So your horse has started to act weird. Not eating as well as he or she did before, lethargic, reluctance to work under saddle, over all cranky and sensitive to brushing or saddling. Does this sound familiar? Maybe your horse has ulcers…you’ve heard about ulcers, but how do you know that your horse has them and what do you do about it? Equine ulcer relief doesn’t really have to be difficult of expensive, there are a few things that you can try that are easy and don’t even require your veterinarian.
Briefly, horses get ulcers for quite a few reasons and it has been determined that most horses being used in performance, racing or in training can get ulcers…most already have them. The unnatural way we keep horses like being kept in stalls, feeding meals with large breaks in between feedings, giving feed that is too high in sugars and starches, and not allowing free choice hay are some of the reasons horses have ulcers. Then add the stress of trailering, training, lack or turnout or improper turnout, and competition…there is really no surprise that a lot of them have ulcers.
Basically there are two types of ulcers: foregut and hindgut ulcers. Foregut ulcers (gastric) are in your horses stomach while hind gut ulcers (colonic) are in the horses colon. Some horses have one type, some have both. The symptoms really are pretty much alike, so how can you determine which kind your horse has and what to do about it?
It is really pretty simple. Usually you start with Omeprazole. Omeprazole can be purchased online without a prescription and it is used for foregut ulcers. You can treat your horse with it for 3-4 days and if the symptoms subside, then you can assume that your horse had foregut ulcers. If the symptoms do not subside, then you can assume that your horse has hindgut ulcers as Omeprazole does not work for them. If you determine that the horse is suffering from hind gut ulcers, a product called Sucralfate can also be purchased online and given to treat the hind gut ulcers. Sometimes an owner might opt to give both drugs in case the horse has both fore and hindgut ulcers, which is entirely possible.