Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is a common condition and seems to be the flavour of the year, that can affects horses of all ages and disciplines. Understanding the causes and implementing appropriate remedies can help prevent and treat ulcers, ensuring the well-being and performance of our equine companions.
In my blog I want to give you the common causes of ulcers in horses and discuss both natural and other remedies to alleviate and prevent this condition. BUT I will say proventation is better than treatment and so if you have a horse that has been diagnoised with uclers (with a scope) then you need to get to the root cause and elevate that so it does not occur again.
Causes of Equine Ulcers:
Feeding and Diet:
Ensure a consistent feeding schedule with frequent access to forage to mimic the horse's natural grazing behavior.
Provide high-quality forage, such as hay or pasture, to promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of ulcers. It has been found that forage is a huge key in combating ulcers and they suggest that horses can go with out forage overnight but they need that access from 7am to 7pm.
Avoid overfeeding concentrates and high-starch diets, as they can increase acid production and disrupt the stomach's balance.
And finally going against the grain of what we know it is now suggested that you should give your horse a small amount of chaff at least half an hour prior to excerices in order it to combat the acid iu the gut.
Stress and Management Factors:
Minimize stressors in the horse's environment, including maintaining a stable routine, providing social interaction, and allowing regular turnout.
Consider using calming supplements or incorporating relaxation techniques, such as massage or acupuncture, to help reduce stress levels.
Intensive Training and Exercise:
Gradually introduce horses to rigorous training routines to allow their digestive systems to adapt gradually.
Provide frequent breaks during training sessions to allow horses to relax and digest properly.
Remedies for Equine Ulcers:
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera juice or gel can help soothe and protect the gastric lining. Consult with a veterinarian for appropriate dosage and administration methods.
Marshmallow Root: This herb has demulcent properties that can provide a protective coating to the stomach lining. It can be administered as a tea or in supplement form.
Slippery Elm: Similar to marshmallow root, slippery elm forms a protective layer in the stomach, aiding in ulcer healing. Administer it as a tea or supplement as directed.
A 1/3 cup of corn oil has been shown in a study with donkeys to assist with a coating of the lining of the gut.
Medications and Veterinary Treatments:
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): These medications decrease acid production in the stomach, allowing ulcers to heal. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate PPI and dosage for your horse.
Sucralfate: Sucralfate forms a protective coating over the ulcers, promoting healing. It is often administered in combination with PPIs for optimal results.
Gastroscopy: If you suspect ulcers in your horse, consult with a veterinarian who can perform gastroscopy to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the condition.
Equine ulcers can significantly impact a horse's health, performance, and well-being. By addressing the underlying causes and implementing appropriate remedies, including natural options and veterinary treatments, we can effectively prevent and treat ulcers in horses. Remember to work closely with a veterinarian to develop a tailored treatment plan based on your horse's individual needs. With proper care and attention, we can ensure our equine companions live a happy, ulcer-free life.