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Preventing Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in Your Horse

Here at VetInternetCo.com, we are aware of the many challenges horse owners face every day. Having two horses at our farm, Ace and Slim, on our adjoining property has made us even more aware of an especially serious ailment in horses: equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS). We have spoken with several horse owners who have also seen this problem and are seeking more information and treatment. Below are some causes, symptoms and treatments for gastric ulcers in horses. For more in-depth information on this ailment, click here to hear from a veterinarian.

Causes

  • Fasting (not eating)
  • Type of feed (not enough roughage) or feeding change
  • Change in Amount of Exercise
  • Medications (chronic use of NSAIDs)
  • High Stress (sometimes caused during transports and competitions)

Symptoms in Foals

A veterinarian will be able to do specific lab tests to confirm whether or not the horse has an ulcer. However, these are some symptoms to look for:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequently lying on the back
  • Intermittent Colic (sometimes after nursing/eating)
  • Teeth grinding

Symptoms in Adult Horses

  • Personality Changes/Attitude Changes
  • Weight Loss
  • Poor Coat
  • Lying down more frequently
  • Mild Colic
  • Poor Appetite

Treatment Options

Ulcer treatment options vary and different medications are for three different purposes: (1) to decrease acid production; (2) to buffer acid produced; and (3) to protect the lining of the stomach from acid. Below are several options to consider in the treatment of gastric ulcers.

  • UlcerGard – preventative medication that halts excess acid production.
  • Giving probiotics like this one to aid in digestion.
  • Increasing the roughage in your horse’s diet.
  • Prescription H2 blockers that block the action of histamine, which stimulates production of stomach acid.
  • Avoiding or decreasing the amount of grain in your horse’s diet.

Having a horse that is suffering from gastric ulcers can be alarming. The good news is that there are many treatment options for horse owners. As always, if you believe your horse may be suffering from gastric ulcers, consult your veterinarian!

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