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Best Ulcer Treatment For Horses

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Acid Damage And Ulcer Development

how to treat ulcers in your horse

Since the upper squamous portion of the stomach does not secrete mucous to protect itself from stomach acid, acid damage can occur leading to ulceration known as ESGD. Unlike humans who only secrete stomach acid when a meal is ingested, horses continuously secrete stomach acid throughout the day. Saliva contains an important buffer, bicarbonate, which helps to neutralize the stomach acid, but this is only secreted in a healthy horse while they are chewing. For example, if a horse is only fed twice a day, then they may run out of forage in between meals and while acid is still being secreted in the stomach, no saliva is being produced because the horse is not eating anything. Thus, no buffer is sent to the stomach to help protect the squamous section. Therefore, the timing between meals should be kept in mind when feeding horses.

Horses that are fed diets high in sugar and starch have an increased risk for ulcer development. These starches are rapidly fermented by resident microbes in the gastrointestinal tract and produce acid byproducts which make the stomach environment even more acidic. Furthermore, grains do not require as much chewing as forages, leading to smaller quantities of saliva produced for a shorter amount of time. So not only will the ingestion of grains produce a more acidic stomach environment than forages, but they also do not cause as much secretion of saliva to help buffer the stomach.

Magnagard Gastric Support Supplement For Horses

Features :

  • GASTRIC ULCERS MagnaGard is a horse ulcer supplement that can aid in the prevention and treatment of ulcers in horses by buffering excess acid, removing harmful toxins, and providing essential trace minerals.
  • CALMING SUPPLEMENT MagnaGard helps calm high strung horses by soothing the gut so horses feel good and can focus on the task at hand. It is also a good source of magnesium, which is a natural calmer and can help relieve stress.
  • GUARD AGAINST GASTRIC UPSET MagnaGard Gastric Support supplement keeps a horses gastro intestinal tract feeling good. It is effective at preventing and addressing ulcers, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.
  • ALL NATURAL, SHOW SAFE MagnaGard contains all natural ingredients and is show safe . Unlike some ulcer medicine, MagnaGard can be fed continually and provides many benefits in addition to ulcer prevention.
  • 1 BAG IS A ONE MONTH SUPPLY MagnaGard is an affordable supplement for gastric support, ulcers, calming, and mineral support. With over 50 major minerals and trace minerals, it provides a number of benefits for equines.

Additional Info :

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.

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Feed Materials In Focus Is Feeding Corn Oil Good For Treating Or Preventing Equine Gastric Ulcers


The idea of feeding corn oil to horses with gastric ulcers goes back to a paper published in 2004 by Cargile et al. This paper is actually open access so you can read it for free . However, these authors likely got the idea from a 1987 study in rats which showed that feeding oil to rats prevented experimentally induced peptic ulcers .

Cargile et al. found that 45ml of corn oil a day for 5 weeks decreased gastric acid secretion in response to stimulation of acid secretion with a drug that mimics the action of the hormone gastrin . The study was also weak and poorly designed as it only used 4 ponies and the order of treatments was not randomised. The problem with this study is that the authors did not gastroscope the horses to look for gastric ulcers. However, this does not seem to have stopped people promoting 45ml of corn oil a day for horses with gastric ulcers.


Compare this with cold pressed linseed oil: 1) cleaning, grinding, and milling 2) pressing 3) packing.

Corn oil is one of the highest in inflammation-promoting Omega 6 fatty acids and very low in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids. The only thing corn oil has going for it is that its relatively low in saturated fats. Bottom line? I would never feed corn oil to horses.



Feeding Plan For Ulcer Recovery

The Best Treatment For Ulcers In Horses

Grain should be avoided for horses with or prone to gastric ulceration. Carbohydrates are fermented to some extent within the stomach, disrupting the microbiome and releasing lactic acid and VFAs.

Instead, horses with ulcers should be fed a forage-first diet that supports gut health and prolongs feeding time. Consider the following strategies:

  • Provide continuous access to forage and avoid intermittent feeding or long periods of time between meals. The prevalence of ulcers in horses fed twice daily is 75% compared to 58% for horses fed three times daily.
  • Feed alfalfa prior to exercising this legume hay has high calcium content and can help to buffer stomach acid.
  • Feed oil as an energy source instead of grain-based concentrates.
  • Feed Visceral+ to reduce the likelihood of ulcers recurring after treatment. Visceral+ is formulated with natural ingredients that support gastric barrier function.
  • Give your horse constant access to fresh water. Horses that do not have contact access to water are 2.5 times more likely to develop ulcers.

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An Overview Of Equine Ulcers

Equine ulcers are open sores or lesions that can develop throughout the gastrointestinal tract of your horse.

Ulcers most commonly occur in the stomach, hence the name gastric ulcers. The upper squamous region of the stomach is most at risk of ulceration.

