Ulcers – a common problem, but why?

31 January 2017

Stomach ulcers are very painful and very many horses have them. Wild horses don’t so it must be something we do! They can be triggered, or exacerbated by, stress, travelling, long periods without food, insufficient forage, finely ground feeds, cereals and straw, for instance. Some medications can also trigger them.

There are basically three types. Those that occur in the bottom part of the stomach, which is where the acid normally occurs (glandular ulcers) are possibly more linked to stress.

Those that occur on the upper part of the stomach that is not acid proof (squamous ulcers) can be associated with diet and exercise.

Pyloric ulcers, next to the valve into the small intestine, are associated with prolonged periods without food. When the stomach is empty, it seems the one way valve stops working correctly and lets bile backflow, causing this particular type of ulcer.

Your vet is best able to diagnose ulcers definitively by use of a gastroscope. Feeding and management are both critical in resolving ulcers and keeping horses ulcer-free. Contact our Feed Line for suggestions for feeding and managing ulcer-prone horses, 01728 604008

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