Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome
Years ago, when a horse became nervous, irritable, cinchy, dropped in performance level or went off feed we would often think it was a mental issue – just a bad minded horse. Purina® Ultium® Competition FormulaPurina® Strategy® Healthy EdgePurina® Enrich Plus®Purina® Equine Senior® ActiveActivAge® prebioticPurina® Outlast® Gastric Support SupplementUltium® Gastric CareRace Ready® GTStrategy® GX Professional Formula
Feeding And Managing Horse With Gastric Ulcers
Small adjustments to the management and feeding regime can help reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.
Split forage intake across the day:When eating forage horses will produce twice the amount of saliva than they would eating the same amount of concentrate feed. Ideally horses prone to EGUS should have ad-lib supply of hay or haylage. If your horse is prone to weight gain then you can replace part of their forage with oat or wheat straw. There is an association between EGUS and crib-biting and research has shown that limited forage intake increased the risk of crib-biting. You should however, pay close attention to the pH of the forage fed.
Contact us for advice on how to get the best from your horse
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Dodson & Horrell Ultimate Balancer
Sizes: 20kg | RRP: £39.30 | Daily feeding rate: 500g | Cost per day: £0.98|
This balancer is a low-calorie source of vitamins and minerals with additional digestive, hoof, recovery, immune, and protein support. It is ideal for topping-up natural vitamin levels in forage and is described as suitable for all horses.
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I Have Been Told To Give My Horse A Small Feed Before Exercise Is This Safe
Yes providing it is fibre based. The advice is to give a scoop of chopped fibre within 30 minutes prior to exercise. This recommendation is given to make sure that the fibrous mat within the horses stomach is maintained to reduce acid splashing about in the stomach. Acid splash in the squamous or non-glandular lining of the horses stomach is linked to gastric ulceration. Ideally this chopped fibre should include alfalfa as research has shown that alfalfa particularly is a superior buffer to acidity within the digestive tract.
Riding A Horse With Ulcers
A horse can be ridden while recovering from and receiving treatment for gastric ulcers. An exception to this would be that if your horse has been suffering from the illness for an extended period before diagnosis and is suffering considerably from bad health. If your horse is physically weakened, then riding is not recommended.Ride with less intensity.
It is important to note that stress can intensify the effects of stomach ulcers and inhibit their healing. Therefore, how you ride your horse while treating stomach ulcers is an important factor in their healing.
In other words, You should alter the intensity of your riding during the thirty-day treatment cycle. If you are preparing your horse for competition or working through foundational training, it is recommended to adjust your training program to eliminate as much stress from your riding sessions as possible. You should consider postponing your training during treatment and focus on just enough riding and movement to maintain conditioning.
Keep in my mind a healthy horse will always perform better. So, slowing down to allow your horse to heal from gastric ulcers may speed up your efforts later, once your horse is back to 100%.
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Speed Of Pain Alleviation
Your equine buddy might be battling an advanced ulcer, and suffering with a lot of pain and discomfort. Hence, to make the treatment process speedy, using high potency supplements would be a good idea. Therefore, make sure you evaluate the speed of pain alleviation rather than price or any other factor when selecting one.
Should The Diet Of Every Horse Be Low In Starch And Sugar
A key concept to consider is that it isnt just the level of sugar and starch within a feed but also how much of the feed is fed and how quickly it is consumed that is important. Forages and pasture are consumed more slowly than the bucket feed so even though they contain relatively high levels of sugar, it is consumed throughout the day rather than in meals which the horses digestive system has evolved to cope with. Obesity, PPID, laminitis all change the ability of the horse to cope with sugar intake and in these situations 10-12% non-structural carbohydrate in forage is recommended. A typical value for grass hays is around 15-20% and a very high level would be 35%. As horses should be fed 1.5% minimum of forage per day to supply sufficient fibre to maintain normal gut function it makes a big contribution to the overall NSC intake.
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Ulcers And The Best Ulcer Supplements For Horses
What you need to know about EGUS and ulcer supplements for horses.
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome frequently referred to as gastric ulcers in horses is a common problem.
Is your horse suffering from Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome ?
Identifying those horses with gastric ulceration can be difficult as early signs can be confused with colic. Horses with ulcers can show mild colic-like symptoms so learn to read the signs of EGUS.
Equine gastric ulcers have been recognised more in recent years and it is important to understand the condition, why it can occur and the symptoms to look out for, to help prevent the high occurrence for future horses.
Some typical clinical signs of EGUS may include:
- Poor or fussy appetite
- Mild or recurrent colic
Ulcers can affect any horse, but it is particularly prevalent in performance horses. They can occur in the horses stomach when the digestive acids come in contact with and attacks the protective lining of the stomach, mainly in the upper regions of the stomach.
The figures speak for themselves, with 60% of sports horses, 93% of racehorses and 50% of stabled foals showing to be affected by gastric ulceration.
