Understanding the cause of ulcers in horses
Cause Of Ulcers in Horses
Diet, stress, strenuous exercise are the main causes of ulcers in horses. Domestication of horses have caused this man made problem. Horses are natural grazes. Those that are on pasture have a lower incidence of ulcers. The facts prove that performance horse have higher incidence of gastric ulcers.
Common causes of ulcers include:
- A high energy diet with low-roughage intake.
- Intensive exercise on an empty stomach
- Stressors. These include physical stress like illness and behavioural stress like stall confinement, travel and isolation.
- Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (e.g Bute and Banamine)
- Parasite infestation
- Starvation - often seen with rescue horses.
How do I know if my horse has ulcers?
An endoscope will confirm the presence and severity of ulcers. This procedure is very invasive and can cause a great deal of stress for the horse
Acupressure is an alternative method for diagnosing ulcers. A technique developed by equine vet, Dr Mark DePaolo. You can do this by using acupressure to check gastric ulcer symptoms at home.
Another way to confirm your horse has ulcer is to treat with medication. A trial treatment will not harm your horse and is less stressful. If no there is no change to your horse's symptoms, ulcers can be ruled out.
You can find out more about the trial medication method here.