Sunday, November 27, 2022

Best Way To Treat Ulcers In Horses

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Signs Of Ulcers In Horses

how to treat ulcers in your horse

Gastric ulcers can affect any horse, regardless of age or circumstance, and is often a manmade condition brought on by stress.

Definitively diagnosing ulcers in horses is a challenge because of the specialized equipment needed to scope a horses stomach. However, horses with ulcers may show symptoms of:

  • Frequent colic episodes
  • Isolation or separation

Minimize The Use Of Nsaids

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered to horses to reduce pain and treat certain conditions.

Phenylbutazone is a common NSAID used for pain management in skeletal muscles. Firocoxib is more commonly used to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis or bone injuries.

NSAID use may be necessary at times. When advised and monitored by a veterinarian, NSAIDs can benefit your horse.

However, outside of these circumstances, the use of NSAIDs should be limited.

NSAID use has been directly associated with increased ulcers in the digestive tract of horses. These ulcers occur in the squamous and glandular regions of the stomach, as well as the hindgut.

By inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis, NSAIDs reduce mucous production. They may also lower gastric pH levels below the normal pH of 2.

In healthy adult horses, administering phenylbutazone negatively impacted the mucosal barrier of the gastrointestinal tract. This increased ulcers and reduced overall digestive health.

Should I Have My Horse Scoped Or Treat Instead

It’s a fair question why put my horse through an 18 hour fasting period and pay to have him scoped for gastric ulcers when I can buy Gastrogard and treat as if he did? Gastroscopy can be a stressful procedure due to the fasting required however, the diagnostic clarity helps dictate length of treatment AND medication used for treatment. First, it helps to understand the anatomy of the horse’s stomach.

The equine stomach is made up of squamous and glandular mucosa. Glandular mucosa is in the lower half and is resistant to damage from acid produced in the stomach. The squamous portion of the stomach is the most commonly affected area, especially at the junction referred to as margo plicatus. Excess acid production is worsened by stress due to showing, traveling, sickness, or physical pain. Often times there are stressors that we don’t acknowledge easily, such as an aggressive pasture mate or discomfort that is not visible to us. It is reported that 60-90% of showing horses have evidence of gastric ulceration, mostly seen in the squamous portion of the stomach. The pylorus is where feed exits the stomach and can be a site of ulceration as well. Efforts to heal pyloric ulcers are more involved.

So why scope? The best way to explain this is through examples:

If you have specific questions about your horse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to see if a gastroscopy would be indicated!

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How To Prevent And Treat Stomach Ulcers In Horses Naturally

How To Prevent and Treat Stomach Ulcers in Horses Naturally!

Stomach ulcers in horses is major health epidemic in the equine world and may be preventable. The Equine Gastric Ulcer Council found that stomach ulcers were present in 80-90% of racehorses in training. It is estimated that more than 52% of horses of all breeds from one to twenty four years old suffer from stomach ulcer symptoms.

Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers in Horses

Most people do not know for sure if their horses have stomach ulcers. They may only suspect the presence of ulcers because of small noticeable changes in their horses condition. For example, adult horses with ulcers can exhibit a combination of poor appetite, dullness, attitude changes, decreased performance, poor body and hoof condition, rough hair coat, weight loss and colic. Treating gastric ulcers with acid blockers sometimes helps to relieve the symptoms, but may prolong the problem.

Why Horses Get Stomach Ulcers.

Concentrate feeding can inadvertently contribute to ulcer formation by its influence on increasing serum gastric levels, lowering the horses roughage intake and reducing the amount of time spent eating. Imposed feed deprivation, such as in colic management cases, can result in erosion and ulceration of the gastric mucosa as well. Also, horses can become excited being transported or during training and racing, further lowering gastric pH. These influences contribute to gastric ulceration.

Prevention Is The Best Medicine

How to Keep Your Horse

Having dealt with the devastating effects of gastric ulcers, I am a firm believer in doing everything humanly possible to prevent them from happening in the first place. For Stella, this meant first, changing everything about her current lifestyle, and second, putting some protocols in place to keep the ulcers at bay.

Because one of the most common causes of ulcers is a faulty feeding routine, our first change involved Stellas hay routine. From the day she was diagnosed, we have followed one simple but non-negotiable rule: free choice hay 24/7. Luckily for us, Stellas not one to gorge herself on hay.

We noticed that she didnt really eat any more hay once she had constant access to it than she did before. But having it available at all times takes away the stress of wondering where her next meal is coming from, along with providing a fairly constant buffer from stomach acids.

The next change we made for Stella was to move her out of the busy training/lesson barn where I was boarding her, to a friends breeding farm, where the horses lived out as a herd in lovely big fields with access to cozy shelters. Stella began to thrive in this environment, so when we bought our own farm and built our own barn and paddocks, we made sure to keep to the same set-up.

All of our horses have constant access to the paddocks, and can always make a choice between being indoors or out.

