Thursday, April 18, 2024

Best Grain For Horses With Ulcers

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Contributing Factors To Equine Glandular Gastric Disease :

How to Feed a Horse with Ulcers
  • NSAIDs
  • It is thought that some bacterial species could contribute to EGGD, for example Streptococcus bovis.
  • StressMany studies have suggested that the incidence of EGUS increases if the horse is exposed to stress. Travelling, changing management, changing environment, competition and hospitalization can cause stress. Some studies have correlated the reduced water in-take with increased prevalence of gastric ulceration.
  • In Addition To Offering Forage Free

    • Avoid oats and other cereal grains . Starchy feeds can lead to ulcers by stimulating stomach cells to produce more acid, as well as encouraging acid production through bacterial fermentation. In addition, grains move through the stomach quickly, leaving an empty stomach that is vulnerable to acid.
    • Feed beet pulp instead of cereal grains. It has as many calories as oats without the propensity for acid production found with starch.
    • If you feed extra fat, choose the right type. Vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oils, are the most popular fat sources but they promote inflammation due to their high omega 6 content. Instead, choose vegetable sources that are high in omega 3s such as flax or chia seeds, to actually reduce the inflammation experienced with ulcers.
    • Provide high-quality protein. Legumes such as alfalfa, soybean meal, and clover will complement the rest of the diet, offering enough amino acids to allow for proper maintenance and healing. Plus, alfalfa hay should be offered to any horse who is prone toward developing an ulcer because it is an excellent buffer.
    • Feed the hindgut microbial population. Fermentation products and yeast feed the microbes living in the hindgut . This makes digestion more efficient and promotes B vitamin synthesis to heal the digestive tract.
    • Offer additional B vitamins. Stress uses up B vitamins at a rapid rate. Offer a B-complex preparation that does not have added iron .

    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%.

    Recommended Reading: Sample Meal Plan For Ulcerative Colitis

    Why Does Alfalfa Contain More Calcium Than Grass Forages

    Alfalfa has really deep roots about 3 to 4 metres and the calcium at this depth in the soil is more available for absorption. This means that alfalfa plants can take up more calcium than grass chopped alfalfa contains between 30 and 50% more calcium than grass forages. Early studies suggest that omeprazole is reducing calcium absorption in the horse as is seen in humans and in Swanhall et als study, they recommend using bio-available calcium sources in the diet to help counteract this effect. Plant based sources of calcium such as alfalfa are much easier for the horse to absorb than inorganic sources such as limestone flour.

    Unlimited Access To Forage

    Best Grain for Horses with Ulcers

    Horses evolved as grazing animals and are designed to have forage constantly moving through their digestive systems in fact, in the wild, horses eat for about 16-18 hours a day. Because of this, their stomachs constantly produce stomach acid . Chewing hay stimulates the production of saliva which is a natural antacid for horses. In order to counteract the amount of acid in the stomach, horses benefit from consistent access to free choice forage so they are frequently chewing and making saliva over the duration of the day.

    Make sure that your horse constantly has access to forage, such as hay or chopped hay. In order to make the hay last throughout the day, particularly if you have a horse who eats quickly or you have an overweight horse who eats smaller amounts of hay, it is a great idea to feed meals every few hours or use a slow-feed hay net to slow your horses rate of consumption. If your horse is munching on hay 24/7, there will be plenty of saliva to protect the digestive tract. In your horses stall, the Gatsby Hay Bag Slow Feeder or the Shires 2 Tone Haynet are popular options, meanwhile, outside in the pasture, The NibbleNet Nibble-Go-Round or the Hay Chix Small Bale Net work well. If your horse is an easy keeper or has insulin resistance, you may want to try feeding lower-quality hay in higher quantities so that they still get the benefits of free-choice forage.

    Gatsby All Natural Slow Hay Feeder

    Recommended Reading: Oral Antibiotics For Leg Ulcers

    Can An Ulcer Heal On Its Own

    In the vast majority of cases, an ulcer wont heal on its own and your horse will need some sort of intervention, either medicinal or natural. That said a very small percentage of horses will recovery completely on their own without any sort of treatment. While a small number of horses will recover on their own its better to presume they wont rather than presume they will.

    Diagnostic Tools And Challenges

    While there is a long list of behavioral and performance indicators that can point toward the presence of ulcers, equine veterinary medicine relies on a strong set of diagnostic tools, led by gastroscopy, to definitively confirm, then grade ulcers. Dr. Davis is quick to point out that gastroscopy is a necessity when ulcers are suspected to avoid medically treating suspected ulcers when something else entirely could be going on. For every horse that gets prescribed medication for gastric ulcers without ever taking a look inside their stomach, I always ask myself How do we know if that is a correct treatment? How do we know exactly what condition is going on? When do we stop the medication and what medication would we use? Diagnosis is quite literally a guessing game in the absence of gastroscopy. Gastroscopy allows for a thorough evaluation of the stomach, grading and localization of the ulcers, as well as assessment of the proximal small intestine , confirms Dr. Belgrave.

