Naturally supporting horses with gastric ulcers.
Gastrointestinal ulcers are an unfortunate fact of life for many performance horses. Because gastric ulcers can be so uncomfortable for horses, the temptation for their owners is to reach for the product that will offer the quickest relief, usually in the form of conventional drugs. However, these drugs block or buffer the horse’s stomach acid, which hinders digestion in the long term. Ten to fifteen percent of protein digestion depends on pepsin activity in the stomach and pepsin is only active in an acidic environment (i.e. when stomach acid is present). Stomach acid also acts as a defence against pathogenic bacteria colonising the stomach and small intestine. While conventional drugs to offer immediate relief for the horse, they ultimately interfere with digestion and set the horse up for other long term problems.
Note: For any horse on conventional drugs we recommend the daily use of Pro-Bio Forte 20g per day to support the digestive and gastric health of the horse.
The finely powdered inner bark of the Red Elm tree, native to North America, has been used by indigenous people for many years and is now employed by both herbal and orthodox medicines. Slippery elm bark powder is pale pink-brown in colour and its distinctive mucilaginous (slimy and slippery) texture, when mixed with moisture, sees it applied to conditions where mucous membranes are irritated/inflamed. This includes membranes of the respiratory and urinary systems as well as the entire gastro-intestinal tract, including the throat and oesophagus. For horses, slippery elm bark powder is most commonly used internally, to treat conditions such as scouring (diarrhoea) and gastric ulceration and as aftercare in some types of colic cases. It soothes and coats injured and inflamed tissues, helping them to heal and reducing the likelihood of scarring, as well as drawing out toxins and irritants. Slippery elm bark powder is widely acknowledged as safe and effective and can be used on horses of all ages, from foals to the aged.
Absorbing excess acid in the stomach
Absorbing excess acid in the stomach
Recognised as an alkaline provider, and has been shown to increase intestinal mucosal integrity (Wang, 2000).
Beneficially stimulating the growth and activity of good bacteria that can improve equine health
Probiotics are thought to:
- Protect the lining of the intestine
- Improve the balance of the normal bacteria in the intestine
- Promote healthy immune system function in the intestine
Glycerine lubricates the throat of the horse
Helping to support the protection of the non-glandular part of the stomach from acid.
Horses suffering from ulcers can greatly benefit from natural vitamin E supplementation to support recovery. Significant free radicals are produced when horses suffer from gastric and colonic ulcers, so vitamin E can support in the scavenging of these compounds and supporting recovery.
An essential amino acid for gut health and repair. High concentrations are needed for mucous secretion in the gut. These secretions help protect the gut wall of the horse from:
- Physical damage
- Digestive enzymes
- Pathogens and endotoxins
The majority of horses with gastric ulcers do not show outward clinical signs. They have more subtle signs, such as:
- Poor appetite
- Attitude changes
- Decreased performance
- Reluctance to train
- Poor body condition
- Poor hair coat
- Weight loss
- Excessive time spent lying down
- Low-grade colic
- Loose feces
Longer term prevention and treatment tips
As always, prevention is preferable to treatment. The following management techniques may assist in preventing gastric ulcers:
- Feed horses frequently or on a free-choice basis (pasture). This helps to buffer the acid in the stomach and stimulate saliva production, nature’s best antacid.
- Reduce the amount of grain and concentrates and/or add alfalfa hay to the diet. Discuss any feed changes with your veterinarian so that medical conditions can be considered.
- Avoid or decrease the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Limit stressful situations such as intense training and frequent transporting.
- If horses must be stalled, allow them to see and socialize with other horses as well as have access to forage.
- Feed Pro-Bio Forte powder in the feed 20 gm on a long term daily basis
- Feeding Gastrofen paste when needed
- Feed one 80ml serving per day
- 40ml prior to morning feed
- 40ml prior to the evening feed
- Feed for a minimum of 14 days or longer term as required or recommended by your veterinary surgeon.
Note: Fresh drinking water should always be available. Also ideally any horse with gastric ulceration should be feed Pro Bio Forte 20g per day on a an ongoing basis in the feed. 10g in the morning and evening feed.