Let us understand how the horses gut works
Horses are hindgut fermenters, therefore meaning that the large intestine is where breakdown of fibre takes place. Fibre is the main component of the horses forage which is broken down by microorganisms to produce essential nutrients that the horse absorbs.
Types of ulcers in horses
Naf Five Star Optimum Concentrated Feed Balancer
Sizes: 3.7kg, 9kg | RRP: Â£29.99 for 3.7kg | Daily feeding rate: 100g | Cost per day: Â£0.81 |
This concentrated formula is described as suitable for all from the family pony to performance horse. It contains key ingredients to optimise gut function, combined with optimum nutritional supplement specification that balances a high-fibre, low-concentrate, or performance diet.
More info at naf-equine.eu
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Best Horse Ulcer Supplements For A Healthy Gut
Is your mighty horsey showing signs of poor appetite or discomfort lately? Have you noticed it lying down more than usual, grinding its teeth, being reluctant to perform, or having loose feces? The best horse ulcer supplements can solve these problems and many more.
Looking after a sick horse can be challenging, especially if you havent had to deal with it before. Exploring multiple gut health supplements for horses can be intimidating too. This is why this article compiles all the necessary information you may need regarding which gut ulcer supplement you should buy for your horse. Keep reading till the end to find out the best horse ulcer supplements available in the market today.
Using Nutrition To Manage Horses With Gastric Ulcers
A horse owner recently contacted us about changing her horses diet. She stated that they are ¾ of the way through show season and he is just off his game. It seems that the horse was showing a lack of appetite and not finishing his grain. In addition, his disposition became rather grumpy and his performance level was suffering. In addition, a few times he had shown signs of mild colic over the past two months.
We suggested the owner contact her veterinarian, as it sounded like the horse may have an ulcer. The percentage of horses with ulcers continues to increase, and higher intensity levels of training are correlated with an increase in ulcer incidence. The ulcers often occur in the upper third of the stomach, which does not have a mucus layer and does not secrete bicarbonate that helps to buffer stomach acid. In general, horses managed with 24-hour access to well-established, high-quality pasture are less likely to have gastric ulcers however, studies have shown that the prevalence of squamous ulcers in horses exposed to pasture varies by regions of the U.S. and management. This is likely due to the fact that as a horse grazes, it produces large amounts of saliva, which contain the bicarbonate and amylase needed to provide a buffer for the stomach lining.
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Feedmark Mare & Youngstock Balancer
Sizes: 5kg, 10kg, 20kg | RRP: £50.99 for 5kg |
This balancer provides nutrients for mares in their last trimester, lactating mares and weaned youngstock up to 18 months old. It contains all of the essential nutrients required daily to optimise wellbeing and maintain normal growth in youngstock. The probiotic live yeast, Yea-Sacc, ensures efficient digestion and supports a healthy population of microbes in the gut. Added mint and peppermint powder soothe the digestive tract and stimulate appetite, while rosehips provide joint support and antioxidants that help to neutralise free radicals.
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Blue Chip Pro Feed Balancer
Sizes: 15kg | RRP: £36.70 |
Formulated for performance horses and growing young stock, this balancer supports consistent, steady growth rates for youngstock. It contains elevated levels of vitamins and minerals, and includes nucleotides for quality cell replication, pre- and probiotics, plus essential omega-3 and -6 oils.
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Feed Multiple Small Meals
For some horses that are exercised rigorously or are particularly hard-keepers, some type of grain or processed feed is necessary. If your horse needs grain to meet nutritional or energy requirements, its better to feed in multiple small meals throughout the day rather than two large ones. We generally recommend that you give your horse no more than 5 pounds of processed feed in one meal. Heres how this can help:
- smaller amounts of feed going through the system at a time helps to ensure that starches in grain are digested and absorbed in the small intestine before reaching the hindgut
- feeding more forage and less grain keeps undigested starch out of the hindgut where it can disrupt the delicate balance of microflora
Dodson & Horrell Go Lite Balancer
Sizes: 15kg | RRP: £20.88 | Daily feeding rate: 500g | Cost per day: £0.70 |
This low-calorie balancer is suitable for horses in need of a calorie-controlled diet and those prone to laminitis. It contains an effective level of biotin, zinc and methionine for hoof strength and growth, as well as natural antioxidants to support overall health, and protected yeast to support a healthy hindgut and nutrient uptake.
View now at
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Saracen Stamm 30 Stud Balancer
Sizes: 20kg | RRP: £27.50 |
This balancer, designed to support breeding and youngstock, is whole cereal free, low in starch and sugar, which makes it suitable for fast-growing foals and horses with more excitable temperaments. It can be fed alongside a forage only diet or alongside the existing ration to support nutrient intake. All types of breeding stock will benefit from the elevated inclusion of antioxidants, including vitamin E, which supports immune function, colostrum quality and can help to support optimal muscle function.
