Whats The Difference Between Ulcergard And Gastrogard
GastroGard is a prescription drug. UlcerGard is the FDA approved omeprazole product manufactured by Merial for the prevention of gastric ulcer formation in horses. The difference is how those tubes of omeprazole are dosed. If your horse is being treated for a stomach ulcer, your veterinarian will prescribe GastroGard.
Wild Horses Are Different To Stable Horses
In the wild, horses have 60,000 chews in a day producing 20 litres of saliva. Saliva naturally helps protect the stomach. Wild horses are constantly tearing short strands of grass which encourages the production of saliva.
Stabled horses do not need to work for their food and often their hay/haylage/fodder is in long strands. These long strands requires far fewer chews with a very large reduction in the production of saliva.
When stabled horses have eaten their allocated feed it passes through the stomach, leaving the acid to attack the stomach itself!
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How Can Gastric Ulcers Be Prevented
The following management techniques may assist in preventing ulcers:
- Feed horses frequently or on a free choice basis . This helps to buffer the acid in the stomach and stimulate saliva production, natures best antacid.
- Reduce the amount of grain and concentrates and/or add alfalfa hay to the diet. Discuss any feed changes with your veterinarian so that medical conditions may be considered.
- Avoid or decrease the use of antiinflammatory drugs. If anti-inflammatory drugs must be given, use newer, safer ones such as firocoxib, if appropriate and under veterinary recommendations.
- Limit stressful situations such as intense training and frequent transporting.
- If horses must be stalled, allow them to see and socialize with other horses as well as have access to forage.
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How Can We Reduce The Incidence Of Gastric Ulcers
Good management and digestive support are of the utmost importance when trying to prevent ulcers in horses and also as an aid to recovery when theyve already occurred. The simplest approach in trying to reduce the incidence of ulcers is to increase the amount of time they spend out in the paddock or at pasture. This is not always possible, or even practical in some instances so a compromise in this respect would be to try and feed multiple small meals throughout the day. A good quality hay or haylage should be offered and the use of a hay net may offer a benefit to increase chewing and slow down intake. Breaking up concentrate feeding into 3 meals rather than 2 also offers a great benefit to the stabled horse. And of course, we need to ensure that there is access to clean, fresh water throughout the day. In addition, digestive supplements can play a crucial role in the health of the horses gut.
The importance of management cannot be overstated when it comes to this condition. Anything we can do to reduce the incidence and severity of gastric ulcers will benefit our equine friends and thereby result in a happy and healthy animal and hopefully a better performer.
My Horse Is An Eventer And Is Working Quite Hard But Has Recently Been Diagnosed With Ulcers My Vet Has Told Me To Just Feed Fibre
Absolutely! Alfa-A Oil is our highest energy feed at 12.5MJ DE per kg which is comparable to a competition or conditioning mix. However, it contains around 10 times less starch than a cereal based feed with a comparable energy value so is much better for gut health. The fibre and oil provide slow release energy and so you may find that your horses behaviour and focus improves too a study we supported a few years ago showed that horses on fibre and oil based diets were less reactive to novel stimuli than those on a cereal based ration. Dont just take our word for it though. 4* eventer Lucy Jackson has competed at the highest level on a fibre based diet!
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Dull Coat Mane And Tail
Poor quality coating is an effect of two things. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, horses with gastric ulcers often become picky eaters and leave unfinished meals. If horses in such state are left untreated, they are likely to develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Secondly, ulcers affect the quality of feed digestion in the gut. A horse with untreated ulcers uses the feed a lot less efficiently and often even if a feed is rich in nutrients, your horses gut doesnât absorb them and they end up being defecated. The second process also leads to deficiencies and malnourishment in time which is most likely going to affect your horses coat, mane and tail. The first visible changes might be too subtle for anyone to take action. These might include decrease in volume of the mane and tail, dry and brittle coat, dull coat with no shine. If your horse struggles with this problem, please review The Best Supplements for a Shiny Horse Coat on our page.
Visceral+ For Equine Ulcers
Mad Barns Visceral+ is a comprehensive nutritional supplement designed specifically for horses with EGUS as well as other digestive issues. Visceral+ has been clinically studied in horses and shown to maintain healthy stomach tissue.
