What To Feed A Horse With Ulcers?

Feed long-stemmed hay at a minimum of 1-1.5% of body weight throughout the day, and make sure straw does not make up more than 25% of the total forage in the diet. When feeding concentrate, also providing alfalfa hay might help buffer the effects of gastric acid and reduce the number of ulcers that form.

What is the best feed for horses with ulcers?

Performance Fibre is ideal if you have a fussy feeder. Include alfalfa in the feed for horses with ulcers. Research has shown that alfalfa is a better buffer to acidity than other fibre sources due to its protein and calcium content.

How do you treat a horse’s ulcer naturally?

In horses with gastric ulcers, feeding aloe vera improved the severity of lesions in the squamous region of the stomach. Forty horses with squamous and/or glandular lesions were either supplemented with aloe vera gel (17.6 mg/kg body weight) or treated with omeprazole (4 mg/kg body weight) for 28 days.

What grain to feed a horse that is prone to ulcers?

For horses prone to ulcers, select hay that is high in structural carbohydrates and low in non-structural carbohydrates. Opt for hays with higher protein and calcium content. Legume hays are a great option, the most popular being alfalfa hay.

How do you feed a horse with a stomach ulcer?

Here are some of our top tips for managing your horse’s nutrition when prone to gastric ulcers:

  1. Provide ad-lib access to forage.
  2. Increase turn-out.
  3. Feed forage or a small short chopped, fibre based meal before exercise.
  4. Try to spread meals throughout the day.
  5. Provide plenty of water at all times.
  6. Create hay stations.

Are sweet potatoes good for horses with ulcers?

A nutritionally beneficial snack for horses, sweet potatoes have another perk as well. These veggies are a natural treatment for gastric ulcers in horses. Many people in the equine community swear by its healing power. Gastric ulcers are much more common in racehorses due to their lack of foraging.

Does baking soda help horses with ulcers?

Baking soda does buffer stomach acid, but it breaks down too quickly to interfere with digestion. The rapid breakdown of sodium bicarbonate also makes it an ineffective antacid to guard the horse’s stomach against ulcers.

How do I know if my horse has stomach ulcers?

A: Horses suffering from stomach ulcers may display signs of pain and discomfort such as:

  1. Sour disposition.
  2. Still eating but losing condition or weight.
  3. Avoiding hard feed and preferring hay.
  4. Poor appetite.
  5. Unsettled in training or unwilling to work.
  6. Grinding teeth.
  7. Crib-biting, wind-sucking.
  8. Bad coat.

Is hay or haylage better for horses with ulcers?

Haylage is much closer in texture and nutritional value to the horse’s natural diet of grass. It is much more digestible than hay and if your horse is prone to gastric ulcers or colic you will likely opt for feeding haylage over hay. Horse’s that are fussy eaters or poor doers often do much better on haylage.

Is beet pulp good for horses with ulcers?

Beet pulp is potentially good for horses with ulcers. Lower amounts of starch in the diet, like in beet pulp, are also linked with lower chances of developing ulcers. It is often recommended to increase the moisture content of a horse’s diet to prevent ulcers. The moisture helps buffer the acidity of the stomach.

Is copra good for horses with ulcers?

Lupins are good to fatten up horses. Copra is excellent as well but needs to be soaked for few minutes in water with 3x the volume of dry copra. When hard feed is given, the same volume amount of chaff must be given at the same time. Lucerne hay and chaff are recommended in cases of ulcers.

What can I give my horse for suspected ulcers?

There is currently only one pharmaceutical treatment – omeprazole – approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for gastric ulcers in horses. Omeprazole is available as a paste formulation and has been very effective in preventing and treating gastric ulceration in all types of horses.

What to give horses to prevent ulcers?

Currently, two products, both containing the active ingredient omeprazole, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to manage ulcers in horses: GastroGard is formulated to treat ulcers and UlcerGard is designed to prevent them.

How much alfalfa do you feed a horse with ulcers?

Until further research is done, he recommends, horses weighing between 1,000-1,300 pounds should be fed about 1 pound of alfalfa after a grain meal.

Ulcers In Horses, Feed For Horses With Ulcers, Order Now

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome, often known as ulcers in horses, has been studied extensively over the last decade, and our understanding of the condition has grown significantly. Equine Squamous Gastric Disease (ESGD) and Equine Glandular Gastric Disease (EGGD) are two unique illnesses that affect different sections of the stomach, which have just recently been discovered (EGGD). While we are familiar with the risk factors for ESGD, we are less familiar with the risk factors for EGGD.

