Understanding the symptoms of ulcers in horses is important, as they can be a common occurrence that can be very uncomfortable for them. There are several things that may cause ulcers to form in horses. They can affect horses of any age or breed.
Ulcers are one of the most common ailments to occur in horses. Horses young and old, active, and inactive may experience ulcers. Some horses even experience them several times.
Symptoms of Ulcers in Horses
Ulcers are the result of erosion on the lining of the stomach which happens because of prolonged exposure of acid in the stomach. When horses exercise, the acidic fluid found in their stomach splashes and exposes the more sensitive part of their upper stomach to an acidic pH. They occur most often in racehorses, but they can affect any horses no matter what they do.
One of the most common causes of ulcers in horses is stress. Other causes include travel, limited turnout, mechanics of exercise, change in diet, limited forage, and high intake of concentrates. Long term use of certain medications may even cause ulcers to occur.
Common Symptoms of Equine Ulcers
On many occasions, the symptoms of ulcers may be subtle in horses. Some horses will display more symptoms than others. A horse that can appear completely healthy may even be suffering from gastric ulcers.
There are several symptoms in horses that may be a sign of ulcers. Some of the top symptoms include poor appetite, poor coat, change in attitude, reluctance to preform, change in performance, weight loss, and loose stool. Some horses may lay done more frequently, appear dull, and even have mild colic.
In more serious cases, the horse may colic regularly and even suffer from more severe cases of colic. Horses may even frequently grind their teeth. They may lay done even more often, even laying on their backs.
Ulcers can also commonly occur in foals. They may colic on an intermittent basis or be seen frequently laying down. They may have intermittent nursing, as the ulcers are causing discomfort.
In more severe cases, foals may display diarrhea, weak appetite, teeth grinding, and excessive salivation. In these situations, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Prevention and Treatment
Fortunately, ulcers are treatable and there are medications you can buy to manage them. There are also several ways to prevent ulcers from happening in the first place.
When it comes to preventing ulcers, one of the top ways to prevent them is to feed horses frequently, provide slow feeders, or allow free choice, such as pasture. This will help buffer acid in the stomach and encourage salivation. Also reducing the number of concentrates will help prevent ulcers.
It is also ideal to keep your horse in a low-stress environment. When transporting, make sure your horse is as comfortable as possible. Also allow your horse to have regular turnout when possible.
Though there several ways to treat ulcers that veterinarians may prescribe, only are a few are advertised to treat ulcers. Omeprazole is currently the only FDA approved drug to treat ulcers in horses. Anti-acids may be prescribed, but they must be administered several times in order to be effective.
Help to treat your horse’s ulcers with:
- MagnaGard Gastric Support Supplement
No More Ulcers
Ulcers can happen to any horse. Though often subtle, there are several symptoms that can occur from ulcers. However, there are several ways to prevent them from happening and treat them.