Strictly Equine Gastric Shield
Strictly Equine provides treatment and prevention for gastric ulcers in this product. Its suppressive qualities make it perfect for the prevention of gastric ulcers in horses. In situations where your horse does have gastric ulcer, Strictly Equine can reduce the symptoms and discomfort experienced by the horse.
Two of its active ingredients, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice and silica, have intense anti-inflammatory effects. They can promote the reduction of swelling in the gastric lining of your horse. They also promote healing of the gastric tissue. Another ingredient, Copper proteinate, is responsible for soothing the entire digestive tract.
Other ingredients include Magnesium, Calcium, and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. The Lactobacillus, in particular, is good bacteria, and it improves the overall health of the horses digestive tract. The product comes in a gallon that can last up to four months when you administer one to two ounces daily.
Understanding Ulcer Medication For Horses
When it comes to treating Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome, several good options exist, but the specific type of drug/medication and length of treatment your veterinarian prescribes will likely depend on the exact location in the stomach, as well as the severity of ulceration.
Latsons business partner, equine internal medicine veterinary specialist, Dr. Robert Franklin, explains that the horses stomach is divided into two halves: the top, which is called non-glandular and the bottom, referred to as glandular.
The non-glandular region is typically the area affected by ulceration, says Franklin. This region typically responds well to treatment.
GastroGard and UlcerGard, which both contain the active ingredient omeprazole, are the two main drugs veterinarians tend to use for non-glandular ulcers.
They work about 80% of the time in a 4-week treatment period, notes Franklin.
However, Franklin goes on to explain that a glandular ulcer does not heal nearly as easily and doesn’t always respond to the typical treatments, so veterinarians often have to rely on a different strategy when treating these types of ulcers.
Weve used sucralfate in combination with omeprazole to manage glandular ulcers. Some more recent studies have shown that another drug called misoprostol is likely the best treatment for this type.
What Is Gastritis In Horses
Gastritis is the general term used to describe inflammation and/or irritation of the stomach lining. Gastritis is simply a condition caused by an underlying disease. Based on Skippys recent weight loss, lackluster coat and behavior changes coupled with his new schedule and feeding habits it seems likely hes suffering from gastritis .
Most horse people would simply say that Skippy has a gastric ulcer , a blanket term commonly used to describe lesions in the gastric mucosa . Thats somewhat accurate, as gastritis may be associated with ulcers, a prevalent problem in the performance horse. But what most horse people dont know is that there are two different kinds of gastric ulcers and you need treat them differently. Ulcers may affect either the upper squamous region or the lower glandular region of the equine stomach. The regions function very differently, so its critical to distinguish between squamous ulceration and glandular ulceration.
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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.
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.
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Treatment Of Ulcers In Horses
Treatment of gastric ulcers in horses may vary depending on the severity of the ulcer. Treatment methods may include:
Specific acid inhibitors may be prescribed to your horse to treat his ulcer. Called Proton pump inhibitors, these prescription medications may be given by your veterinarian to decrease the amount of acid that the stomach is producing.
H2 Blockers are medications that may be chosen by your veterinarian to prescribe to your horse to block any histamine in your horse. Histamine encourages the stomach to produce more acid. Common histamine blockers are ranitidine and cimetidine.
Antacids are effective at blocking or buffering any stomach acid from affecting your horse. Antacids, though, are only effective for a limited amount of time. Your horses stomach is always producing acid, so large amounts are needed of this type of medication. If your horse is a performance horse, antacids may be beneficial to give sporadically, such as on the day of a performance.
Changes in Lifestyle
Effective treatments for ulcers also include making changes to your horses lifestyle. This may include increasing feeding times throughout the day, putting your horse to pasture, lessening his intake of grain, adding supplements, increasing roughage in his diet, and administering probiotics to help his digestion.
Worried about the cost of Ulcers treatment?
Causes Of Gastric Ulcers In Horses
Gastric ulcers have been said to be a man-made disease in horses, meaning that we have caused ulcers in our horses today by changes in lifestyle and feed that are not natural for the horse. Many factors can contribute to ulcer formation in horses, from feeding them in a less conducive way to their natural anatomical structure, to keeping them in stressful environments such as stalls and traveling. Factors that can lead to ulcer formation include:
Heavy exercise or workload
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Visceral+ For Gut Health
Omeprazole works because it prevents parietal cells from secreting gastric acid.
