What You Don't Know About the Complicated Equine Digestive System

What You Don't Know About the Complicated Equine Digestive System

by Jordan Manfredi

As equine caregivers & equestrians, we've all heard the nightmares about colic in horses. But, what about gastric ulcers? They are very common in horses, much more so than colic. Gastric ulcers can affect any horse, but are more frequent in horses that perform & show. Here at Horse Tack Co. we want to help you learn how to prevent, spot and treat them so that your horse is happy and healthy. Make sure to use the promo code "LoveTheRide" to receive 15% off your equine digestive essentials and more, all-the-time and anytime.

What are Gastric Ulcers? They are sores that form on the stomach lining, essentially, an erosion of the stomach lining from prolonged exposure to stomach acid. 

What causes gastric ulcers? Equine gastric ulcers are actually thought to be a man-made disease. Feeding horses 2 times a day, confinement to a stall, stress from showing and training all are big contributors to equine gastric ulcers. A horse is designed to be a grazer, always having a regular intake of roughage. Gastric ulcers occur because the horse's sensitive digestive tissue has had prolonged contact with irritating acids from an empty stomach. Most horses are not fed before performing, the empty stomach making them highly susceptible to ulcers, or a horse may be given high concentrates of grains. When a horse eats a grainy, concentrated meal, the food passes through the stomach faster than roughage. So, there are often times when the stomach is empty of feed and still producing gastric acid. If your horse is taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the risk of contracting a gastric ulcer is raised as well. This is because the drugs decrease  production of the horse's protective mucus in the stomach, making it more susceptible to the formation of ulcers. A horse can produce up to 16 gallons of acidic gastric juice a day.

How do you know if your horse is suffering from a gastric ulcer? A horse that is suffering from a gastric ulcer may display signs such as: irritated behavior, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, teeth grinding, diarrhea, cribbing & even colic.

How can you keep gastric ulcers at bay? You can help prevent your horse from having a gastric ulcer in a few ways; increase grazing time, use a slow feeder to extend foraging, increase social interaction, make sure that your horse is offered high-quality roughage, reduce stressful situations or use an aid. A product such as Gastro Gold III can prevent and treat gastric ulcers. The active ingredients in Gastro Gold III; omeprazole, sodium acid carbonate, and l-glutamine, have been extensively tested for safety and effectiveness. They work together in reducing and neutralizing acid in the horse's stomach. Gastro Gold III is made with  molasses to make it more palatable to your horse, it's easy to use and administer. The paste helps relieve pain and prevents reoccurrence. 

Always have Gastro Gold III on hand, it works to soothe the stomach during stressful events like traveling, performing, injury & illness or if your horse is on a pain reliever, as some drugs cause an increased risk of gastric ulcers. 

Other ways to keep gastric ulcers at bay is to make sure you have a horse that has proper nutrition and hydration. Supplements always help and a daily electrolyte such as Horse Quencher can help by adding minerals to the stomach and encourage your horse to drink water, which is never a bad thing. 

Gastric ulcers can make your horse feel unhappy and uncomfortable. Horse Tack Co. proudly carries Gastro Gold III so that you can ensure the healthiest and happiest life for your horse and you! Don't forget to use the code "LoveTheRide" upon checkout to receive 15% off your order, all-the-time and anytime. 

 

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