Symptoms of ulcers in horses

The symptoms of ulcers in horses are not always simple to identify from those of other illnesses or diseases, but some of the more prevalent ones include weight loss, a dull coat, biting when girthed, and intermittent colic, among others. However, it is crucial to remember that ulcers can affect both excellent deeds and overweight horses. It is also known that there is no relationship between the severity of ulcers and the symptoms — some horses are plainly quite stoic while having grade 4 ulcers and showing no evidence of any issues on the exterior.

  • Insufficient fibre in a horse’s diet may contribute to ulcer development since chewing fibre creates more than twice the quantity of saliva produced by chewing concentrates, which helps to neutralize acidity in the horse’s stomach. The feeding of 1 percent of bodyweight grain resulted in a significant rise in ulcers in horses who were not exercised. The feeding of 2g/kg BW starch per day or 1g/kg BW each meal increased the incidence of stomach ulcers in horses by more than double.

Gastric Ulcer Risk Calculator

Insufficient fibre in a horse’s diet may contribute to ulcer development since chewing fiber creates more than twice the quantity of saliva produced by chewing concentrates, which helps to neutralize acidity in the horse’s stomach. Non-exercised horses with ulcers were shown to have a significant rise in ulcers after being fed grain at a rate of one percent of their body weight. Equines were more than twice as likely as humans to develop stomach ulcers if they were fed 2g/kg BW starch per day or 1g/kg BW every meal.

Feed For Horses With Ulcers

Following these top suggestions can help you keep your horse healthy and avoid ulcers in the future:

  • Plenty of forage should be provided to enhance chewing time and, as a result, saliva production, which will help to naturally balance the acidity levels in the stomach. Providing chew time without causing weight gain with low-calorie forages for good doers is an excellent idea. Maintain a focus on feeding little and frequently
  • By breaking the whole forage diet into as many little meals as possible, you may reduce the amount of time the stomach is empty. Avoid using cereal-based concentrates on horses since they increase the likelihood of ulcers developing in them. To satisfy energy requirements, more digestible fibre sources such as alfalfa with added oil should be used. For example, Healthy Tummy delivers 11.5MJ/kg of slow-release energy, which is the equivalent as a medium-energy mix in terms of calories. Alfa-A Oil & Lubricants Providing the same amount of energy as a conditioning or competition mix, Performance Fibre is a great choice. If you have a horse who is difficult to feed, Performance Fibre is an excellent choice
  • Alfalfa should be included in the diet for horses suffering from ulcers. Because of its high protein and calcium content, alfalfa has been demonstrated to be a more effective acidity buffer than other fiber sources in studies. The Dengie Alfa-A series of feeds are all based on pure alfalfa and have the greatest buffering capability – they are available in a variety of energy levels, so choose the one that best suits your horse’s needs. If you want your horse to have a full stomach while you ride, feed him a tiny bit of fiber in the period before you mount up. A handful or two of a chopped fiber is excellent. It may be necessary to lessen the intensity of exercise in order to allow ulcers to heal. According to study, taking two days off every week rather than one is good for ulcers in the gastric area of the stomach. Maintain as much exposure to the elements as possible and minimize any extra stressful situations, which can exacerbate ulcers in horses’ symptoms.

For horses with EGGD

In response to EGGD, professionals from the European College of Equine Internal Medicine (ECEIM) released a consensus statement. However, it was suggested to use the same feeding practices as those used for squamous gastric ulcers in horses, despite the fact that there has been no documented relationship between nutrition and EGGD (outlined above). In addition, the following recommendations were made:

  • Provide a minimum of two relaxation days from work each week, if at all practicable, or regular rest breaks for employees
  • Turnout should be used whenever feasible, providing that the horse does not become stressed as a result of the turnout. The stress level of certain horses who are not accustomed to being turned out may be reduced in a stable setting. Management changes and other possible stresses should be kept to a minimum. Reduce the number of changes in horse partners and human caregivers

Starch Calculator

Despite the fact that all of our horse feeds contain naturally low amounts of starch, we are frequently questioned about the starch content of other feeds and how to calculate the amount of starch a horse is ingesting on a daily basis at Dengie. We’ve created a straightforward application that allows you to enter the pertinent information about your horse’s nutrition. To find out how much starch your horse is currently consuming, click here. Please make use of our Starch Calculator.

