The Cause of Ulcers in OTTBs – Treatment and Prevention


The numbers are not wrong

The latest research shows that more than 80% of thoroughbreds retiring from racing suffer from gastric ulcers which may be mild or severe. In order to understand how to prevent and treat your OTTB, you need to understand why gastric ulcers are so prevalent in race horses and what are the cause of ulcers in OTTBs   cause of ulcers in OTTBs

What are the causes of ulcers in OTTBs?

The primary cause of ulceration in race horses, or ulcers in OTTBs,  include the following:

  • Intense exercise
  • Eating large amounts of grain
  • Eating on an irregular schedule
  • Stall Confinement
  • Administration of drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NAISDs)
  • Physical Stress


gastric ulcers in OTTBs

Exercise increases the production of hormones responsible for stimulating acid production in the stomach.


 Training & Exercise

Exercise increases the production of hormones responsible for stimulating acid production in the stomach. Additionally during intense activity the splash effect can expose the non-glandular areas to increased acid amounts.

Diet Regime

A diet consisting of large amounts of grain are high in carbohydrates contributes to the risk of inflammation and ulceration. In frequent eating due to training and confinement to stalls can cause ulcers.

NSAIDS Medicatations

Races horses are very susceptible to injury and require administration of of Anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain.

Physical Stress 

All of the above issues can contribute to the cause of ulcers in OTTBs.


This sums up a list of the cause of ulcers in OTTBs. Basically, intense exercise, eating large amounts of grain and irregular eating schedules, plus stall confinement, administration of drugs such as NAISDs, as well as physical stress are the main causes. By knowing this information you can put measures in place to try to avoid ulcers in your horse however with the high prevalence of ulcers developing in OTTBs, treatment is often required such as those outlined above.

Abler affordable equine medication





About Author

I grew up with horses on the family farm and have always had an interest in helping horses overcome medical conditions brought on by man made environmental issues. I have pursued a career in marketing and my interests are blog writing. Every spare moment I get on weekends and holidays is spent taking long rides with my wonderful OTTB Blaze.

Leave A Reply