Causes of Gastric Ulcers
Gastric ulcers in horses result when the acidity level on the stomach increases. The acid rises up to the non-glandular part of stomach. There is minimal protection in this area from the effects of acid, hence gastric ulcers will occur.
When a horse is under stress stomach’s acidity will increase. Examples of stressful situations for a horse are stalling and transporting. The symptoms of ulcers can vary greatly from one horse to another but usually produce abdominal pain and appetite suppression along with behavioral changes.
Plan a proper Diet
Stomach acid is neutralized upon presence of food or by saliva from chewing. If you plan a proper diet try reducing the amount of concentrated feeds and increase intake of hay.
A diet mainly consisting of roughage is best to reduce the incidence of ulcers. Choose high quality hay to avoid hay mixed with sugar and toxic plants. Carbohydrate is the collective term for starches, sugars and fiber in your horse's diet. Correct diet should be composed mostly of forage, as in grass, hay, haylage, beet pulp and alfalfa cubes.
Performance Horse diet
Performance horses consume concentrates or high-grain feeds to meet their energy requirements. There are many reasons why incorporating high-grain or concentrated feeds can lead to digestive problems in horses. For instance the production of the hormone gastrin. Gastrin is a hormone which stimulates secretion of gastric juice in the stomach. Small meals like concentrate gives a slower response in gastrin.
Horses also don’t need time to chew concentrates and consequently there will be less saliva produced. Concentrates are so easy to digest which means that the stomach empties out easily. When this happens, your horse could easily go hungry.
When a horse goes hungry for more than a couple of hours, he is already prone to developing ulcers. If the feeding practices cannot be changed, it is better to give medications to combat ulcers in horses.
Treating Ulcers in horses
If you need to treat and prevent ulcers in your ulcer-prone horse, you need a long-term solution. Omeprazole products are the go to medication for gastric ulcers. In conclusion a proper diet plan alone may not solve the problem Gastric ulcer medication may also be required.