehorses, even 9 out of 10 have stomach ulcers!
Damage to the lining of the stomach
A gastric ulcer is damage to the lining of the stomach, often at the separation of the lower and upper part. This can cause unpleasant complaints for your horse.
If the ulcer is in the upper part of the stomach, the cause is often caused by diet or intensive exercise. In the lower part of the stomach, the ulcer is usually caused by stress or genetic predisposition.
With a scope you find out if your horse has a stomach ulcer
The only way to make a definitive diagnosis is through a gastroscopy. An endoscope (tube with camera) is used to look at the inside of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. For example, it can be determined whether there are stomach ulcers, how many and the severity of the ulcers.
If your horse has stomach ulcers, you will work with your vet to develop a treatment plan. There are different types of drugs for the treatment of stomach ulcers. Omeprazole inhibits stomach acid and sucralfate coats the ulcer to protect it from acid. Food supplements can also be used as a supplement to protect the gastric mucosa.
Whether the treatment has been effective is often checked with another gastric scan.
This is how you limit the risks of a stomach ulcer
The following factors have an effect on the development of stomach ulcers. By properly managing your horse's diet and living conditions, you can prevent stomach ulcers. How can you actually do that, try to prevent a stomach ulcer?
#1 Sufficient roughage
Roughage (hay, silage, lucerne and grass) causes your horse to chew a lot and as a result, he produces saliva. This saliva neutralizes the stomach acid. If a horse does not have enough roughage at his disposal, his stomach will become empty and the stomach acid will have a chance to be harmful.
In fact, if a horse is left without roughage for more than 5 hours, it can lead to an ulcer. So make sure that your horse has enough roughage at night and try to provide enough roughage during a longer transport, for example.
#2 Multiple feeds in one day
Additional nutrition (in addition to roughage) is necessary to provide your horse with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Depending on which feed brand you feed, you can calculate how much you should feed, so that your horse gets enough nutrients. It is best to spread this amount over 3-5 feedings.
#3 Avoid stressful situation
Practice stress management and minimize stress for your horse. Transport, competitions, changes in the environment, being in the stable for a long time or, for example, lameness can cause stress for a horse. During stress, the blood supply to the stomach is reduced, making the stomach wall more sensitive to stomach acid.
#4 Don't train on an empty stomach
If a horse does not eat for a long time due to training, damage to the gastric mucosa can be caused. During the training, the stomach acid is also pushed up by the pressure in the abdomen. This can also cause damage faster.
Even during a long ride it is important that you think about food for your horse.
#5 Be vigilant about medication
Watch out for medical treatments that can disrupt the stomach/intestinal flora (anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics or deworming). If your horse receives this for a long time (or too high a dose), stomach ulcers can develop. If necessary, you can use suitable nutritional supplements.
GastriPro is a supplement that supports the digestive system. Lots of horses huhregularly suffer from discomforts related to the digestive system. Think of thin manure, but also stomach ulcers and colic. GastriPro supports the maintenance of acidity in the stomach and contributes to intestinal health.
This supplement is recommended:
✔ To promote digestion and strengthen the intestinal flora
✔ To support acidity (pH) in the stomach
✔ For maintaining optimal weight
✔ At feed change, season change or barn change
✔ Improves the digestion of the roughage
✔ Optimizes feed efficiency
✔ Helps with thin/watery manure
✔ Supports recovery after training
✔ Can also be used for longer periods
Deborah | DressagePro