    As the gastroscopy continues, Dr. Davis outlines the next steps. Well pass through the pyloric sphincter in the pyloric antrum into the small intestine. Well sometimes take a biopsy of the stomach or the small intestine, and well do that either in the case of a very ill horse or when the stomach looks really inappropriate. This will also happen in a follow up gastroscopy 20 to 35 days following the beginning of treatment.

    Also Check: Ulcerative Colitis Is It Deadly

    Changing Gastric Care Through Horse Feeds

    The Nutrena® brand changed the feed industry over 15 years ago with the debut of the original SafeChoice® Horse Feed, the first-ever controlled starch horse feed to hit the market. By controlling the starch and sugar content of the feed, the Nutrena® brand is a leader in promoting a healthy digestive tract from front to back. Through the multiple feeds now available in the SafeChoice® product line, the synergistic use of prebiotics, probiotics and organic trace minerals was also pioneered. All of these innovations come together to ensure the entire digestive tract is working at peak efficiency to support digestion, immunity, and overall health.

    What Is The Best Horse Feed On The Market

    How we Prevent Ulcers in our Horses | Horse Care and Management

    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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    Prescribe Omeprazole To Treat Ulcers

    The main treatment for gastric ulcers is Omeprazole. Omeprazole is an acid reducer. Because the equine stomach produces acid around the clock, Omeprazole has significant benefits. In a serious case of gastric ulcers, Omeprazole is usually administered for at least thirty days.

    Now here is where things get tricky. It is important to consult a veterinarian. If your horse is on a thirty-day regimen of Omeprazole, you do not want to stop administering the drug cold turkey.

    Why is this a problem?

    When the treatment with Omeprazole is stopped suddenly without tapering the dose off, it can result in the horses stomach going into overdrive, producing acid. This results in a much worse reoccurring case of gastric ulcers, not the desired outcome!

    Secondly, extended use of Omeprazole can result in your horse suffering dramatic weight loss and loss of body condition. This occurs due to a lack of digestive acids to begin the digestive process so the horse can absorb the needed nutrients from his feed.

    As you can see, there is a delicate balance here that needs to be achieved, and if you lack the necessary experience to strike that balance, you need to consult a vet.

    Tips For Feeding Horses With Gastric Ulcers

    Gastric ulcers, are now recognised as a common disorder in horses and ponies and often be a huge concern for horse owners.

    But what can we do to help manage ulcers and keep our horses and ponies happy? Here are some of our top tips for managing your horses nutrition when prone to gastric ulcers:

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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

    Provide Plenty Of Water

    How To Choose The Best Ulcer Supplement For Horses ...

    One study showed that daily hay intake and body weight of horses fell significantly with increased water restriction during a 3 week period, and also the time spent eating decreased as less water was provided8. Decreased eating will lead to decreased saliva production and therefore less alkaline saliva to buffer the stomach acid. This increases the risk and severity of gastric ulcers. For horses in training, take care to avoid repeated oral administration of hypertonic electrolyte replacement pastes or solutions , as this has been shown to increase the number and severity of gastric ulcers9. If electrolytes need to be given after exercise, try to administer with a small meal to help avoid ulceration. Learn more about choosing the right electrolyte for your horse.


  • Murray MJ et al. 1996. Factors associated with gastric lesions in thoroughbred racehorses. Equine Vet J 28: 368-374.
  • McClure SR et al. 2005. Gastric ulceration in horses exposed to training and activities typical for recreational showing. AAEP Proceedings Vol 51.
  • McClure SR et al. 1999. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in show horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 215: 1130-3.
  • Reese RE and Andrews FM 2009. Nutrition and dietary management of equine gastric ulcer syndrome. Vet Clin Equine 25: 79-92.
  • Vervuert I 2016. How to feed horses with gastric ulcer syndrome. AAEP Proceedings Vol 62.
  • Recommended Reading: Is Green Tea Good For Ulcers

    Nutritional Supplements For Gut Health

    Natural dietary supplements can be an effective way to enhance your horses feeding program and promote gastrointestinal health.

    There are many well-researched options to choose from. Some supplements are beneficial for preventing gastric or hindgut ulcers while others support overall digestive health.

    Options for supplements to reduce ulcer risk include:

    • Tumeric and Devils Claw
    • Herbal Blends

    Strategically Feeding The Ulcer

    What does an ulcer-prone horse look like? The first thing that comes to mind is the racehorse. He or she is young, travels often, runs its heart out and is fed massive amounts of feed in one day from the very beginning. This assumption is correct, since racehorses have the highest rate of ulcers at 90%.

