Stomach ulcers in horses
Stomach ulcers occur very often in horses. Research has shown that full bloodloods, carriers, sports horses and foals are very sensitive to stomach ulcers.
Stomach ulcers occur in horses due to an overproduction of gastric acid, which affects the gastrointestinal tract. Factors that increase the risk of stomach ulcers in horses include nutrition, exercise, stress and changes in growing foals.
Most horses and foals with stomach ulcers have barely any or no symptoms at all. Only when the ulcer is severe or when many are present, symptoms can be observed.
- Weight loss
- Decrease in performance
- No appetite or selective food intake
Through an endoscopy, the vet can diagnose a stomach ulcer in your horse.
By nature, a horse eats almost all day but never large amounts at once. The gastrointestinal tract of a horse is set on this eating pattern. The stomach wall is acidic, 24 hours a day and also when there is no food in the stomach. Horses in nature produce 40-60 liters of saliva a day, this saliva neutralizes the stomach acid.
By matching the nutritional pattern to the best of nature, it is important to provide as much raw material as possible. If you want to prevent stomach problems, offer four-day delivery throughout the day.
Measures to take
Measures to prevent stomach ulcers are:
- Letting the horse fast for a maximum of one hour: swallow very quickly in an empty stomach
- Give your horse as little food as possible
- If you offer good roughage, your horse gets a lot of energy and doesn't need as much food
- Replace a large part of the concentrate by Hartog Lucerne-mix
- Divide the concentrate as much as possible throughout the day into smaller quantities
- Do not feed more than 2 kg of feed per feeding time
- Make sure your horse has roughage at night too
- Hartog Compact Grass in combination with the special Hartog Feed Box XL gives you the opportunity to provide your horse with a rich diet throughout the day.
Recent research at Texas A & M University has shown that feeding Lucerne (Alfalfa) has a preventive and therapeutic effect in the treatment of gastric ulcers. In the 28 day trial, 24 yearling quarter horses were held in two treatment groups. A group was run with Bermuda hay and the other group with Lucerne to provide for the roughage. The horses were examined before and after the test period by means of Endoscopy, after which it could be concluded that Lucerne has a beneficial effect on the reduction of gastric acid production.
Hartog Balance Structure Muesli ensures that the horse chews better in its concentrates, producing more saliva than in normal concentrates. This greatly reduces the risk of stomach ulcers with your horse.
Extra information from PaardenSport> Stomach ulcer, origin, causes and occurrence
Text: Marike Jacobs
Photos: Jacob Melissen