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Why You Need To Intervene

A horse cannot remove these undesirable grasses from their mouth. These grasses have spines on them pointing in one direction: in. When their feed has a lot of them, they build up in the lower lip, piercing the tender flesh, embedding themselves in their lip. Once one has penetrated the flesh, it’s really easy for more to pile into the hole. One after another, as the horse picks up his hay with his lips, the undesirable grasses drop off their spiny arrows, that in turn, they embed themselves into his lips.

The horse will continue to eat until he is in so much discomfort he cannot pick up another mouthful of the hay. At this point, it is too painful to hold his lips together and swallow his saliva. He will then stop eating, stand with his lips apart, drooling profusely. The drool will sometimes extend from his lip all the way to the ground.

Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

  • How long can my horse safely stay on GastroGard® or UlcerGard?
  • Should my horse have some down time each year or can I compete year-round?
  • What can I give my horse for pain besides NSAIDS?

SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian regarding specific questions about your horse’s health. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, and is purely educational.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Ulcers In Horses

The symptoms of ulcers in horses can be quite subtle, and often they will not be diagnoses until the sores are quite severe. It is important that any changes in your horses behavior are investigated, to help diagnose this painful condition. Early diagnosis and treatment will help to quickly reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Symptoms of EGUS in horses include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Biting when being saddled up
  • Teeth grinding

If you spot any of these symptoms in your horse or pony, speak to your veterinarian. The best way to diagnose stomach ulcers is with a gastroscopy. This is where a camera is passed into the horses stomach to look for ulcers.

Alternatively, your veterinarian may prescribe treatment for EGUS without a gastroscopy, choosing instead to assess the clinical signs. If the horse responds well to treatment then it is likely that stomach ulcers were the cause of the problem.

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Causes For Ulcer Treatment For Horses

Prevent / Reverse Stomach Ulcers in Horses Naturally!
  • A high-concentrate diet with low-roughage intake
  • Withholding feed during competitions and intensive exercise on an empty stomach. Exercise Exercise is shown to reduce blood flow to the stomach lining as well as increasing abdominal pressure which may cause gastric compression, in turn forcing acid contents into the proximal stomach
  • Other factors which induce a stressful environment including physical stress such as illness and behavioural stress such as stall confinement, long-distance transportation, unfamiliar environments
  • Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (e.g. Phenylbutazone or Flunixin meglumine

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Prevent Rebound When Treating Ulcers

Omeprazole, the pharmaceutical ingredient in GastroGard and UlcerGard, is an effective treatment for ulcers. It works by inhibiting acid production in the stomach to increase gastric pH.

In the short term, this can promote the healing of ulcers. Once treatment stops, the stomach will start to produce acids again.

This can result in acid rebound and a recurrence of ulcers once treatment stops..

Equine veterinarians know very well that the stomach responds with an overproduction of acids following treatment with acid inhibitors like omeprazole. This hyper-acidic environment can lead to ulcer rebound.

This is not to discourage treatment of ulcers with omeprazole. But we do encourage adopting strategies to prevent rebound.

Mad Barns Visceral+ has been clinically studied for ulcer rebound in horses treated with omeprazole.

Visceral+ was formulated in coordination with veterinarians, to prevent the rebound effects of increased gastric acid production after omeprazole treatment.

In a research study, horses received GastroGard treatment for ulcers for 15 30 days after which Visceral+ was fed alongside treatment with GastroGard for another 30 days. All horses showed complete healing of ulcers with no rebound after treatment.

Ulcer reboundoriginal root causes

Ulcer Management Guide For Performance Horses

Could your horse be suffering from painful ulcers?

Your horse could have ulcers right now and not show any signs. This guide will tell you the most important things you need to know about ulcers. You’ll learn why ulcers are so common in performance horses and how to prevent, manage, and treat them.

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Best Ulcer Treatment For Horses

Stomach ulcers are a common problem that many horses and ponies suffer from. If you own or care for an equine animal, it is important that you understand how to recognize and manage this painful condition. But what is the best ulcer treatment for horses?

With the correct care and attention, stomach ulcers in horses can be cured or the symptoms eased. Lets learn all about this health disorder of horses and find out what ulcer treatments are available.

The Following Is The Current Best Advice On Feeding To Prevent Gastric Ulceration:

How To Choose The Best Ulcer Supplement For Horses
  • Allow access to high quality forage, predominantly during the day , at a minimum daily rate of 1.5kg/100kg body weight , ideally given continuously or at no more than 6 hour intervals.
  • Multiple forage sources in the stable improve eating consistency and allow foraging activity.
  • There is no difference between hay and haylage as a forage source in relation to ulceration.
  • Straw feeding should not exceed 0.25kg/100kgBWT, and it should not be the only forage source.
  • Free access to fresh water 24 hours a day.
  • Concentrate ration should be split into 3, rather than 2 meals per day
  • Total starch intake should not exceed 2g per kg bodyweight per day
  • Whilst there is no evidence to support the use of specific âgastric healthyâ commercial diets, the use of BETA EGUS approved feeds does ensure that you will not exceed the maximum starch level.
  • Chaff should be added to all meals.
  • Corn oil or rapeseed oil can reduce the amount of stomach acid produced and could increase barrier mucus function in the glandular mucosa
  • Pre-exercise chaff feeding – 2L un-molassed chaff given within 30 mins of exercise may trap acid and limit ulceration, and improve gastric blood supply.

