Ulcers are common digestive problems in horses, predominantly in the performance or racing group.
You may encounter the most common form of ulcers, which is the gastric ulcers – that form in the stomach of the horse. Did you know that hindgut ulcers (or colonic ulcers) are also a common problem for performance horses?
A Little Something About Hindgut Ulcers
The horse’s energy to perform mainly comes from the volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced in the colon. Horses are hindgut fermenters, which mean that fermentation of what they eat takes place in the colon to liberate the VFA’s. Since the hindgut is a fundamental part of the digestion process, it is essential to keep it in a healthy state.
Most recognized problems of the horse’s digestive system are either stomach ulcers or equine gastric ulcers. Colonic ulcers –though not as prevalent as gastric ulcers – can still pose as a problem especially in performance horses.
Treating Equine Ulcers
What works in the treatment of horse ulcers? It is important to remember that there is no perfect treatment option unless owners are compliant with the regimen. Treating equine ulcers starts from managing good equine nutrition, providing a good environment for the horse and minimizing stressful situations .
Treatment of ulcers in horses comes in different varieties. Omeprazole addresses acid production. Other treatment options work by coating the digestive tract keeping it protected from the harmful effects of the acid. This treatment belongs to the category of coating agents and is known as sucralfate and is also considered to work best for hindgut ulcers in horses.
Sucalfate prevents further damage to horse
Sucralfate is an interesting treatment for ulcers, it turns into a viscous substance that adheres to the site of ulceration, forming a barrier and protecting the lesion from further damage.
AbSucralfate from Abler contains 5g of sucralfate in granules, making it easy for administration. The recommended sucralfate for horse’s dosage is approximately 30mg per kg of bodyweight and treatment is given three times a day ideally on an empty stomach.
Benefit of Sucralfate
The main benefit of using sucralfate to treat hindgut ulcers is that it protects the lesion site from further damage brought on by the acidic environment. Giving sucralfate also helps prevent the formation of more ulcers.
Knowledge is a powerful thing in the case of caring for your horse. Understanding different kinds of ulcers in horses can help you make informed choices on the treatment options. It also helps to realize that most digestive problems encountered by horses today are usually induced – brought about by feeding changes, stressful situations and training regimen.
Targeting the cause of Ulcers
The best way to address ulcers is to target the causes. Changing the way you manage your horses. In the case of colonic ulcers, minimizing the use of NSAIDs, (Bute) giving forage, allowing horses free choice of hay and updating on worming schedule can help reduce the incidence of the problem.
Observing a proper feeding regimen ensures that the digestion of carbohydrates actually takes place in the foregut, keeping starches from reaching the hindgut, which then helps maintain a normal pH level as well as maintain a low acidic environment.
In a world of performance horses, it is near impossible for grains or concentrates to be absent in the feed; as is stalling and rigorous training schedule. However, minimizing these practices can help a lot in reducing the pain for a horse with ulcers