Equine Gastric Ulcers 101

June 19, 2017 3 min read

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is the official term for equine ulcers. This is a very common problem in horses - much more prevalent than owners realize. An ulcer is an erosion of the stomach lining (mucosa) due to prolonged exposure of gastric acid; it causes the tissue lining in the stomach to break down. Acid is released into your horse’s stomach to help break down food, however, because horses are grazing animals this acid is released constantly, even when they aren’t eating. Therefore, damage can occur when there is a limited intake in food or on a high cereal/grain, low forage diet. Who does it effect? Gastric ulcers can affect any horse at any age, but occur more frequently in athletic horses, with the highest percentage rate found in Thoroughbred horses (85%), followed by endurance horses (70%), and show horses (60%). Causing factors include: equine ulcers horse ulcer sour stomach colic • Stress (caused by training, intensive exercise, shipping, and injury) • Infrequent feeding and a high concentrate diet with low roughage intake (Helpful hint: feed hay prior to giving grain >>> This gives the stomach a buffer) • Large grain meals and Limited access to hay/pasture • Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs The majority of horses do not show outward symptoms; they show more subtle symptoms. Clinical signs of ulcers in adult horses include but are not limited to: poor appetite, colic, decreased performance, attitude change, resistance, increased girthiness, poor body condition and weight loss.horse ulcers girth area equine colic Signs for foals are intermittent nursing, poor appetite, diarrhea, teeth grinding, salvation, and a pot belly. If you suspect your horse has an ulcer, you’ll need to see a Veterinarian in order to confirm. The only way to definitively diagnose an ulcer is through gastroscopy, which involves placing a long camera into the stomach to look at its surface. Treatment of gastric ulcers in horses is aimed at removing the predisposing factors and decreasing acid production. Make sure your horse has enough food to be able to eat frequently, and or keep them on a free choice basis (i.e. pasture). Horses in their primitive lives naturally have small, frequent meals of forage, this helps to buffer the acid in the stomach and stimultate saliva production as intended. Some other preventative measure you can take are: • Avoid stressful situations such as intense training and frequent transporting. • Reduce the amount of grain and concentrates and/or add alfalfa hay to the diet. • Avoid or decrease the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. • If horses must be stalled, allow them to see and socialize with other horses. In essence, prevention of ulcers is key. Along with these tips to combat ulcers, Arenus and Benefab are here to help. Arenus, the worlds leader in equine health and nutrition, came out with Assure Guardto assist with the treatment of ulcers. It’s a patented formula is made with calcium carbonate to soothe and prevent ulcers. It can be added to your treatment regimen to promote optimal GI tract function. For horses with metabolic concerns, Assure Guard Goldis the perfect solution; it offers an adequate daily dose of psyllium to help manage glucose and insulin levels while containing no added sugars. In addition to Assure Guard supplements, you can count on our SmartScrimfor helping to relax your horse and better prevent ulcers. Its lined with 84 magnets that target key acupuncture points, including the hind gut and ulcer points. This Scrim will help stimulate the Oxygen flow to the deep tissue level, increase blood flow, which plays an vital role in the protection from and healing of gastric ulcers. Blood vessels are damaged when gastric ulcers occur; during ulcer healing, the blood flow returns to normal. If you have a horse with ulcers or suspect ulcers, help is closer than you think. Remember, prevention is key for gastric ulcers. For help, check out Assure Guardand Assure Guard Goldas well as our wearable SmartScrim. Don’t forget, we can help YOU too. Check out our full product lines for humans and horses. To experience the benefits yourself >>> click HERE.


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