Gastric and Colonic Ulcers

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.