Contributing Factors To Equine Glandular Gastric Disease :
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.
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What Are The Benefits Of Chia Seeds
- ALLERGIES: The high Omega-3’s found in chia help to boost the immune system and reduce swelling, giving horses relief from allergies. Learn more about feeding chia seeds for Allergy Relief.
- BREEDING: Chia seeds provide good nutritional support for both broodmares and stallions. Learn more about feeding chia for Breeding purposes.
- CALMING:High in Magnesium, chia seeds have a natural calming effect on horses. Read more about the Calming Effects of feeding chia seeds.
- DIGESTION: Chia seeds help to optimize the digestive tract, and are great for ulcer and colic prevention. They’re also ideal for horses who suffer from metabolic disorders. Learn more about feeding chia seeds for Digestion.
- HYDRATION: Chia seeds keep your horse hydrated and retain electrolytes, promoting faster recovery times and increased longevity. Learn more about how chia seeds help with Hydration & Exercise Recovery.
- JOINTS & MUSCLES: The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seeds help reduce pain and swelling. As a complete source of protein, they also build muscle and topline. Learn more about feeding chia seeds for Joint & Muscle Care.
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Feeding Your Horse To Prevent Ulcers
Dr. Juliet Getty never stops urging horse owners to feed your horse like a horse, for the simple reason that a horse, fed according to his physiology and instincts, will be healthier. Dr. Getty often speaks about free choice forage feeding as the first line of defense against ulcers, but there is more an owner can do to protect his horse from the pain and stress of this condition.
For many reasons, says the Ph.D. equine nutrition expert, a steady, constant supply of forage keeps your horses digestive system healthy, but its especially important in ulcer prevention. Some basic anatomy knowledge reveals why: Unlike in the human, the horses stomach secretes acid all the time, even when empty. Chewing creates saliva, a natural antacid. If left without food, horses will chew on whatever they can, even their own manure, to neutralize the acid that is causing them physical pain and mental discomfort. And if left with absolutely nothing to chew on, the horse will commonly develop ulcers.
Horses in the wild do not get ulcers. The diet and lifestyle we impose on our horses are to blame for this disabling condition. The good news is encouraging, according to Dr. Getty, who reminds horse owners, We have the ability to prevent ulcers through proper feeding and stress reduction.
In addition to offering forage, free-choice, Dr. Getty suggests horse owners consider these protective feeding guidelines:
New Getty Equine Nutrition Is Proud To Offer You Premium Chia
Horses require a source of essential fatty acids every day since their bodies cannot product them. Naturally found in healthy, growing pasture grasses, these important fatty acids are no longer available in hay once fresh grasses are cut and stored to make hay.
The essential fatty acid composition of chia seeds mimics those found in fresh pasture: 4 to 1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 .
It is important to pay attention to the level of omega 3s and 6s in the diet since most horses get their fat from soybean oil or other vegetable oils that are very high in omega 6s. Too much omega 6s and not enough omega 3s will increase inflammation and pain.
Please see the articles, “Chia Seeds – Nature’s Tiny Miracle” for a discussion on the benefits of chia.
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Disadvantages Of Feeding Chia To Horses
There arent really and disadvantages to feeding chia seeds to horses, but there a few things to consider.
· Chia seeds are high in fat, and hence, high in calories. If your horse is overweight, you would want to reduce the dosage. But remember, horses require a source of ALA and LA every day because their bodies cannot produce them. And the hay you are feeding contains little if any of these two essential fatty acids.
· The genetics of donkeys, mules, and ponies calls for a diet lower in fat than for full-sized horses or even miniature horses. While they need less fat, this doesnt negate the fact that they require a daily source of essential fatty acids. So, feed chia seeds just feed less.
· The conversion rate of ALA to docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid is low. When a horse consumes ALA, it is elongated to the larger omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which have much more significant biological activity. These are typically found in fish oils. Since horses are not fish-eaters, they must rely on converting ALA to these omega 3 forms or be fed a fish oil. However, if the diet is high in LA relative to ALA, the high LA will inhibit the synthesis of DHA and EPA. For horses suffering from significant inflammation, supplementation of fish oil or high-DHA algal oil is beneficial.
Chia Seeds Benefit Your Horse Is A Number Of Ways:
- Help with sand clearing from the cecum
- Protect the digestive tract through high levels of pectin – a water soluble fiber that forms a soothing gel
- Assists with metabolic conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and PPID due to omega 3s’ impact on the hormones involved
- Their high fat content stabilize the horse’s mood, unlike diets high in sugar and starch
- Reduces inflammation in joints
- Makes your horse shine, as well as strengthen hooves, skin, and hair
- Helps with inflammatory conditions such as ulcers, injuries, abscesses, surgery recovery, and stress responses
- Offers high quality protein to boost overall protein quality of the diet that supports tissue maintenance and repair
- Organic Chia Seeds are highly palatable
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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 horseâs 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 canât, 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 horseâs 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.
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
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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.
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Not All Fats Are Created Equal
Oil is critical to the horse’s diet. Natural grass provides a 3:1 ratio of essential fatty acids omega-3 to omega-6, which horses require. Omega-3s decrease inflammation and help fight free radicals. Equine Chia is an oil seed with precisely 3 times more omega-3 than omega-6. According to a Texas A& M Study, Corn oil was shown to cause an increase in inflammation. Further more, refined oils are processed and stripped of “impurities,” which can often be the source of valuable nutrients, thereby increasing the risk of excessive inflammation.