This area has the greatest exposure to stomach acids and lacks the defenses present in other parts of the stomach.

Mucous and bicarbonate produced in the glandular region of the stomach act as a buffer to the acidic environment.

The squamous region cannot produce mucous and does not have a similar defensive strategy. Instead, the squamous region relies on food and saliva to form a buffer against acids.

How Do I Give My Horse Omeprazole

Omeprazole is typically administered to horses orally, in a dosing syringe. This medication should be administered daily.

Oral omeprazole should be given 1 hour before food to ensure that as much of the drug as possible comes into contact with the stomach lining.

Omeprazole can also be administered via a weekly injection into the muscle for horses that struggle to take the drug orally.

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Treating Gastric Ulcers In Horse: Is It Squamous Or Glandular

Youll need to work with your vet to come up with a thorough treatment plan for a horse you suspect has ulcers of any type. But most vets will prescribe some combination of the following.


  • Omeprazole to suppress production of gastric acid and give the tissue time to heal and prompt the horse to eat .
  • Ranitidine or Cimetidine, to help suppress gastric acidity.
  • Antacids, for short-term control.
  • Removal of horse from heavy work or competition schedule.


  • Omeprazole, a treatment that suppresses gastric acid production to allow healing to take place, particularly in the squamous region. While it has been shown to be less effective for treating glandular ulcers, most vets still recommend it as an aid for some healing. However, it would likely be prescribed in higher doses for longer and used in tandem with additional treatments.
  • Mucosal protectants, such as sulcrafate or pectin-lecithin. These are recommended for use along with omeprazole to aid healing in glandular ulceration.
  • Antibiotics, because bacteria may be a cause of some EGGUS.
  • A nutritional digestive supplement to support healthy gut structure and function, especially of the hindgut while suppressing stomach acids.
  • A high-roughage, low-concentrate diet.

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Oil As A Treatment Or Preventative For Gastric Ulcers

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There appears to be a lot of advice on various forums about feeding corn oil to treat or prevent gastric ulcers in horses. Much of this has supposedly been on the advice of vets!

The idea to feed corn oil to horses with gastric ulcers goes back to a paper published in 2004 by Cargile et al. However, these authors likely got the idea from a 1987 study which showed that feeding oil to rats prevented experimentally induced peptic ulcers .

One poorly designed study reported that feeding 45ml of corn to four ponies slightly decreased gastric acid secretion, BUT they did not scope the stomachs.

In a larger and properly designed study, feeding 240ml per day of refined rice bran oil or crude rice bran oil or corn oil for five weeks had no effect on gastric ulcer formation. Conclusion? Oil will not treat or prevent ulcers. Replacing starch energy in the diet with oil as an energy source may help in management of gastric ulcers.

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Other Risk Factors And Management Practices To Consider

Besides nutrition, there are several other factors that affect the incidence of gastric ulcers in horses. For example, intense exercise and stress can increase the risk of ulcers. Racehorses, which are under very heavy exercise and stalled for long periods of time, have been found to have the highest incidence of ulcers. Increasing turnout time may decrease stress and provides horses with the opportunity to graze. Stress can also be caused by changes in management and routine or by transportation and competition. Avoid stressful situations when possible and talk with your veterinarian about medication options during transport and competition. Provide forage during travel and at competitions to encourage chewing and to decrease the risk of acid damage within the stomach. The long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine can also increase the risk of ulcers since these drugs also inhibit the secretion of the bicarbonate mucous within the stomach that protects itself from the acidic stomach environment. Avoid the long-term use of NSAIDs and talk to a veterinarian about alternative pain management strategies.

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.

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Are There Herbs That Can Help Prevent Ulcers And/or Relieve The Pain Of Ulcers

Yes. The number one herb to help heal – as well as to relieve some of the pain of – digestive ulcers is Slippery Elm.

Alone it is a good choice, as it coats the intestinal tract allowing it a chance to heal. You can also add Aloe Vera gel with that in a bucket feed. This combination can give a horse with active ulcers some relief as feed stuffs digest.

In helping many horses over the years, I have found a specific combination of several herbs that work synergistically together to help a horse who has ulcers or is prone to ulcers. We at Earth Song Ranch recommend our Tummy Tamer blend, and it has been a favorite natural approach to helping horses with ulcers for 12+ years.

How To Diagnose Gastric Ulcers In Horses

Top 5 Best Horse Ulcer Supplements of 2021

The only way to know for sure that your horse is suffering from a gastric ulcer is to have a vet perform a gastroscopy. Scoping is the best way for your veterinarian to accurately diagnose the presence and severity of ulceration in the stomach and if conditions allow, proximal duodenum. However, keep in mind there could be additional conditions at play such as parasites or hindgut disease that gastroscopy cant rule out. Be aware that most vets will recommend a fasting period of at least 12 hours prior to gastroscopy, and may also recommend that you remove water four hours before the procedure as well.

