We humans tend to be off-stride when we’re forced to work when sick, and unfortunately, horses aren’t much different in that regard. However, it can be hard to tell when they’re ill because, as prey animals, horses are pretty good at hiding sickness. It’s the job of us humans to notice when our horses aren’t performing with their usual skill and ability. One of the most common causes of decreased productivity in working and performance horses is gastric ulcers. A lot of performance horses develop gastric ulcers due to their lifestyles, and these internal sores are an extra heavy handicap weighted on them.
When it comes to Thoroughbred racehorses, studies have shown between forty and forty-six percent of the horses surveyed with an endoscopic investigation showed to have gastric ulcers. While there are limited studies into the effects of these ulcers and their performance, it is reasonable to think that they could indeed perform better without the pain and illness.
Look at the symptoms
Moderate to severe gastric ulcers affects horses. Measurable symptoms include poor appetite, poor body condition and coat, reoccurring colic attacks, changes in attitude and pain symptoms such as girth avoidance. These alone will affect how your horse does in their day to day tasks and at events. Any illness is a drag on the person or animal dealing with it, performing on top of it, does not help the situation any and will likely lead to a subpar performance. Especially since your horse is probably not eating well, isn’t maintaining the best body condition, and is in pain from the gastric ulcers.
If your horse is seeming tired and not up their usual standards, it’s time to identify their health issues. If they’re being picky about food, showing pain around the girth, lethargic or any of the other ulcer symptoms, it’s time to call in your veterinarian and get a diagnosis. The diagnosis for gastric ulcers involves a mild sedative for the horse (sorry, none for their owner,) and an endoscope put through their nostril and down into their stomach. Once identified, your veterinarian can help you treat and heal your horse to get them back into full performance mode.
Equine gastric ulcer treatment most commonly involves omeprazole.
Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). What this means, is that it reduces the gastric acid production in the stomach, allowing damage to heal. Abler offers several products such as AbPrazole that contains omeprazole and comes in several easy to administer, tasteless, formula of bright blue granules. Treat with Omeprazole granules today and get your horse back performing to his best.