Treatment for Ulcers

We are frequently asked about starch levels in other feeds and how to calculate the quantity of starch a horse is taking on a daily basis. At Dengie, all of our horses meals are naturally low in starch.

We’ve created a straightforward application that allows you to enter the specifics of your horse’s nutritional needs into a database. Fill out this form to find out how much starch your horse is consuming at the moment. Please make use of Our Starch Calculator.

Frequently Asked Questions

One crucial aspect to keep in mind is that it is not just the amount of sugar and starch in a feed that is significant, but also how much of the feed is provided and how rapidly it is absorbed. Due to the fact that forages and pastures are digested more slowly than bucket feed, even if they contain relatively high quantities of sugar, this sugar is absorbed over the day rather than in meals, which the horse’s digestive system has evolved to tolerate. Obesity, PPID, and laminitis are all conditions that alter the horse’s capacity to cope with sugar consumption.

  1. A usual number for grass hays is between 15-20 percent, with a very high level of 35 percent being achieved.
  2. The presence of starch in bucket feed is a significant risk factor for illnesses such as colic and gastric ulcers in horses, and it is generally recommended to keep starch levels as low as possible to ensure digestive health in all horses.
  3. While it is feasible to provide energy from fibre and oil at the same level as cereal-based feeds, starch levels in Alfa-A Oil can be about ten times lower than in competition mixes of the same energy value, for example, 2% compared to 20% in competition mixes of the same energy value.
  4. This is due to the fact that they are comparing them to more traditional versions of the same food, which are likely to have between 25 and 30 percent starch in their formulation.

My horse is an eventer and is working quite hard but has recently been diagnosed with ulcers. My vet has told me to just feed fibre – can I really do that and still compete at a decent level?

Consider the fact that not only the amount of sugar and starch included within a feed, but also how much of the feed is provided and how quickly it is digested, are significant factors to consider. Because forages and pastures are digested more slowly than bucket feed, even if they contain relatively high quantities of sugar, the sugar is consumed throughout the day rather than in meals, which the horse’s digestive system has developed to cope with in the first place. A horse’s capacity to cope with sugar consumption is altered by obesity, PPID, and laminitis, and under these cases, a non-structural carbohydrate (NSC – a mix of sugar and starch) content of 10-12 percent in forage should be considered optimal.

It provides a significant contribution to total NSC consumption since horses should be given a minimum of 1.5 percent forage per day in order to provide adequate fiber to maintain good gut function.

The highest amount of starch recommended to attempt to decrease the risk of stomach ulcers is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight (BWT) every meal or 2 grams per kilogram of BWT per day.

Despite the fact that they still contain 12-15 percent starch, producers of mixes and cubes may label their diets as “low starch.” As a result of their comparison to more conventional forms of the same product, which include between 25 and 30% starch, they have found that they are superior to them.

However, when compared to other forms of feed, this does not imply that they are low in starch content.

My horse has ulcers and doesn’t seem to want to eat much hay. He really doesn’t seem to like chops, what else can I use so he spends more time eating?

If you have the ability to turn out on good grazing, it would be an excellent beginning place. In addition, it would be beneficial to include some alfalfa in his diet because it is a natural buffer against acidity. There are several pelleted varieties of alfalfa available for application, including: pureAlfalfa Pellets can be fed dry or soaked with water if he prefers it that way, or he can be fed both ways. Alfa-Beet is a blend of unmolassed sugar beet and alfalfa that must be soaked prior to feeding and must be supplied soaked before giving.

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Once the ulcers have healed, you may notice that your horse’s appetite has increased a little, and you may begin introducing some chopped fiber to his diet once more.

My cob is a really good doer and so is on very limited hay and basically no grazing. She has had ulcers in the past and I know I need to feed as much fibre as possible but I’m worried about her putting on weight. I’m also concerned about using low calorie feeds as they contain straw and I’ve read I shouldn’t feed it as it can cause ulcers?

