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Equine Ulcers

Facts and Resources

Could You Skip Lunch?    Quick Facts    Signs and Symptoms    Links to Other Articles and Studies

Equine Ulcer Quick Facts:

  • horses developed as grazers over millions of years
  • grazing increases the flow of saliva which acts as an acid buffer
  • studies have shown that stomach pH drops just 6 hours after feeding
  • most horses in boarding stables are fed just twice a day
  • horses continually secrete acid - even when they have no food to eat
  • horses can develop a stomach ulcer in just 5 days

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Change in attitude
  • Change in eating behavior
  • Sensitive around the belly
  • Frequent colic episodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Rough and/or dull hair coat
Sage head profileMaybe it is time that we start looking at our horses' lives as more stressful than we think and not just assuming that they are cozy and happy in their stalls, with their warm blankets and no other horse picking on them or bothering them while they eat their two meals a day. Maybe its time that we all re-examine what we are defining as stressful to a horse. Ultimately, it is not our definition of stress that matters, but our horses'.

Great article on stress and horses on The Horse, April 2009

Links for more information:

Horse.com Breeding Season and Ulcers Article

Horse.com: Pleasure Horses Have Ulcers, Too

Horse.com: Alfalfa Hay Reduces Ulcer Severity

Horse.com: Tummy Troubles: Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Horse.com: Ulcers Shown to Affect Horses with No Risk Factors

Horse.com: Bute, Colitis, and Ulcers

Horse.com: Risk Factors for Gastric Ulcers in Thoroughbreds

Horse.com: Medical and Management Tips to Reduce Ulcer Risk and Improve Healing

Horse.com: Equine Ulcers--More Than Just a Stomach Ache

University of Delaware Extension- Horses and Stomach Ulcers

Dr. Madalyn Ward DVM - Holistic Horsekeeping