ULCER PREVENTION IN HORSESDiet and feeding habits are not only a potential solution for ulcers in performance horses, but can also help to prevent them altogether. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome can have a detrimental effect on horses, so making sure your horse has access to plenty of pasture, ample hay and digestible fibre sources as part of their diet is essential. This can aid in the production of saliva, which helps to neutralise stomach acid. It is also beneficial to try and reduce stress on the horse and speak with your veterinarian to ensure the best approach. Good treatment for ulcers requires a combination of the right environment, behaviour and diet, along with medication.
How does stress cause ulcers?
These moments of physiological or psychological stress cause the horse to release a hormone called cortisol, which lowers the production of prostaglandins in the stomach. The role of prostaglandins is to help protect the stomach mucosa from stomach acid, and the resulting prostaglandin reduction leaves the horse's stomach lining vulnerable to ulcers.
- Strenuous training - provide rest days
- Competition and travel
- Sudden management change – introduce changes slowly over 4 weeks.
- New environment
- Weaning or separation including carer or rider
- Stabling with limited turnout
A good way to reduce the risk of your horse developing ulcers is to provide them with a steady supply of both forage and water, keep their stress levels down, never work them on an empty stomach, and aim to avoid strenuous competition.
Short term treatment to prevent ulcers
To prevent the 'domino effect' of unavoidable stressful situations products containing the active ingredient omeprazole or sucralfate can be administered in a short course before, during and after the stressful event. Omeprazole will temporarily supress the production of stomach acid while sucralfate provides a protective lining for the digestive mucosa.
During periods of pre-empted stress, prevention doses of omeprazole or sucralfate can be administered at 1/2 treatment dose.
The ideal prevention "pre emptive" protocol is to treate for 48 hours prior to the event, during the event and for 48 hours following the event. (It is recommended that you consult with your local regulatory bodies when administering ulcer medication for events).
Long term treatment of gastric ulcers with omeprazole
It is unclear what impacts long-term use of omeprazole may have on bone mineral density or fracture rate in horses, however, there is a worry that it may have an adverse effect on bone mineralization.
The much older horse, horse owners may take a different the approach to long term omeprazole treatment, and see it as keeping their aging horse as comfortable as possible.
How safe is ongoing treatment of hindgut or gastric ulcers with sucralfate?
Sucralfate is a complex that forms a protective barrier over the horse’s digestive system. It prevents ulcers forming and also allows existing ulcers to heal. Because very little sucralfate is absorbed by the horse – there are very few (if any) side effects from treating ‘as needed’ with sucralfate.
Abler Ulcer Prevention MedicationPrevention
Abler ulcer prevention products are an excellent option for horse owners who wish to prevent "flare ups" or provide ongoing protection against ulcers.
- You can feel confident that you are ordering the correct product and quantity.
- It is possible to customise the dose based on the weight of your horse.
- You can choose between basic omeprazole (AbPrazole) or the added benefit of omeprazole combined with a probiotic (AbPrazole Plus).
- Sucralfate (AbSucralfate) to prevent both gastric and hindgut ulcers in pre measured dose as sachets or scoop of granules, making it easy to measure and feed.
The recommend prevention includes:
- AbPrazole (omeprazole) or AbPrazole Plus (omeprazole combined with a probiotic) sachets prevention 1/2 treatment dose as per horses bodyweight.
- AbSucralfate (sucralfate) sachets for prevention 1/2 treatment dose as per horses bodyweight..
If you’ve made it this far, you are probably wondering ‘Who is Abler?’ or ‘Can I trust this company?’. Abler has been a leader in affordable and effective equine ulcer medication since 2008. We know you want the best for your horse, so we work hard to continually improve our products.
Abler products are only available direct from www.abler.com which means we can keep our prices affordable and you can be confident that you are ordering from a reputable manufacturer with a global shipping network*.
Our customer satisfaction speaks for itself – here is a range of testimonials from first time customers who came to us for a reason probably similar to your own:
Magical Stuff !
We imported a young gelding from Belgium to the UK and unfortunately the journey stressed him and we suspected ulcers. A friend of ours had some Abler product and he responded so well to it and is a happy young man again. We keep Sucralfate in times of when we think he might get stressed out, travelling or when a companion he's attached to leaves so we know he's protected if he does get stressed out. This was super easy to feed and it had an immediate effect on soothing.Read more
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It’s important to be aware of actions you should be taking to assist your horse both during the recovery phase and into the future – there’s no single cause of uclers, and there’s no single solution in isolation.
- Stress - can be a contributing factor to ulcers in horses. To limit the risk of your horse developing gastric ulcers, try to avoid stressful environments when possible or contact your vet to discuss preventative treatment options during transportation or competitions, or in any situation where stress is unavoidable.
- Diet - for horses which are high in sugar and starch (such as high-grain diets) may present an increased risk of ulcer development. As starches are more quickly fermented than forages, they can be known to create an even more acidic stomach environment.It has been recommended that Lucerne/Alfalfa hay should be offered, as it is high in protein and calcium which help to provide strong gastric acid buffering. Additionally, providing a variety of different forages may increase the amount of feed a horse will consume, therefore potentially reducing the risk of ulcers.
- Social - horses and that having physical and visual contact with other horses can reduce the chances of them developing ulcers. Therefore, stall arrangements for horses should be done in such a way that they are able to socialize and interact with each other. Whenever possible, the same horse ! It is recommended to maximize turnout time for the horse's forage requirements, movement, socialization and overall well-being.
- NSAIDs -avoid high doses or extended use of NSAIDs (ie. bute)
- Intense exercise - leads to an increase in ulcer risks for horses. The longer and more strenuous the horse works, the more severe the ulcers are liable to be. To help reduce the probability and intensity of ulcers, try to reduce the number of times a horse is worked each week and make sure the stomach is full of forage before work. Consider giving the horse a small meal of high-protein, calcium-rich alfalfa around 20 minutes prior to exercise. When transporting a horse, ensure forage is provided during and soon after the journey. Try a pre-emptive dose of ulcer medication before exercise, transport or any type of change.
If you are still unsure about what 'AbSucralfate is the right solution for your horse, please contact us: