Equine Ulcer Treatment Part 2

Equine Ulcer Treatment article part 2 polo hors rider

Part 1 of this article can be found on our website here.

13 Signs of Gastric Ulcers in Horses

  1. Poor appetite and picky eating
  2. Weight loss
  3. Deterioration of body condition
  4. Poor coat condition
  5. Behaviour changes
  6. Irritability, anxiety, aggression
  7. Depression
  8. Bruxism (grinding of teeth)
  9. Flehmen response (upper lip curl)
  10. Significant performance decline
  11. Digestive symptoms: acute or recurrent colic symptoms like rolling, pawing, and looking at their sides, or chronic diarrhoea.
  12. Stretching to urinate
  13. More time spent lying down

 

 

 

Diagnostics for Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Diagnosing gastric ulcers in horses includes a combination of clinical symptoms/signs, physical examinations, blood tests, gastroscopy, ultrasound and treatment response.

 

Ulcer Treatment for Horses

Here are 9 treatments available to treat ulcers in horses:

  1. Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole suppress stomach acid production and help relieve pain associated with ulcers.
  2. H2Blockers like ranitidine reduce stomach acid production.
  3. Antacids like magnesium hydroxide neutralise stomach acid.
  4. Sucralfate forms a protective barrier over the ulcer, assisting in healing.
  5. Dietary Management:
  • Let your horse have unlimited access to pastures or turnout areas.
  • Increase the daily amount of forage fed to at least 1.5% of your horse’s body weight, and reduce grains, concentrates and high-sugar foods to reduce acid production. The starch content of your horse’s daily feed should not exceed 2g per kg of your horse’s body weight.
  • Avoid long periods on an empty stomach and never fast a horse with an ulcer. Rather, feed small meals frequently during the day to reduce acid buildup.
  • Bale nets, slow feeders, or ½ Day bags are helpful to increase chewing and slow feeding time to maintain good levels of saliva production for acid buffering.
  • Before and during prolonged exercise, provide your horse with a small meal like loose wet hay or soaked hay pellets. During trail riding, give them time to graze.

 

horse rider jumping

 

  1. Supplements:

Various plant extracts and nutrients indicate remarkable potential, as part of an integrative treatment plan, to help treat gastric ulcers by reducing inflammation, soothing and promoting healing of the stomach lining and promoting overall digestive health.

  • Marshmallow root coats and soothes the stomach lining and alleviates irritation.
  • Deglycyrrhised licorice Root anti-inflammatory, protects stomach lining.
  • Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and calming, promotes overall digestive health, alleviates stress.Burdock helps reduce inflammation in the stomach lining, contains mucilage to soothe the stomach lining, promotes overall digestive health by balancing the natural microbiome and promoting healthy digestion, and enhances natural detoxification processes to reduce stress on the digestive system.
  • Peppermint is calming, reduces bloating and discomfort.
  • Fennel reduce bloating and ease discomfort.
  • Curcumin provides significant anti-inflammatory protection in the digestive tract, alleviating inflammatory damage, abdominal pain and gastric discomfort associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerscumin grey background yellow horse supplement

 

  • Schisandra benefits gastrointestinal disorders like hyper- or hypo secretion of gastric juices, gastric infection, inflammation, and ulcers, regulates bowel motility, and improves levels of beneficial probiotics.
  • Spirulina is an excellent prebiotic, acting as a food source for various beneficial intestinal flora (microbiome) like Lactobacillus and Bifidus species, has significant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and antibiotic abilities, provides substantial protection against toxin-induced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD induced by toxins is associated with immune cell infiltration, chronic inflammation, ulceration, swelling of the digestive lining, bleeding and tissue degeneration. Spirulina supplementation significantly reduces toxin-induced inflammation, immune cell infiltration and abscess formation in the digestive lining, and stimulates healing. Owing to its high concentration of antioxidants, Spirulina possesses great anticancer potential and may reduce the risk of cancer development and progression.
  • Kelp, like Spirulina, is a rich source of fibre that supports digestive health in multiple ways: it improves bowel movement, serves as a prebiotic food source for a healthy microbiome, reduces gastrointestinal inflammation, and subsequently reduces the incidence of inflammatory bowel conditions. It also supports efficient detoxification of toxins excreted into the bowel via the bile by improving bowel movement and stimulating healthy probiotic levels.
  • L-glutamine is a vital nutrient that stimulates cellular regeneration in the digestive tract, maintains the resilience of the gastric mucosal lining, enhances the protective function of the digestive lining against pathogenic invasion, and helps to repair ulcerative damage.
  • Astragalus: supports gastric health via inhibition of bacterial and viral infections, and its anti-inflammatory and antioxidation properties, regulates gastric mucosal cell production, promotes the formation of blood circulation to the ulcerated area for regeneration.
  • Propolis has significant anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antioxidant properties to protect against inflammatory degeneration of the gastric lining and support healing.
  • Probiotics in a healthy and balanced microbiome are essential to help protect the gastric lining against inflammation caused by pathogenic infections and gastric acid.

