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.
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
- Sensitive flanks, especially the right
- Difficulty or resistance to bending and collection
Causes of Equine Gastro-Intestinal Ulcers
- Frequent 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 Nutition 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.