It is recommended that your horse consume 1.5 percent of her bodyweight in fodder on a daily basis in order to maintain her health. It is recommended that the complete daily ration be broken into as many little offerings as feasible in order to keep the length of time she is not eating as short as possible in order to attempt to encourage excellent gut health. Research conducted by Luthersson and colleagues revealed that eating more than 6 hours apart increased the likelihood of developing ulcers.sson and colleagues Grass may be a very effective feed item for good doers since it gives “chew-time” while not consuming a large amount of calories.

However, the most significant aspect of this discovery was the fact that straw was the sole sort of fodder consumed.

Consequently, feeds such as Hi-Fi Lite or Hi-Fi Molasses Freewould be excellent choices for your horse.

I have been told to give my horse a small feed before exercise. Is this safe?

Yes, as long as the fiber is made of natural materials. The recommendation is to have a scoop of chopped fiber within 30 minutes of beginning an activity session. This advise is made in order to ensure that the fiber mat within the horse’s stomach is maintained in order to minimize acid splashing about in the stomach during digestion. It has been shown that acid splash in the squamous or non-glandular lining of the horse’s stomach is associated with gastric ulcers. Alfalfa should be included in this chopped fiber, since research has shown that alfalfa in particular is an excellent buffer against acidity in the digestive tract.

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EGUS affects more than 80 percent of Thoroughbred racehorses and 30-50 percent of all foals and weanlings, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The incidence of this disease is very high among performance horses. The 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention was held in Orlando, Florida from December 3-7, and Ingrid Vervuert, DVM, presented on feeding strategies for horses with ulcers. Because diet plays such an important role in ulcer management, she described feeding strategies for affected horses.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in Germany.

Risk Factors

As a result of earlier studies, we now know that horses that are denied access to any form of feed for more than eight hours are at increased risk of getting ulcers. Among the other important risk factors, according to Vervuert, are forage consumption of less than 1 percent of body weight, a high starch diet, insufficient pasture access, stall confinement, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, severe exercise, and transport stress.

Feed an Ulcer?

Due to the fact that horses evolved to consume tiny meals throughout the day, providing a horse with access to hay or fodder on a continuous basis guarantees that the stomach is not empty for lengthy periods of time. A horse’s daily fodder consumption should be 1.5 percent of its body weight at a bare minimum (based on dry matter intake). In order to keep their condition up, certain horses, particularly high-performance animals, require additional grain concentrates. Splitting grain meals into multiple little pieces spread throughout the day, especially if you are feeding high-starch grain, will help to maintain a more balanced nutritional intake.


Omeprazole is the only medication that has been shown to be useful in the treatment of ulcers. According to Vervuert, supplement manufacturers sell a multitude of products that promise to relieve, treat, or cure EGUS. However, most of these claims are unsubstantiated by scientific evidence, with a few exceptions. Researchers have discovered that buffering compounds such as aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide can raise the pH of the stomach 30 to 120 minutes after oral supplementation, but that the impact is only temporary.

The findings of certain studies have revealed that these drugs are of little or no value to foals.

However, she notes that the study designs are uneven, and the results are difficult to interpret as a whole, she says.

Take-Home Message

According to Vervuert, one of the most effective ways for treating EGUS is to offer continual access to forage with intervals of no more than four to five hours between feedings. Allow your horse lots of pasture access if it is available, as this is a natural method for him to absorb roughage. Reduce the amount of concentrate fed to your horses, and supplement with fat if your horses require extra calories.

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Years ago, when a horse got tense, irritated, “cinchy,” fell in performance level, or went off feed, we would frequently assume it was a mental issue – that the horse was simply a bad-tempered animal. Horses with recurring attacks of colic were frequently a source of consternation. We had no clue what was going on inside many of them since we couldn’t see them. The Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome has been the subject of much investigation during the last two decades (EGUS). According to research, approximately 90 percent of racing horses and 60 percent of sport and show horses develop stomach ulcers at some point in their lives.

  • It is believed that half of horses with ulcers exhibit no distinct clinical indicators of the ailment, but many others do, and their performance is frequently significantly affected as a result of the condition.
  • Performance horses often consume more grain than their pastured counterparts, which results in a reduced incidence of stomach ulcers in the latter.
  • Instead, a variety of variables, including as exercise, restricted feed intake, environmental stresses (such as transit and confinement), and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) such as phenylbutazone and flunixin meglamine, all contribute to the development of EGUS.
  • Due to this, stomach acid is splashed up into the non-glandular portion of the stomach, which is a typical spot for gastric ulcers to develop.
  • Exercise also has the additional effect of raising the acidity of the stomach.
  • Acid is necessary for the early digesting process in that segment of the digestive system, but horses release acid on a constant basis, which can lower the pH of the stomach for lengthy periods of time and raise the risk of irritation to the stomach lining and other problems.
  • It has been stated that the pH will remain below 4 until the horse is able to return to the walk.

