Every day, we get emails from horse owners, many of them desperate because they don't know what is wrong with their horse.
"My mare grinds her teeth" or "Just seeing the girth makes my gelding hit his belly with his hooves" or "My horse doesn't eat well and has colic often". In many cases a veterinarian will eventually determine that these complaints indicate an ulcer. The problem seems to be that gastric ulcer symptoms are not interpreted correctly by many riders.
Why is it that horses get gastric ulcers?
Imagine that your horse starts to grind his teeth. This is unusual, but you don't immediately think of a gastric ulcer. It could also have many other causes. You wonder whether the training is too stressful or if the horse has developed dental problems? Or you hope it's just a phase that passes quickly. Then your horse starts to go off his feed. Of course, this could also have something to do with general tension. Or maybe he doesn't like his food?
Some horses start to show further symptoms, whilst others continue to have individual issues. And not all of them are as alarming as frequent colic. This is why equine gastric ulcers are often not detected until it is much too late.
Here is a recap of the most important symptoms. If one or more of them last more than a short time, consult a veterinarian.
Here are 8 typical clinical symptoms for equine gastric ulcers:
1. Loss of appetite, poor feed intake
2. Recurrent colics
3. Lack of willingness to perform
4. Weight loss
5. Belly raised and tucked up
6. Teeth grinding, flehmen behaviour
It’s essential to recognise the symptoms, and to have them looked into! An equine gastroscopy provides certainty!
Only with a gastroscopy can a gastric ulcer be diagnosed with one hundred percent certainty. This is an examination procedure carried out professionally by a veterinarian.
The vet inserts an endoscope into the horse's stomach to look for potential gastric ulcers or mucous membrane irritation. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome, as it is called by veterinarians, is usually not detected in time because the symptoms of gastric ulcers can go unnoticed in horses. Some horses just seem a little tired and listless.
What are the causes of equine gastric ulcers?
Changes in a horse’s training routine or stable management, highly concentrated feed with a low crude fibre content and intensive training can lead to the formation of ulcers – sometimes within only seven days. Stressed horses are particularly susceptible. Stomach lesions can be helped by long-term administration of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, among other treatments.
How long does it take to treat a gastric ulcer in a horse?
Successfully treated with medication like GastroGard, the horse will feel better after only a few days. Nevertheless, this therapy must be continued for a period of up to three weeks so that the stomach lining can regenerate completely. As long as a gastric ulcer is not recognized and treated, this will be a long-lasting and permanent problem. Worst case, it may lead to the ulcer burning through the inner stomach wall.
You can do something about the pain and discomfort your horse surely suffers when it is plagued by gastric ulcers. Equine 74 Gastric is a 100% natural acid buffer that helps absorb excess gastric acid.
Administered daily, Equine 74 Gastric will help the stomach create a balanced pH value. Equine 74 Gastric’s high calcium content and unique sponge-like structure give it up to 2.5 times the acid buffer capacity of other supplements on the market.