Scoping is the best way for your veterinarian to accurately diagnose the presence of gastric ulcers, while keeping in mind there could be additional conditions at play such as parasites or hindgut disease that it doesnt rule out.

With a 3-meter gastroscope, your veterinarian can visually identify and confirm:

  • whether or not gastric ulceration exists,
  • if ulceration affects the upper squamous region or the lower glandular portion of the stomach,
  • the severity of the ulcers.

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How Many Types Of Ulcers Are There In Horses

Ulcers generally occur in the stomach, although they can also form in the colon. They are known as Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome , and there are two significant diagnoses:

  • Equine Glandular Gastric Ulcer Syndrome is a rare type that develops more in racehorses than endurance horses because the epithelial lining can resist solid acids and is less prone to pain or damage.
  • ESGUS Is more often known as ESGUS, is detected in 60-80% of horses with gastric ulcer symptoms.
  • Warning: Ulcers in the horses stomach can progress to hindgut or colon ulcers, which are more challenging to identify and require conservative treatment.

Why Should I Buy A Ulcer Supplement For Horses

You can tell if you need or want a ulcer supplement for horses by looking at your existing inventory. You probably dont need it and should reconsider buying it. If you cant get go of the old one, you could sell it and use the proceeds to buy the new one.This is a fun and easy approach to finish your task.

Final Thoughts

Lets face it, we all want to feel good about our purchases. But there are so many! How can you know which is best? You need not be concerned because has your back. Our trained staff is here to help you find what works for you. Before making a final decision, you can take advantage of our free consultations.

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Symptoms Of Ulcers In Horses

Symptoms of ulcers in horses are not always very easy to distinguish from other issues or diseases, but some common ones include weight loss, dull coat, biting when being girthed and intermittent colic. However, it is important to understand that good doers and overweight horses can have ulcers, too. It is also apparent that there is no link between the severity of ulcers and the symptoms some horses are clearly very stoic with grade 4 ulcers and no signs of any problems visible on the outside!

The Best Inexpensive Choice I Have Found Is Omeprazole

Horse Ulcer Treatment Whats Best ?

You can get AbPrazole here:

RANITIDINE NOW OFF THE MARKET:The previous research I did for inexpensive medication for horse ulcers was using Ranitidine as a general acid reducer, BUT this drug has now been taken off the market because it may cause cancer in humans. This is the information I compiled from my research on dosing this drug in case anyone needs it in the future for a similar drug:

The healing dosage rate rate for horses is 6.6mg/kg every 8 hours. For my 750 LB horse, I gave 13 150 mg pills 3X a day 4 weeks. I started him on U-Gard at this time along with 13 Ranitidine pills 2X a day for 2 weeks, and then slowly weaned him off with a lesser dosage twice a day after that and put him on U-Gard, along with the Milk Thistle and ProBios. People were amazed at the difference this combination has made with my horse. During the first four weeks he gained over 50 lbs, and he is much more calmer and happy.

www.thehealingbarn.comThis product was used to clear out the horses liver. He had been on a heavy dose of antibiotics because he had developed a open sore on his tongue from either a briar in the hay or, more than likely, some kind of acid reflux.

We ordered the Milk Thistle Plus 4 LB bag on July 5th, and it got to me around 4 days later, so I would say I started it approx 5 to 6 days after beginning Ranitidine around July 10th.

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Sucralfate For Glandular Ulcers

Sucralfate is a drug commonly used to treat ulcers in foals. It is also administered alongside omeprazole to enhance the healing of glandular ulcers.

Sucralfate is typically given orally at a dose of 20 mg per kilogram bodyweight every 12 hours. This drug works by reacting with stomach acid to form a paste that binds to the sites of ulcers on the stomach wall.

The medication adheres to protein-containing secretions that are released by gastric lesions, providing a physical barrier to protect the ulcer from stomach acid as it heals.

Sucralfate also helps increase blood flow to the area, which supports healing processes.

What Are The Clinical Signs Of Gastric Ulcers

The majority of horses with gastric ulcers do not show outward clinical signs and can appear completely healthy. Subtle signs may include:

  • Low grade colic

More serious cases will show abdominal pain and/or grinding of the teeth. Some horses are found on their backs since this position seems to provide some relief from severe gastric ulceration. Others will walk away from food if they experience discomfort when the food first reaches the stomach.

Clinical signs of ulcers in foals include intermittent colic , frequent recumbency, reduced nursing, diarrhea, poor appetite, a pot-bellied appearance, grinding of teeth, and excess salivation. When a foal exhibits clinical signs, the ulcers are likely to be severe and should be diagnosed and treated immediately.

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