Horse Ulcers

We know when there is something wrong with our horses. As riders, handlers, and trainers, we know how a horse should or should not act, and if there is a pain or discomfort. It pains us to see, and can be puzzling to determine the cause. Some are more obvious, with the pain clearly matching a symptom. Many times it can takes our years of experience, or just an inquisitive eye, to get to the bottom of it. Many symptoms can also correlate with many problems. A common one, that can display a variety of issues, are hindgut and gastric horse ulcers. Horse ulcer medication can help.

Symptoms

It is estimated that up to 57% of foals and 1/3 of adult horses confined in stalls, may have mild ulcers. Also, up to 60% of show horses, and 90% of racehorses, may develop moderate to severe ulcers. Furthermore, ulcer symptoms in horses can range greatly. From decreased performance, attitude change (reluctance to work), poor body condition, and reduced appetite. In addition, low-grade colic, intermittent colic, diarrhea, and poor appetite. As well as grinding of teeth, excess salivation, and many other possible signs.

Causes

The cause of ulcers in horses is the erosion of the stomach lining. This is due to prolonged exposure to the digestive acids. A horse’s stomach constantly produces hydrochloric acid. So, if a horse does not eat, the acid accumulates in the stomach, and can eventually cause damage. In the wild, a horse is grazing for up to 16hr a day. Forage and saliva reduce the acidity. If stabled horses regularly have access to hay and grazing, this natural preventative process continues. But if they are fed high starch diets with only limited access to forage, the acidity in the stomach increases. Sometimes this can be unavoidable.

Horse ulcer medication treatment

The best treatment for ulcers in horses, and their symptoms, is omeprazole. A horse ulcer medication that is from a family of proton pump inhibitors (PPI's) that blocks secretion of acid and assists by reducing and neutralizing acid in the horse's stomach allowing improved healing of existing ulcer damage.
Omeprazole is effective for 24 hours, allowing the stomach sufficient time to heal itself. A treatment regime of 28 days will help heal the ulcers.