Based on current risk factors, your horse is at a high risk of developing Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS). Stay vigilant for signs that your horse is affected by ulcers and consider changes to your horse’s feeding routine, environment or activity level to reduce the risk of ulcers in the future.
We recommend regular checkups by a veterinarian to assess your horse’s gastric health. The only way to confirm gastric ulcers is with an endoscopic scope. The following are common warning signs of ulcers in horses:
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- Decreased comfort level
- Irritable mood
- Decreased performance
- Changes in body condition
- Poor coat quality
Gastric ulcers are found in approximately 90% of racehorses and 60% of leisure horses. If your horse has an intensive training regime or is engaged in heavy work, it is likely at high risk for ulcers.
Other contributing factors to the development of ulcers include stall confinement, high grain intake or low forage intake, and not enough time spent grazing on pasture. Low quality forage, limited water intake, and feeding more than 1 to 2 kg of concentrate per feeding can also increase the risk of ulcers forming.
Stress is a major contributor to the development of EGUS. Changes in your horse’s environment such as travel for competition, alterations in herd dynamics, and injury requiring stall rest can cause ulcers. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as phenylbutazone can also impair the protective mucous layer in your horse’s stomach and increase ulcer risk.
If you suspect your horse has or is developing ulcers, consider Visceral+ a clinically proven natural supplement that stimulates healing of ulcers and prevents recurrence.
Visceral+ was developed in conjunction with veterinarians tired of treating ulcers with GastroGard (omeprazole) or UlcerGard only to have horses relapse post-treatment. Visceral+ provides complete coverage from stomach to colon.
Visceral+ is formulated with the highest quality probiotic ingredients, earth-grown nutrients, minerals and amino acids that your horse needs to naturally support the body’s own healing mechanisms and restore the integrity of the stomach and small intestines lining.
Top 5 Tips to Reduce Ulcer Risk
Help protect your horse’s digestive system. Follow these 5 tips to lower the risk of developing ulcers and support gastrointestinal health:
- Increase Meal Frequency: Horses that go a long time between meals have more acidic digestive tracts. Provide smaller meals with less time between feedings.
- Feed Less Grain and More Forage: Changes in dietary composition can significantly affect ulcer risk. Horses fed more hay and less grains or commercial feeds tend to develop fewer ulcers.
- Supplement your Horse’s Diet: Consider probiotics like those found in Visceral+ to nourish your horse’s microbiome and improve immunity. Addressing nutrient deficiencies can also enhance mucin production, building a natural defensive layer within the gut.
- Reduce Stall Confinement Time: Horses that spend too much time in confinement and not enough time grazing on pasture are more likely to have ulcers. Turnout with other horses is also correlated with decreased probability of EGUS.
- Prevent Excess Stress and Workload: Intense exercise and heavy work is strongly linked to ulcer risk. Trailering, changes in the environment, and other sources of stress can also increase risk. Manage your horse’s workload and try to minimize exposure to stress.
Natural Ways to Support Gut Health
If your horse is affected by digestive upsets, you may have noticed weight loss, diarrhea, or poor nutrient absorption. To help your horse resolve digestive issues and maintain a healthy gut consider adding a probiotic supplement or gut health formula to your horse’s diet.
Mad Barn’s Optimum Probiotic is a highly concentrated pure supplement that contains 5 probiotic strains scientifically formulated to maintain a healthy gut for maximal nutrient absorption, feed efficiency, and weight gain.
For comprehensive GI tract coverage, consider our Optimum Digestive Health Pellets which are designed to optimize hindgut health and enhance immunity with natural probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes and nucleotides.