 

Untamed-animal-health-supplements-for-horses-Equine-Ulcer-Syndrom-Stress-Management-in-horses-untamed-calm (2)

  1. Stress Reduction:

Horses may experience stress due to pain and illness, travel, competition, and their direct environment. Since stress is a well-known contributing factor to the development of gastric ulcers, supporting your horse’s mental and physical health is pivotal for their overall health and performance. Here are a few approaches to consider:

  • Social interaction is essential: Provide ample opportunities for your horse to spend time with like-minded horses.
  • Mental enrichment: Add interesting new obstacles to their environment, different exercises, and interactive toys.
  • Routine: Consistency in feeding, exercise and rest reduces anxiety.
  • Appropriate exercise and training: Intensive training can be mentally and physically tremendously stressful and draining. Keep exercise regular and intensity suitable for your horse’s age, level of fitness, skill and health. Build stamina slowly.
  • Nutrition: Supporting and protecting your horse’s nervous system with adequate nutrients, is crucial for emotional well-being and overall health. Ensure your horse’s diet provides a rich source of nutrients to enhance overall mental, emotional and physical health, and support increased physical demands for peak performance.
  • Safe and Comfortable environment: Reduces tension and anxiety and improves emotional wellbeing, provides ample time outside to roam freely.
  • Grooming and Bonding: Promote trust and security.
  1. NSAIDS: Only use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication when absolutely necessary. Consult with your veterinarian and consider natural alternatives like Curcumin, Boswellia, Msm, Devils Claw or Omega 3 to reduce the risk of ulcer development and protect the gastric lining.
  2. Follow-up Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups and monitoring are crucial to reducing the risk of ulcer complications and the development of recurring ulcers.

 

EGUS and its potential complications can be detrimental to your horse’s well-being, performance and lifespan. It is therefore vital for horse owners and caregivers to be vigilant for signs of gastric ulcers, and promptly seek veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment. Implementation of preventive measures, such as proper feeding- and responsible training practices, minimizing stress, and regular veterinary check-ups is crucial for the digestive health of horses at risk of gastric ulcers and their overall health.

 

Read more articles about your horses health and provide your wild-at-heart one the best possible care they deserve.  Part 1 of this article can be found on our website here.

 

Our articles are written by Dr. Jeanne-Marie Lambrechts, an expert in the field of naturopathic medicine.  She has developed health supplements for pets, horses as well as people. 

UNTAMED’s animal health supplements are:

*100% Natural, with no additives, no artificial flavourings, no preservatives, no gluten, no sugar and no stimulants
*Certified & produced to highest standard
*Human-grade and of exceptional quality
*All our nutraceuticals are registered and can be claimed from medical aid funds
*UNTAMED is Tried, Tested and Trusted – Endorsed by Veterinary Doctors

 

References

  1. Jens Malmkvist, Janne Møller Poulsen, Nanna Luthersson, Rupert Palme, Janne Winther Christensen, Eva Søndergaard, Behaviour and stress responses in horses with gastric ulceration, Applied Animal behaviour Science, Volume 142, Issues 3–4, 2012, Pages 160-167, ISSN 0168-1591,
  2. Vokes J, Lovett A, Sykes B. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome: An Update on Current Knowledge. Animals (Basel). 2023 Apr 5;13(7):1261. doi: 10.3390/ani13071261. PMID: 37048517; PMCID: PMC10093336.
  3. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/digestive-system/gastrointestinal-ulcers-in-large-animals/gastric-ulcers-in-horses#v11545467
  4. Lo Feudo CM, Stucchi L, Conturba B, Stancari G, Zucca E, Ferrucci F. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome affects fitness parameters in poorly performing Standardbred racehorses. Front Vet Sci. 2022 Nov 25;9:1014619. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.1014619. PMID: 36504861; PMCID: PMC9732101.
  5. https://aaep.org/horsehealth/equine-gastric-ulcer-syndrome
  6. Zhou P, Zhou R, Min Y, An LP, Wang F, Du QY. Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Analysis on Pharmacological Mechanisms of Astragalus membranaceus in the Treatment of Gastric Ulcer. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 Jan 31;2022:9007396. doi: 10.1155/2022/9007396. PMID: 35140802; PMCID: PMC8820867.
  7. Ruiz-Hurtado PA, Garduño-Siciliano L, Domínguez-Verano P, Balderas-Cordero D, Gorgua-Jiménez G, Canales-Álvarez O, Canales-Martínez MM, Rodríguez-Monroy MA. Propolis and Its Gastroprotective Effects on NSAID-Induced Gastric Ulcer Disease: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 11;13(9):3169. doi: 10.3390/nu13093169. PMID: 34579045; PMCID: PMC8466107.
  8. Miller AL. Therapeutic considerations of L-glutamine: a review of the literature. Altern Med Rev. 1999 Aug;4(4):239-48. PMID: 10468648.
  9. Anantharajappa K, Dharmesh SM, Ravi S. Gastro-protective potentials of Spirulina: role of vitamin B12. J Food Sci Technol. 2020 Feb;57(2):745-753. doi: 10.1007/s13197-019-04107-8. Epub 2019 Sep 19. PMID: 32116383; PMCID: PMC7016071.
  10. Li XM, Miao Y, Su QY, Yao JC, Li HH, Zhang GM. Gastroprotective effects of arctigenin of Arctium lappa L. on a rat model of gastric ulcers. Biomed Rep. 2016 Nov;5(5):589-594. doi: 10.3892/br.2016.770. Epub 2016 Oct 4. PMID: 27882222; PMCID: PMC5103679.
  11. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/237011639.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

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