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Feed Natural Ulcer Supplements
Several natural dietary supplements have good evidence for helping to maintain stomach and hindgut health in horses.
You can find out more in our research review of the Top 16 Natural Ulcer Supplements for Horses.
Some ingredients that may be beneficial for ulcer-prone horses include:
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- 100% safe & natural
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What Products Should I Feed My Ulcer Prone Good Do
Posted on 10th July 2020 and written by Tracey Hammond
Article last updated: 14th November 2022
Review many horse feeds marketed towards the ulcer prone horse and you will notice that they are typically for the working horse or those that dont hold their weight. However, there are many horses with ulcers that are good do-ers which can make selecting the right feed trickier whats the priority with these individuals and the best feed for horses with ulcers managing the ulcers or promoting weight loss?
Feed A Low Starch High Fibre Concentrate Feed
Forage in the form of grass, hay and haylage should form the majority of a horses diet. If additional concentrate feed is required, either to provide energy for work or to maintain body condition, this should be one which is high in fibre and low in starch. Feeds containing cereals should be avoided and instead, those which use fibre and oil as energy sources are much lower in starch and more natural for the horse.
Any concentrate feed should be split into as many smaller meals as possible. Unless the horse is overweight, the addition of oil to the diet is beneficial as this can help buffer the horses digestive tract. For horses with gastric issues research suggests providing a diet with as low a starch and sugar level as possible. Research has found that keeping the starch and sugar content in the diet low is beneficial . It is also important to ensure that the horse is provided with lots of forage because this will promote chewing, which in turn increases saliva production .
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Baileys No19 Performance Balancer
Bag weight: 20kg | RRP: £34 | Daily feeding rate: 500g | Cost per day: £0.85 | BETA Approved: Yes |
This low-starch , low-sugar formulation is also low in energy, making it ideal for good-doers that dont need the elevated calories. It includes a superior amino acid profile to help build muscle and topline, without the need for additional supplements, and contains elevated antioxidant and biotin levels to meet the highest demands.
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What Is The Best Horse Feed On The Market
Top 5 best horse feed 2021 on the Market
- Manna Pro Senior Weight Accelerator Best Senior Horse feed.
- Start to Finish Cool Calories 100 Best Horse Feed for Performance Horses.
- The Missing Link 5-Pound Equine Plus Formula with Joint Support for Horses.
- Manna Pro Calf-Manna Supplement Best Horse Feed for All Age.
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What Is Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome describes the ulceration of the horse’s stomach lining. This comprises several diseases:
- EGGD- equine glandular gastric disease – ulcers in the lower, glandular part of the stomach where acid is secreted
- ESGD- equine squamous gastric disease -ulcers in the upper, non-glandular region of the stomach
- GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- PUD- peptic ulcer disease
The incidence of EGUS is particularly high in racehorses with as many as 80-95% diagnosed as having gastric ulcers. Research has shown that up to 37% of leisure horses and 63% of performance horses also suffer from this condition.
Ulcers are diagnosed using an endoscope and graded from 0 to 4. Horses with grade 4 ulcerations will have multiple large, deep bleeding ulcers.
Symptoms of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome include:
- Nervous or aggressive behaviour
- Poor performance
Not all horses with equine gastric ulcer syndrome display symptoms and in mild cases, it can remain undiagnosed.
So What Can We Conclude
There have been no negative effects in the squamous region of the stomach in horses of any age from feeding alfalfa
The only group where an effect with alfalfa chaff has been seen is weaned foals there were no issues associated with feeding alfalfa pellets which would still provide some natural buffering from the calcium they contain
Alfalfa chaff or chop is generally considered beneficial for adult horses at risk of or prone to EGUS
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Top Tips For Feeding The Good Doer Horse With Gastric Ulcers
- Make fibre the foundation of the diet, both long stem and short chop, topping up with a supplement or balancer to provide a balanced diet.
- Keep fibre intake as maximal as possible whilst managing bodyweight by using late cut hay and other lower calorie fibre sources such as Hi-Fi Lite, Hi-Fi Molasses Freeor Healthy Hooves Molasses Free.
- Feed regular forage feeds split into as many small meals as possible when your horse is not at grass leaving a larger quantity overnight.
- Feed a small alfalfa-based meal prior to exercising.
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Daily Turnout And Ad Lib Forage
Mimicking the horses natural lifestyle as much as possible is particularly important. Providing 24-hour turnout is ideal and the majority of horse and ponies can be worked and competed successfully whilst living out. If constant turnout is not possible, maximising the amount of time your horse spends in the field should be a priority. Any extra grazing time your horse has can have a positive effect on digestive health. Providing ad lib forage when stabled and out in the field when grazing is poor will ensure that the horse always has fibre available to eat. The chewing of this fibre will promote saliva production and aid the horses ability to buffer the effects of gastric acid.
Forage should also be available to the horse when travelling and in other potentially stressful situations, such as shoeing and clipping.
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