    But the ugly truth is it could be your horse, too. After all, 60 to 90% of all performance horses suffer from gastric ulcers, many of which do not show symptoms. So how can we manage ulcers from day-to-day? Focus on the most important management practice: the diet.


    For any horse, especially the ulcer-prone type, hay should always be available. Ulcers tend to flare up when the stomach is empty, and because we often feed two to three structured meals a day, this can happen frequently. Providing hay 24/7 allows the horse to munch all day, which produces more saliva and naturally buffers the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Additionally, feeding a forage like alfalfa, which has higher protein and calcium levels, can help maintain the integrity of the stomach lining.

    If you have an overweight horse, consider providing it with a lower-calorie forage, like prairie hay, that will not add excess calories but will still provide the same benefits mentioned above.

    Reduce Starch

    Be Strategic

    Avoid Stress

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    Turn Your Horse Out To Pasture More Frequently

    In addition to this important step in treatment, there are several more actionable steps we can take to hasten your horses healing. If at all possible, turn your horse out more frequently. Remember, the horses stomach is small and produces acid continually. Consuming small meals more frequently helps to regulate this. 4. Stop or Drastically Reduce the Use of NSAIDs

    If you extensively use NSAIDS on your horse, your vet will direct you to reduce their use or eliminate them drastically. That is because NSAIDs are well known to irritate the stomach lining.

    Sensitivity In The Girth Area

    How to Manage Horses With Ulcers by Triple Crown Feed.

    If your horse is fussy when the girth is tightened, dont assume hes just being difficult or doesnt want to be ridden. Girthiness is also a sign of ulcers in horses. Though some might think that the stomach is located in the girth area, it is actually the hindgut that extends up the length of the underside of the belly, all the way into the girth area.

    In one study, 92% of horses with girthiness were found to have gastric ulcers.

    Read Also: How To Check A Horse For Ulcers

    How Diet Helps Egus In Horses

    If your horse has ulcers caused by faulty muscles at the entrance or exit to the stomach, there is little you can do to prevent ulcers. Foals often grow out of the condition, but adult horses may need surgery to relieve the condition completely. In any case, you will need to take steps to manage the volume and acidity of the acids in your horse’s stomach.

    The best way to prevent a healthy horse developing gastric ulcers is to choose a feeding regime designed to reduce stomach acidity. Feed little and often, and offer plenty of low energy hays and forage to prevent your horse getting an empty stomach. Allow your horse plenty of turn out time, and if you can’t, then offer your horse lots of toys or other distractions to minimize stress. Horses that compete or travel a lot may benefit from frequent short vacations or breaks in their schedule to relax and unwind.

    Most of all, choose feeds low in NSCs to reduce the fermentation of starches and sugars in your horse’s digestive tract. Feeds such as Copra meal have a low NSC content , and high fibre content to keep your horse feeling full for longer. Copra Meal also contains Lauric Acid, which is a natural antibacterial effective against H. Equorum, as well as Glutamine, which is known to have probiotic effects for a healthy digestive system.

    My Horse Has Ulcers And Doesnt Seem To Want To Eat Much Hay He Really Doesnt Seem To Like Chops What Else Can I Use So He Spends More Time Eating

    If you can turn out on good grazing then that would be a great starting point. In addition it would be good to get some alfalfa into his ration as it is a natural buffer to acidity. There are some pelleted versions of alfalfa that you can use: pure Alfalfa Pellets can be fed dry or dampened with water if he prefers them that way or Alfa-Beet which is a combination of unmolassed sugar beet and alfalfa which must be fed soaked before feeding. Although a horse would tend to consume a pelleted/soaked version of alfalfa more quickly than chopped fibre and therefore spend less time chewing, the main aim in this situation is to increase fibre intake and find a form of fibre your horse likes. Once the ulcers have healed you may find your horses appetite picks up a bit and you can try introducing some chopped fibre again.

    Also Check: Things To Eat When You Have An Ulcer

    Using Advanced Nutrition As A Clinical Tool

    While Platinum GI provides a crucial balance between foundational wellness and GI-specific pre- and probiotics, there is a second step in the playbook for horses diagnosed with any level of EGUS. When we have a horse with EGUS, we add Platinum Gastric Support to the Platinum GI that we likely already had the horse on, says Dr. Davis of his protocol. Knowing that we approach our cases from a whole-horse perspective, were making sure the hay source is of a good quality, were potentially looking at a ration balancer, weve prescribed either Platinum Wellness or Platinum GI as a building block and were potentially adding Platinum Gastric Support for cases undergoing treatment for EGUS, outlines Dr. Davis.

    I think the best way to look at inflammation as it relates to the gastrointestinal tract is to see it from a preventive standpoint. Prevention is key because once the horse is in a disease state it becomes a battle. CHAD DAVIS, DVM, Davis Equine Sports Medicine

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