At 12 weeks, none of the inactive horses had ulcers, but 5 of the 7 exercised horses developed ulcers at the same time.

According to the results of one research, ten horses were kept in a “home” facility while ten others were transported four hours away, housed in stables, fed, and exercised twice a day, and then transported back on the fifth day.

However, by day five, seven of the hauled horses developed ulcers, whereas only two of the non-hauled horses developed stomach lesions.

During a 24-hour fast, the pH of the stomach remains below 4 for the most of the time.

In theory, a diet of straight grass hay would be more helpful to stomach pH than a diet of grain and alfalfa hay; yet, horses fed moderate quantities of grain with alfalfa hay had fewer severe non-glandular gastric lesions than horses fed straight brome grass hay in the study.

While we are not planning to stop riding, hauling, or competing on our horses, we should take steps to reduce the risk of them developing EGUS because it can seriously impair their performance and be extremely painful for the horse.

Horses at risk for EGUS should be fed at least three to four times daily, with a maximum of 5–6 lbs.

This is because the buffering effect may only last a few hours in some cases.

Researchers recommend giving a little meal, such as 2–3 lbs.

Reduced stress and enough of turn-out time with pasture grazing can also be beneficial in this situation.

This form of turnout is not a possibility for many horses who are hauled frequently, but many of the management tips may be applied quickly and simply.

They must consume adequate nourishment that is tailored to sustain their workload while also maintaining general health.

Pay close attention to the minimum suggested feeding rates, however, because giving less than those quantities will result in the horse’s nutritional needs not being satisfied.

In addition to the Purina ®premium horse feeds, there are numerous other horse feeds that are acceptable for horses at risk for stomach ulcers.

When horses have high calorie requirements, Ultium ®Competition Formula fulfills those requirements while using the smallest amount of feed.

In such case, Purina®Enrich Plus ®is the best choice for horses with extremely low calorie requirements who essentially maintain excellent condition by eating only hay or pasture.

Purina ®Equine Senior ®Activeformula is also an excellent choice for horses in their mid-teens or older that are still capable of chewing and digesting hay and who may be highly competitive.

Purina ®Senior ®Active is also available in a reduced starch/sugar, greater fat/fiber, and lower starch/sugar composition.

EGUS research published to date was reviewed and summarized in the European College of Equine Internal Medicine Consensus Statement, which was published in 2015 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

This remark emphasized the importance of stomach acidity, even going so far as to suggest that “without acid, there is no ulcer.” While the stomach’s acidic nature is a crucial stage in the normal digestion process, it has been shown that prolonged exposure to acidic gastric secretions is the major cause of non-glandular gastric ulcers in horses.

It is composed of an all-natural mineral complex sourced from marine sources, which has a unique structure that provides better buffering capacities.

The results of this research demonstrated that feeding Outlast ®Gastric Support Supplement supports gastric health by maintaining proper gastric pH.

All of the products in this line are designed to support the Purina ®Equine Gastric Health Program, which includes identifying risk factors, working with your veterinarian to properly diagnose and treat existing ulcers, and implementing management and dietary programs to promote optimal comfort and gastric balance in horses.

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) Symptoms

Psychological changes, decreased performance, appearing interested in eating but rapidly getting irritated and wandering away from the feed, repeated mild to moderate colic, a reduction in body condition, and an overall untidy look are all clinical indications of EGUS. These symptoms are indicative of EGUS, but they are not exclusive to EGUS, and horses exhibiting any of these symptoms should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. Existing ulcers can only be healed with the use of prescription medicine, which is the only established way.

By identifying the indicators of gastric pain in your horse and altering management and nutritional practices as needed, you may assist to maintain the health of your horse’s digestive system.

10 tips for feeding horses with gastric ulcers

Psychological changes, decreased performance, appearing interested in eating but rapidly becoming irritated and walking away from the feed, repeated mild to moderate colic, a drop in body condition, and an overall untidy look are all clinical indications of EGUS in children. As a result, horses experiencing any of these symptoms should be checked by a veterinarian to determine whether they have EGUS or whether they have another disease. There is no established strategy for treating existing ulcers other than using prescription medication.

