It is believed that dietary composition, stress, and intensive exercise all result in ulcers in horses. There is a varying severity of ulcer problems in accordance to the causative factors. These ulcers can be uncomfortable, resulting in loss of appetite. Horses are seen to constantly grind their teeth when they have ulcers and they usually perform and behave badly. Equine digestive ulcers can be fatal especially to younger horses and a permanent damage can be incurred among adult horses. If these ulcers are not treated, it may even cause death.
Treating horse ulcers is rather simple; it is just a matter of allowing your horse to graze once in a while and get enough rest from exercise. Alternatively, many horse owners make use of drugs which act by suppressing acid production like Omeprazole, which is widely available. Treatment with such drug can be expensive considering you don’t need only one dose to eradicate ulcers effectively. You need about a month-long therapy course for horse ulcers to be treated.
Horses develop ulcers in many ways through the management of the owners. The condition, therefore, is mainly caused by man. The contributory factors for such condition include fasting, high-grain, starchy meals, stable confinement, insufficient forage, intensive exercise, and long-term treatment with NSAIDs.
Avoiding the contributory factors can help prevent ulcer formation but they might be impractical most of the time. However, you can turn things around by giving more forage-based diet and allowing your horse to graze freely as much as possible. If you have to have stables, be sure they are horse-friendly. Fasting is probably the most common factor of ulcer formation since the horse’s stomach continuously secretes acid with or without the presence of food. This acid will buildup when the stomach is empty and then the corrosive nature of the acid can destroy the stomach lining ultimately leading to horse ulcers. Do not leave your horse without access to food and do not allow them to fast beyond a couple of hours in that case.
A big percentage of performance horses easily develop the stomach lesions but even if your horse does not belong to the high-risk group of stabled horses, it would still be a great idea to avoid fasting, reduce their stress by allowing them to rest in between training, and feed the right kind of feed to keep him healthy. For problems with horse ulcers, AbGard is the treatment of choice by wise horse owners.