Visceral+ is formulated with the highest quality probiotic ingredients, natural nutrients, minerals, and amino acids that naturally support the bodys own healing mechanisms. This supplement provides complete nutritional support for your horses digestive system. Unlike certain ulcer treatments, it does not inhibit the natural production of stomach acid which is vital to proper digestion.
Visceral+ was developed in conjunction with veterinarians who were looking for a natural nutritional formula that could support a healthy gastro-intestinal system.
This product works in four key ways to maintain and balance the horses digestive system:
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Cheap Way To Treat Ulcers In Horses
Stomach ulcers are the primary health epidemic in the equine world. Allianz Insurance and Pet Plan Equine have more than 42 years of experience insuring horses. They have reported that of the “Top Five Most Common Health Problems in Horses,” Gastric Ulcers is the No. 1 ranked health problem in insurance dollars paid out.
More than 80-90% of racehorses in training and 52% of horses of all breeds from 1-24 years old had gastric ulcers during gastro-endoscopic studies. Unfortunately, most people do not know for sure whether their horses have gastric ulcers. 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.
Cost of Treating and Diagnosing Ulcers in Horses
The unfortunate reality of horse ulcers is that they are expensive to diagnose and treat. The only way to truly diagnose ulcers is with a video camera in the horse’s stomach. A video camera is placed up its nose, swallowed, passed through the esophagus and into the stomach. A scope can cost $250. Two are usually required one at the beginning and one at the end of a treatment period to see whether it was effective.
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Diagnosis Of Ulcers In Horses
If you suspect your horse has a gastric ulcer, make an appointment with your veterinarian. An ulcer can be serious, and sometimes fatal if medical attention is not given in time. Your medical professional will ask questions pertaining to his health history, look closely at his clinical signs, perform blood work, urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and other laboratory testing in order to rule out any other illnesses and come to a preliminary diagnosis.
Your doctor may perform specific diagnostic testing using enhanced diagnostic equipment. He may use a gastroscope, which is an approximately 2 meters-long endoscope into the stomach of your horse. This is currently the most accurate and definitive diagnostic test used to confirm the presence of a stomach ulcer or ulcers.
This test will confirm the specificities of the ulcers, such as size, severity, and precise location. Typically, ulcers are found in the upper portion of the organ however, ulcers can also be found in the lower section, including the duodenum. The ulcer will be classified between the areas of 0-4, with a 4 having severe lesions. He will communicate with you the extent of the ulcer and let you know the options for treatment.
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What Should You Feed A Horse With An Ulcer
If your horse has suffered from an ulcer then when it comes to his feed its time to go back to basics and keep it simple. If you keep these points in mind you cant go far wrong:
- Plenty of forage Forage takes longer to chew than concentrates and as a result, produces a lot more saliva which will help to keep the levels of stomach acid under control.
- Little and often Weve all heard it a million times before but feeding horses little and often is crucial for a healthy gut and digestive system, and therefore a happy horse.
- Avoid too many cereals Cereal concentrates dont allow the horse to produce the amount of saliva they need which increases their risk of ulcers. Thats not to say you shouldnt feed concentrates but try to find one that has a higher proportion of digestible fiber
- Include alfalfa Studies have shown that the protein levels in alfalfa make it one of the best sources of fiber when it comes to treating horses with ulcers.
- Dont exercise on an empty stomach You dont need to feed your horse a lot before exercise, a scoopful of chopped fiber is enough. This will ensure his stomach isnt empty and therefore the acid wont be left to slosh around.
- Turn out Turning your horse out as much as possible will not only give him a chance to graze but will also reduce his stress levels. This will help when treating ulcers because itll take away one of the triggers for them.
The Following Is The Current Best Advice On Feeding To Prevent Gastric Ulceration:
- 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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Offer Fresh Water At All Times
Fresh water will help keep your horses stomachs clean and free of toxins, leading to more damage if left untreated. It will also help them stay hydrated while recovering from ulcers, which means they wont get sick or dehydrated during treatment.
Fresh water keeps the stomach contents moving through the digestive tract, so there isnt any stagnation or irritation from food sitting in one place too long.
Offering your horse fresh water at all times also makes it easier for your veterinarian to check out whats going on inside when there arent any food particles floating around, obscuring his view.
When youre dealing with an equine ulcer, every little bit helps so make sure you provide fresh water at all times.
Signs That Your Horse Might Have Ulcers
Symptoms of EGUS are often subtle and not specific to ulcers. Although most horses show some signs of having ulcers, over half of horses with ulcers dont show any symptoms at all.