Inadequate oil intake contributes to very unstable blood sugar patterns that stress the horse’s metabolism by causing an increase in the release of cortisol, adrenaline and insulin. When these hormones are over-relied on, the increases can affect mood, performance, immune function, injury prevention as well increasing risk of colic and ulcers.
Because fats digest slowly, the blood sugar does not become disrupted as easily, thus reducing the amount and frequency of stress hormone and insulin release, which then reduces inflammatory stress, a common cause of gastric ulcers.
Unrefined oils, such as organically grown chia seeds of Equine Chia, contain natural antioxidants. They are a rich source of Omega 3, have a longer shelf life, are easily digested, and reduce risk of excessive inflammation.
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How Many Chia Seeds Should I Feed My Horse
You can feed your horse chia seeds on a daily basis. You can feed them to your horse raw or mixed within your horses regular feed. A higher dosage every day will help your horses digestive tract and keep up the fight against colic. Try feeding your horse about 50 grams of seeds per day, which works out to about four or five pounds a month. You can double that to 100 grams per day without any problems, but its hardly necessary unless your horse is having health issues or digestive woes. For weight issues or serious health problems, you can double the dose of chia seeds to 200 grams per day. Try adding water to plump up the seeds before feeding them to your horse, but of course, you dont need to. It can help for horses that have weak teeth or prefer ground-up food.
Will Chia Seeds Help My Horse Gain Weight
Chia seeds come with a very high-fat content, which will give your horse the calories it needs to gain weight. So, the answer is yes! Horses can absolutely gain weight from eating chia seeds. They can also lose weight, as odd as that sounds. The ALA content of chia seeds is quite high, and after some time of regular consumption, it is possible that insulin levels will be lowered alongside the source of the horses leptin resistance. These two changes equal healthy weight loss and nominal weight levels.
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Sensitivity In The Girth Area
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.
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Feeding Chia Seeds To Horses
I sort of forgot one of my favorite topics in the Cs so I am going back just to add this post about Chia seeds. Then on ward to the Es !!
Most horse owners understand that fresh grass is the best diet for most horses unfortunately this quality food source is not always readily available, either due to the season or in some areas drought. In other instances a horse might not be able to feed on grass due to health reasons. Because of this, there is a need for supplementation within your horses diet. We can only perform as optimally as our bodies allow, and since food is what fuels , we have to be very particular about what we put into it.
One of the reasons grass is an excellent source of nutrition is due to high levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Humans and horses do not naturally produce these, so it becomes very important to supplement.
Chia seeds to the rescue!
What is it and where does it come from?
The name Chia is derived from the Aztec word, Chia, meaning oily. It is an ancient seed being rediscovered in America with balanced nutritional components. The Chia seeds I use come from US Chia. They are grown in Florida but Chia is grown all over the world.
What is the nutritional value?
Chia seeds are the highest naturally occurring source of Omega-3 fatty acids, with a 3:1 ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s.
Chias oil is 63% Omega-3, greater than flaxseed oil , and menhaden fish oil .
Here is a nutritional analysis:
Why feed it to horses?
Peace and good feed,
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Treatment Of Gastric Ulcers In Horses
Traditional medications and changes in management practices are the common cornerstones of therapy for equine gastric ulcers. Rising awareness in Holistic treatment includes using natural products, such as Equine Chia, that work with the horses system to strengthen natural defenses.
Current medications are used for three purposes: to decrease acid production, to buffer the acid that is produced, and to protect the lining of the stomach from the effects of the acid. Equine Chia can aid all three purposes.
In summary, H2 blockers are medications that block the action of histamine which stimulates the production of stomach acid. Buffers are Antacids to buffer the action of the stomach acid . Protectants are certain drugs to block acid from coming into contact with the stomach lining, although not as effective in the esophageal portion of the stomach.
Benefits Of Chia Seeds For Horses
1. Omega 3s
Chia seeds have very high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids . They also have an ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s.
If your horse is on pasture only a few hours a day this is an easy way to add Omega-3s to their diet, which is important for overall health.
Since they retain 10 times their weight in water, adding soaked seeds to your horses diet can keep them hydrated longer and help retain electrolytes.
A great solution for travelling, or in extreme weather conditions when your horse may not be drinking enough .
3. East to Digest
With the seeds being more than 25% soluble fiber it slows down the digestive process and helps reduce spikes in blood sugar.
This is particularly helpful when feeding senior or insulin resistance horses.
Many calming supplements contain magnesium, which chia seeds happen to very high in .
Its also a great source of slow release energy, without the hot effect thats seen with oats and other high sugar feeds.
5. Healthy Skin/Coat/Mane/Hooves
Thanks to the high levels of Omega-3s and essential amino acids, youll be sure to notice a new shine on your horses coat and improved hoof growth.
For an added boost to the mane and tail, check out DIY Mane & Tail Growth Serum Recipe for Horses.
6. Allergy Relief
Chia seeds have been used to relieve the symptoms of skin allergies and are believed to help strengthen the immune system.
If your horse is suffering with itchy skin, Chia seeds may provide some relief.
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