Having heartburn can be very irritating. Just think about a horse getting ready for a performance but is suffering from a stomach ulcer. It could be so discomforting, even painful. However, knowing whether your horse has developed this condition can not be easily determined. A good understanding of the best ulcer treatment for horses is still necessary to ensure that your horse will receive immediate relief for the animal should it show signs of this health issue.
Stomach Ulcers in Horses
Stomach ulcers are a common concern in horses and may affect any horse at any age. However, horses that are in training are noted to be more susceptible to this condition. The severity of the condition increases as the training progresses or as the horse engages in more challenging activities. Younger horses can also experience ulcers, even foals or those that are only a couple of days old.
It is also important to note that horses who have history of this condition should be monitored regularly as they are most susceptible to recurring ulcers.
Once your horse starts behaving differently, there is a great possibility that there is something wrong about its health condition. When this happens, immediate action should be taken to ease the condition of the horse. Identify relevant symptoms and provide relief as soon as possible. An expert’s opinion should also be considered every time.
Why Are Ulcers Common in Horses?
The main reason for such susceptibility is the size of the horse’s digestive tract. Horses do have a smaller digestive compartment. However, they need to be fed (in small amounts) regularly and throughout their waking time.
A horse’s natural habitat encourages this feeding behavior. This animal releases stomach acid round the clock, every day throughout the week (about nine gallons of this acid), even when they are not nibbling. That means a long gap between the feeding and non-feeding hours will trigger ulcers to develop since an empty stomach will have nothing to neutralize the acid.
Stress is another factor that may cause gastric ulcers to develop. Physical and environmental stress (confinement, limited interaction with other horses) can induce gastric ulceration in horses.
Drugs can also be a related factor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are usually provided to horses, like flunixin meglumine or ketoprofen, can also lessen the production of mucus layer in the stomach, which makes it more vulnerable to ulcers.
What Are the Signs of This Condition?
Majority of the horses that are experiencing gastric ulcers may not experience manifestation of the condition on the outside o f the body. The more common signs of this condition, such as:
- Poor appetite. This also includes the horse refusing feeds or supplements that it has taken before.
- Belching noises.
- Decreased performance.
- Weight loss.
- Teeth grinding, excess salivation, froth forming around the lips.
- Lying on the back longer than usual
- Poor hair coat condition
- Poor body condition
In case you observe any of these symptoms, it is best that an expert’s recommendations be considered.
It is important to remember that even healthy looking horses may also experience gastric ulcers.
Which means that immediate attention should be given to the animal if ever it exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned.
If ever your horse starts biting and kicking while tying a cinch around its girth, you need to take these signs seriously.
Remember that both forms of ulcers (colonic and gastric) are quite dangerous to your horse. It can even cause death.
How Do You Manage a Horse with This Condition?
Note that a high carbohydrate diet can also cause ulcer. Hence, it is vital to consider the diet that you provide to your horse. Keeping the animal away from stressful situations is also necessary since environments which causes stress may irritate them and trigger ulceration. Anything that will increase the stress level should avoided.
Parasites can also cause gastric problems. Even though regular worming may not reduce ulceration, it can prevent a misdiagnosis and will also contribute to the overall health of the horse, so it should be done as needed.
Having a better understanding of the best treatment for ulcer treatment for horses is only the beginning to proper horse care. Implementation of the best practices should never be neglected to ensure that your horse will remain healthy and well.