Omeprazole does not directly promote healing of gastric ulcers or re-building of the gastrointestinal barrier. Instead, it works by fighting against the horses natural biology to increase gastric pH and give ulcers an opportunity to heal.
But this is not the only way to address ulcers. A number of natural ingredients have been found effective for supporting the natural barrier that protects the stomach lining from gastric acids.
Mad Barns Visceral+ is formulated with safe, natural ingredients to help horses maintain healthy stomach tissue, digestion and immune function.
Visceral+ was designed in conjunction with veterinarians who were tired of treating horses with omeprazole only to have near-universal ulcer recurrence after stopping treatment.
Visceral+ is clinically tested and shown to work in horses coming off of omeprazole treatment.
- 100% safe & natural
How Is A Gastroscopy Done
To be able to visualize the stomach properly, it needs to be fairly empty, so food is withheld for about half a day . Then the horse is sedated to facilitate the horse’s comfort and better handling of the equipment. Then the gastro-scope is passed through the nasal passages into the oesophagus and stomach. Watch this short video on how a gastroscopy is done.
NB: Sometimes bots can be found in the stomach, in which case your vet will advise treatment.
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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.
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome: Potential Causes Treatments Performance Implications And Preventive Measures
At first glance, equine ulcers seem well understood with an established diagnostic process and tried treatment modalities. Beneath the surface, however, it quickly becomes clear that ulcers remain a bit of an enigma, with near endless causes, high recurrence rates and an approach that requires a multifaceted and individualized plan to accomplish a successful outcome.
Ulcers touch an overwhelming percentage of the horse population, making them one of the more prolific struggles faced by both riders and equine veterinarians. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners , up to 90 percent of racehorses and 60 percent of performance horses are afflicted with gastric ulcers, with non-performance horses and foals impacted as well. The progress happening in the understanding, treatment and perhaps, more importantly the prevention of equine gastric ulcers is incredible. Veterinary medicine is witnessing significant leaps in areas including the impact of NSAIDS, the critical role of diet, the influence of advanced nutrition and the tie between equine gastric ulcers and the horses gut microbiome.
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Feed Fibre Before Exercise
One of the age-old golden rules of feeding horses is not to exercise on a full stomach, however, this only applies to concentrate feeds and it is actually highly recommended to allow your horse some hay or chaff immediately before exercise. Having fibre present in the stomach will help to prevent the gastric acid splashing up into the non-glandular portion of the stomach, where ulcers are most common.
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Types Of Horse Ulcers
Horse ulcers often develop in the stomach, though they can also form in the colon. Ulcers in the stomach are referred to generally as Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome, but a veterinarian will provide a specific diagnosis after examining your horse. The two possible diagnoses refer to the region in which the stomach ulcers appear.
- Equine Glandular Gastric Ulcer Syndrome : The glandular is the lower part of your horses stomach. EGGUS is a rare form of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome because the glandular lining can withstand harsh acids and is less susceptible to developing a sore or lesion. EGGUS occurs more often in racehorses than endurance horses.
- Equine Squamous Gastric Ulcer Syndrome : The squamous is the upper part of your horses stomach. Its thought of as an extension of the esophagus lining. Research has shown that ESGUS is far more widespread than EGGUS. In fact, of the horses that show symptoms of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome, 60 to 80 percent of them are diagnosed with ESGUS.
Ulcers in your horses stomach can also lead to the development of hindgut or colonic ulcers. More than 50 percent of performance horses, for example, have both gastric and colonic ulcers. Hindgut ulcers are harder to diagnose, which is why veterinarians may suggest a treatment for them as a precaution.
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Signs Of Stomach Ulcers
Signs of ulcers in adult horses can be vague and may include:
- Acute or recurrent colic, particularly after eating.
- Loss of body condition.
- Changes in attitude.
- Frequent lying down.
