How To Prevent and Treat Stomach Ulcers in Horses Naturally!
By Dr. Richard Shakalis
Stomach ulcers in horses is major health epidemic in the equine world and may be preventable. The Equine Gastric Ulcer Council found that stomach ulcers were present in 80-90% of racehorses in training. It is estimated that more than 52% of horses of all breeds from one to twenty four years old suffer from stomach ulcer symptoms.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers in Horses
Most people do not know for sure if their horses have stomach ulcers. They may only suspect the presence of ulcers because of small noticeable changes in their horse’s condition. For example, adult horses with ulcers can exhibit a combination of poor appetite, dullness, attitude changes, decreased performance, poor body and hoof condition, rough hair coat, weight loss and colic. Treating gastric ulcers with acid blockers sometimes helps to relieve the symptoms, but may prolong the problem.
Why Horses Get Stomach Ulcers.
Horses have evolved to eat many small meals per day, almost on a continual basis. Even though the horse’s stomach is only 8 percent of digestive tract (eight quarts or two gallons), the emptying time of the stomach can be a mere twelve minutes and the rate of passage through the small intestine one foot per minute. The small volume of the stomach and the rapid passage of food to the small intestine is the reason that horses can and are designed to eat almost continuously. Gastric pH can drop lower than 2 soon after a horse stops consuming food and the stomach will continue to produce strong acid even if food is not present.
Concentrate feeding can inadvertently contribute to ulcer formation by its influence on increasing serum gastric levels, lowering the horse’s roughage intake and reducing the amount of time spent eating. Imposed feed deprivation, such as in colic management cases, can result in erosion and ulceration of the gastric mucosa as well. Also, horses can become excited being transported or during training and racing, further lowering gastric pH. These influences contribute to gastric ulceration.
What Is The Best Way of Preventing & Treating Stomach Ulcers In Horses:
Drugs or Supplements?
Leading animal nutritionists have reported that acid-blocking drugs (i.e. UlcerGard) and feed supplements (i.e. Starting Gate Granules) taken at the same time would be complimentary in benefiting horses. They can also be taken independently. Neither would replace the other. UlcerGard is a drug with a specific function. Starting Gate is a nutritional ingredient providing a source of Phospholipids. UlcerGard stops hydrochloric acid secretion which can cause cell damage, leading to stomach ulcers. Starting Gate provides the membrane integrity of cells and to provide nutritional building blocks to help the natural healing process.
When sourcing lecithin, remember that not all lecithin granules are the same. The best source of lecithin is in a brand that contains apple pectin and sold through dealers that specialize in the sale of animal supplements made domestically.
(Dr. Shakalis is co-founder and lead researcher for SBS EQUINE for 30 years. For more information on equine health issues go to www.sbsequine.com.)