With that said, there are a number of specific symptoms that have been directly linked with EGUS. If your horse shows any of the following signs, you should have him or her evaluated by your veterinarian who can perform an endoscopy to look for ulcers in the stomach and small intestine.
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How Does A Horse Act With Ulcers
There are several ways to tell if your horse has an ulcer. The first is by his behavior. Is he showing signs of intermittent colic or pain immediately after a meal? Does he become withdrawn and shy? Does he lose interest in his feed and playtime? Does he seem listless and have a reduced appetite? If your horse shows any of these signs, the best thing you can do for him is to take him to a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the problem gets worse. Ulcers can be extremely painful and, if left untreated, they can lead to other health problems.
Treatment Of Gastric Ulcers In Horses
Supportive care and dietary management
Supportive care consists of dietary management, including feeding low-starch grains and alfalfa hay to buffer stomach contents.
Suppression of gastric acidity and maintenance of a pH 4 are the primary objectives in the treatment of equine squamous gastric ulcer disease. Studies have examined the use of surface-coating agents, antacids, histamine type-2 receptor antagonists , and the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole in a carrier designed to aid passage through the acid stomach into the small intestine for absorption. Various pharmaceutical agents and dosages are found in Table 2.
Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that blocks hydrogen ion secretion by binding to and changing the configuration of hydrogen-potassium adenosine triphosphatase in the lumenal surface of the gastric parietal cell. It is the only medication approved by the US FDA for treatment for 28 days and prevention of recurrence of EGUS in horses, and it has been shown to allow gastric ulcers to heal in horses while they continue their normal training. Omeprazole is approved for a 28-day treatment course for EGUS, primarily equine squamous gastric ulcer disease however, treatment of equine glandular gastric disease may require 4560 days of treatment. Repeat gastroscopy may be used to guide duration of treatment.
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Adjust Your Horses Eating & Exercise Schedule
Another important step is to adjust the time between meals. This aspect of treatment can pose a real challenge for a lot of equine enthusiasts. Many horse lovers work away from their horses, which makes feeding more frequently than twice a day difficult. Fortunately, today, there are a few feed accessories on the market that make it easier to provide frequent feedings to your horse. This is done by dramatically slowing down how quickly they can consume their feed.
Glandular Gastric Ulcers In Horses
Glandular gastric ulceration occurs less frequently than squamous gastric ulceration, but has been found to be more common than previously thought. The two regions function differently. Unlike the upper third of the stomach which is highly susceptible to damage from stomach acid, the glandular section of the stomach is relatively impervious to it. However, when factors occur which cause the integrity of the mucosal lining to deteriorate, its natural defensive mechanisms to gastric acid are also challenged leading to the development of inflammation and lesions.
Scientists arent entirely sure what causes this breakdown. They theorize that high dosages or long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as Bute, may reduce the blood supply to the lining and so contribute. It has also been suggested that, similar to human gastric ulceration, a bacterial infection may also be at play. Despite ongoing investigation, though, that theory has yet to be confirmed.
Again, the symptoms of EGGUS are consistent with Skippys symptoms and also with those of ESGUS. But because EGGUS doesnt respond to the same treatment methods as ESGUS, you cant simply dose a horse up with omeprazole and assume hell recover.
Once an endoscopy has determined whether your horse has ESGUS, EGGUS or both its time for your next test: checking to see if he has colonic ulcers.
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Optimum Digestive Health For Hindgut Ulcers
Mad Barns Optimum Digestive Health supplement can help to maintain hindgut health in horses diagnosed with hindgut ulcers or for those at risk of developing the condition.
Optimum Digestive Health is a natural dietary supplement containing prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, yeast and toxin binders. It can be used in conjunction with medications and dietary changes to support the digestive system and immune function in horses.
Optimum Digestive Health was designed with five main goals in mind:
The ingredients in Optimum Digestive Health have been clinically studied and shown to increase the population of beneficial bacteria in the hindgut while reducing harmful pathogenic bacteria from the Streptococci Sp genus.
By bringing the hindgut microbiome into a more favourable balance, Optimum Digestive Health can support digestion and immune function.
Optimum Digestive Health can also help to prevent the causes of hindgut acidosis by limiting the passage of starch into the hindgut. It is a source of digestive enzymes that have been shown to assist in the absorption of nutrients within the small intestine.