Horses with gastric ulcers may be reluctant to eat grain or may take more time than usual to eat the grain. Gastric ulcers also occur along with many other conditions. Horses are often placed on preventative or treatment doses during hospitalization.
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.
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Ulcerguard Oral Paste Syringe
This product does exactly what the name suggests guards your horse against ulcers. It is great as a preventive prescription for the condition. However, if your horse has already developed ulcer, it is also great as a preventive treatment.
The product comes in easy to use syringes that are designed for single-use. The main solution is cinnamon flavored, which is a taste that most horses love. The active ingredient in Ulcerguard is Omeprazole, which acts by suppressing the production of acid in a horses stomach.
If you purchase a pack of 6 products, you save money on two of them. This goes to show how much the company cares for horses and their gastric health. The only problem you might have with purchasing the product is that its so effective, you might not need all the syringes!
Gastric Ulcers May Be Accompanied By Hindgut Ulcers
By now it should be clear that you need to have a vet diagnose not only the presence of gastric ulceration, but the specific type of gastric ulcer or ulcers your horse could be suffering from before you can select an appropriate and effective treatment plan. But guess what: once a gastroscopy has determined whether your horse has ESGUS, EGGUS or both its time for your next test: checking to see if he has colonic ulcers.
Gastric and colonic ulcers frequently go hand-in-hand, with prevalence rates as high as 54% in performance horses. Colonic ulcers or ulcers in the hindgut are harder but not impossible to diagnose, and they have several possible causes, ranging from overuse of NSAIDs, parasite burden, or hindgut acidosis usually as a result of large grain feeds . Many of the warning signs for colonic ulcers are similar to those signifying possible gastric ulcers, including:
- Behavior indicating discomfort around the flanks, often characterized by a dislike of
- Low-grade anemia
Diarrhea, intermittent or acute, and recurrent mild colic episodes signal a clear hindgut problem, and absolutely warrant further investigation to determine if colonic ulcers are present.
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How To Care For Horse Ulcers
The upper portion of a horse’s stomach, which lacks specific protective properties, is sensitive to acid. If acid from the lower stomach reaches this vulnerable upper section, ulcers can form and make your horse feel very uncomfortable.
Luckily, there are ways you can neutralize your horse’s discomfort. Some tips for caring for horses with ulcers include the following.
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.
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Tips For Good Digestive Tract Health
- Use a natural daily digestive support supplement like Excel.
- Make sure your horse avoids fasting and is allowed a “grazing” diet of more frequent meals or more free choice forage. Try a small mesh haynet to slow eating and keep hay in front of your horse all day to protect against digestive distress and ulcers.
- Review the ingredients in your complete feed. Eliminate concentrates that are high in carbohydrates and sugars . Substitute with rice bran, hay cubes or alfalfa cubes/pellets.
- Add some alfalfa or stem-y hays to stimulate chewing, saliva production, and to help the horse gain weight. The calcium in alfalfa will help neutralize and acidic stomach. If you are hauling or at an event that disrupts your horse from eating for more than three to four hours, give your horse a break to eat hay/forage and drink.
- Do not feed concentrates less than four hours before or after exercise.
- Be aware of your horse’s response to changes in feed, daily routine and herd interactions. Look for symptoms of ulcers and take action immediately. Consult your veterinarian for Omiprazole products.
Recovery Of Ulcers In Horses
Once treatment is begun, ulcers tend to begin healing however, it may take time. Depending on the type of treatment and the severity of the ulcer, your horse may take anywhere from a week to over a month to heal. Since ulcers tend to recur, it is important to have your horse get checked by your veterinarian a few days after the treatment is complete.
If you choose to give supplements or probiotics to your horse, be sure to consult with your veterinarian and he may give you professional advice on what would benefit your horse. Your medical professional will also reiterate the importance of altering his eating habits and stall time.
Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions on the medication dosage and administration, and will communicate to you any side effects to watch for. It will be important to monitor your horses symptoms and behavior during treatment and after. If you have any questions or concerns about how your horse is recovering from a gastric ulcer, contact your veterinarian. He may want to see him again during his treatment period to check on his recovery.
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