Understanding the indicators of gastrointestinal pain in your horse, as well as altering management and food habits, you may assist to maintain the gastric health of your horse.

Provide ad-lib access to forage

This will increase the amount of saliva produced by your horse, which will function as a natural stomach buffer. We recommend that you feed your horse a minimum of 1.5 percent of his body weight (dry matter) every day (for example; this would be 7.5kg for a 500kg horse.)

Increase turn-out

Extending your horse’s turnout time will aid in encouraging foraging and, as a result, increasing the flow of saliva, which will aid in buffering and neutralizing the stomach.

Feed forage or a small short chopped, fibre based meal before exercise

A high-fiber meal can aid in the production of a ‘fibre mat,’ which can assist to protect the stomach lining against gastric splashing and other digestive problems.

Try to spread meals throughout the day

Your horse’s stomach will thank you if you feed him several tiny meals rather than one or two huge ones.

Provide plenty of water at all times

It has been demonstrated that a shortage of water increases the incidence of ulcers in horses.

Create hay stations

You may also use double-netted hay nets to assist increase your horse’s feeding period by scattering a number of hay stations about the stable to encourage him to roam around.

Avoid leaving your horse for prolonged periods without forage

Due to the fact that horses are designed to graze for up to 16 hours a day, it’s critical that you don’t leave them without access to feed for an extended period of time.

Ensure you horse has enough energy

If your horse wants additional energy, we recommend that you seek for feeds that are low in starch and sugar but high in oil, rather than grains, to supplement his diet.

Avoid using straw and other stalky, sharp chopped fibre as the sole forage supply

Because of the abrasive texture of the fiber, this type of forage may cause irritation and damage to the stomach lining.

Add chopped fibre to every meal

Alfalfa, in particular, has been demonstrated to be beneficial in reducing stomach acid. More information about the advantages of Alfafa may be found here. Find out more about stomach ulcers on our nutritional pages, and if you feel that your horse or pony may be suffering from gastric ulcers, call our Care Line on 01908 222 888 for advice and assistance.

How To Feed A Horse With Gastric Ulcers

Dietary changes can make a significant difference in reducing ulcer severity and preventing recurrence. Read our article on how to feed a horse that has stomach ulcers. The presence of equine stomach ulcers has been found in more than 90 percent of Thoroughbred racehorses 1, and in more than 50 percent of competitive horses evaluated 2,3. With such a high occurrence rate, there is a good probability that your horse has stomach ulcers as well, or at the very least is at danger of getting them.

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When feeding horses in order to minimize ulcers, the following considerations should be taken into consideration:

  • Allow for continuous grazing
  • Increase fodder intake to the greatest extent possible. Reduce grain rations to a bare minimum. Make sure there is enough of water available.

1. Allow Continuous Grazing

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is a condition that affects horses that are maintained on pasture or in stables. However, horses that graze pasture are less likely to develop ulcers than horses that are kept in stables, according to study. 4. Intermittent feeding, for example, only supplying feed two to three times a day, has been found to induce and worsen ulcers in the non-glandular region of the stomach, as well as to increase their severity (the most common location for ulcer formation) 4.

This might entail feeding only two substantial meals each day, providing minimal water, isolating the horse from other horses, and denying the animal access to free exercise.

2. Maximise Forage Intake

It has been claimed that feeding lucerne hay (also known as alfalfa hay in other areas of the world) to livestock has a protective impact on the stomach lining of the animals. The high concentration of calcium, magnesium, and protein in lucerne hay contributes to the buffering of stomach acid 5.

You should offer 1 to 1.5kg/100kg body weight of long-stemmed, high-quality forage (hay) free choice throughout the day and night to assist lower the incidence of ulcer development.

3. Minimise Grain Rations

Grain consumption should be restricted to a maximum of 0.5kg per 100kg bodyweight per day in horses who are actively exercising. It is recommended to feed hay first, followed by grain, to provide an ideal mixing of stomach content and to prevent ulcers. 5. Grain meals should not be fed more than six hours apart, if at all feasible. 6. Stabled horses are frequently fed two substantial meals per day, with these meals typically consisting primarily of grain blends or “sweet feeds,” or grains such as barley and oats, and they are consumed rather quickly.

