It has become apparent in recent years that a significant number of horses are suffering from gut disorders such as gastric and colonic ulcers, scour and enteroliths.
Endoscope picture of typical upper-wall ulcers – courtesy Dr Tim Brazil
Symptoms of Gastro-Intestinal Ulcers include:
– poor condition.
– general lack of appetite.
– windsucking & crib-biting, grinding teeth and excessive salivation.
– weaving and box-walking.
– lethargy, dull coat.
– acute or repetitive mild colic.
– loose droppings and fluid; scouring.
– Fractious behaviour, including bucking when ridden, objecting to girth tightening.
– Sensitive flanks, especially the right.
– Difficulty or resistance to bending and collection.
Causes of Equine Gastro-Intestinal Ulcers
– Frequent or excessive use of NSAID type drugs e.g.’Bute;
– Can occur when feed bolted – lack of saliva to buffer stomach acid.
– Horse allowed to go hungry – no fibre in stomach to protect against damage by stomach acid -for example in the early hours before morning stables.
– Intensive exercise – can cause the stomach acid to splash onto the upper, unprotected stomach wall.
– Stress – causes contraction of abdominal muscles, in turn compressing the stomach and forcing acid up onto the upper wall.
– Feeding poor quality acidic haylage (mainly affects hind gut).
Horseheath Nutrition can provide free advice on management & diets for horses experiencing the problems outlined above. You can telephone 0344 8844 850 or 07721 384508 or use the form here.
For a more detailed account of gastro-intestinal ulcers click here.
For a recent (April 2021) review by a vet click here
Copyright Horseheath Nutrition. All rights reserved.
If any images have been inadvertently used without the copyright holders’ permission (e.g. supplied by customers) then that copyright is hereby acknowledged; copyright holders should contact Gravenhorse Feeds at the earliest opportunity so that appropriate arrangements can be made.