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Negative Impact Of Ulcers

In addition to discomfort, stomach ulcers can cause a serious negative impact on a horses well-being and contribute to the following:

  • Weight loss or malnutrition
  • Colic

While there are many effective treatment options for ulcers these are not without consequences. On top of the high cost of drugs like omeprazole, there is also a high rate of recurrence in horses when they finish a course of medication.

Preventing or minimizing potential risks for ulcers can reduce the frequency and/or severity of ulcers in your horse.

Here we discuss the 12-best evidence-based natural strategies that can lower the risk of ulcers in your horse.

Ulcer Prevention & Diet Consultations

We offer diet and nutritional consulting for those of you supporting or suspecting a horse with ulcers – or looking to prevent ulcers from developing. Consultations are available in the following increments. First time customers who book an hour consultation receive $25 off your first order of $100 or more.

  • 30 minutes – $45

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Equine Ulcers Are A Common Problem

Research shows that more horses have ulcers than dont. The statistics are overwhelming, and in some regards, its easier to assume a horse has stomach ulcers than to assume it doesnt.

According to the AAEP , up to 90 percent of racehorses and 60 percent of show horses, as well as non-performance horses and even foals, are affected by equine gastric ulcers. Ulcers result from an erosion of the stomach lining from excess stomach acid.

What Causes Ulcers In Horses

Equine Ulcers Explained: How They Get Them, How to Treat & Prevent

Before you can successfully treat an ulcer its important to understand what caused it in the first place, knowing what can cause ulcers will also help you to reduce your horses chances, if not eradicate them completely. A recent study showed that 93% of all racehorses suffered from ulcers, while 63% of performance horses were likely to have an ulcer at some point in their life, reducing to just 35% for domestic horses. While these numbers may seem shocking at first it does give us an indication of what a possible cause might be. Most race and performance horses spend a lot of time stabled with little or no forage and a very controlled diet which is why their risk of suffering from ulcers is so high.

Knowing that a horses diet can change their susceptibility is only part of the matter, to fully recognize why its such a big factor you need to understand how a horses digestive system works. Unlike humans, who only produce stomach acid when eating , horses are continually producing acid which is why they spend so long eating and grazing. As a horse grazes the forage slowly moves through his digestive tract and stomach, this process actually reduces the amount of acid thats produced which is why grazing is vitally important for a horses wellbeing. The saliva thats produced while chewing will also act as a barrier, protecting the sensitive stomach lining against acid.

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What Do You Recommend Feeding A Horse To Help Prevent Ulcers

  • If possible, give your horse a slow feeder with hay in front of them all the time. This mimics horses’ natural grazing behavior and can help to prevent ulcers in the first place. We are fans of the Hay Pillow slow feeder bags and nets – and use them with our own horses.
  • Horses who may have ulcers or are prone to ulcers do best with bucket feed that has fat , beet pulp and soaked hay pellets along with a buffer like CA-Mg, which Earth Song Ranch offers.
  • What we have found over the last 10+ years is that your horse may need to avoid bag feed, such as Purina, Nutrena, or Triple Crown as there are too many chemicals and additives that can upset the already delicate digestive health of these horses. Instead, use soaked hay pellets like Timothy as a carrier for herbs and vitamins. When this change is made, we have found the horses improve greatly and better maintain their gut health.
  • I also strongly recommend EquineZyme Plus with probiotics to keep your horses gut healthy and contains colostrum which will help soothe the acids in the stomach. .
  • Always make sure that your horse has just eaten before you train or show.

Listen Now: Jessica Lynn’s interview on Fox’s The Horse Talk Show, Holistic Horse segment, where she talks about how to handle ulcers the natural way.

What Is The Best Ulcer Supplement For Horses

Research suggests that high-quality probiotics may make a difference in both prevention and treatment of stomach ulcers, likely due to the fact that they support a healthy gut microbial population and also help to maintain a neutral pH.

Probiotics have been shown to heal gastric ulcers in horses whenever they have been experimentally induced, says Franklin.

But where probiotics and other gut supportive nutrients, such as digestive enzymes and prebiotics, really excel is in a long-term management program, especially since they are more affordable than keeping a horse on UlcerGard for an extended period of time .

Improving your feeding regimens, turnout AND adding supplements like potent probiotics that can help stabilize that stomach are the strategies that may help prevent ulcers from returning or developing in the first place, says Franklin.

Treating and managing ulcers takes time and effort, but the results will yield a healthier, happier, and more competitive horse.

Weve got to make sure that we take care of these patients after weve treated the ulcers by having a very mindful strategy of the fact that theyre going to come back unless we make changes to disrupt the cycle and promote complete digestive tract health.

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