Because the grain is fermented by bacteria that ordinarily exist in the horse’s stomach, it is converted into volatile fatty acids that might cause ulceration when exposed to an acid environment such as the stomach.

When treating horses with ulcers, it is critical to replace any sweet feeds, barley, or oats with lucerne hay or high-quality grass whenever feasible.

4. Provide Plenty of Water

One research found that horses’ daily hay consumption and body weight reduced considerably when they were subjected to greater water restriction over a three-week period, and that the amount of time they spent eating decreased as less water was supplied 8. The reduction in food intake will result in a reduction in saliva production and, consequently, a reduction in alkaline saliva to buffer the stomach acid. Gastric ulcers are more likely to occur and are more severe as a result of this. It is important to avoid repeated oral administration of hypertonic electrolyte replacement pastes or solutions (such as those containing sodium and glucose, which are used to draw fluid back into the blood) in horses in training because this has been shown to increase the number and severity of gastric ulcers.

If electrolytes are required after exercise, it is best to deliver them with a small meal to minimize the development of ulcers.


  1. Murray, Michael J., and colleagues 1996. Factors related with stomach lesions in thoroughbred racehorses are being investigated further. Equine Vet J 28: 368-374 (McClure SR et al. 2005)
  2. McClure SR et al. The development of gastric ulcers in horses that have been subjected to training and activities typical of recreational exhibiting. Proceedings of the American Association of Engineering Professionals, Vol. 51
  3. McClure SR et al. 1999. Gastric ulcers are more common in show horses than in other horses. 215: 1130-3
  4. Reese RE, Andrews FM. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 215: 1130-3
  5. Reese RE, Andrews FM. 2009. Equine gastric ulcer syndrome is treated with nutrition and nutritional control. In: Vet Clin Equine, Volume 25, Number 1, Pages 79-92
  6. Vervuert, I. 2016. How to feed horses who are suffering from stomach ulcer syndrome. AAEP Proceedings, Vol. 62
  7. Videla R, Andrews FM, and others 2009. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome: New Perspectives on the Disease In 2000, Nadeau JA and colleagues published Vet Clin Equine 25: 283-301. Evaluating the role of nutrition in the development of stomach ulcers in horses. Am J Vet Res 61: 784-790
  8. Houpt KA et al. 2000. Am J Vet Res 61: 784-790. Evaluating the effects of water restriction on horse behavior and physiological responses In 2005, Holbrook TC et al. published an article in Equine Vet J 32: 341–344. The effects of frequent oral administration of a hyertonic electrolyte solution on the stomach mucosa of horses were investigated. Equine Veterinary Journal 37: 501-4

Using Nutrition to Manage Horses with Gastric Ulcers

A horse owner recently contacted us to inquire about the possibility of modifying her horse’s diet. It was reported that they are three-quarters of the way through the show season and that he is just “off his game.” It appears that the horse was displaying a lack of appetite and was not consuming all of his feed. As a result of this, his demeanor had changed and his overall performance had deteriorated significantly. In addition, he had displayed indications of minor colic on a few of occasions over the previous two months.

The number of horses suffering from ulcers continues to rise, and increased levels of training intensity are associated with an increase in the occurrence of ulcers in horses.

In general, horses managed with 24-hour access to well-established, high-quality pasture are less likely to develop gastric ulcers; however, studies have revealed that the prevalence of squamous ulcers in horses exposed to pasture varies by region of the United States and type of management employed.

In less than a week, she got in touch with me and informed me that the horse had been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer.

He was now on medicine, but we also needed to make nutritional modifications to help him get better faster. I recommended the following “back to basics” methods to assist her horse’s condition be better managed:

  1. A horse owner recently contacted us to inquire about the possibility of modifying her horse’s dietary requirements. It has been reported that they are three-quarters of the way through show season and that he is just “off his game.” In addition to not eating his grain, the horse appeared to be lacking in hunger. As a result of this, his demeanor had changed and his overall performance had deteriorated. He had also displayed indications of minor colic on a few occasions over the previous two months. Our recommendation was that the horse’s owner call her doctor since it seemed like the horse could be suffering from an ulcer. The number of horses suffering from ulcers continues to rise, and increasing levels of training intensity are associated with an increase in the occurrence of ulcers among horses. It is common for ulcers to develop in the top portion of the stomach, which lacks a mucus layer and does not release bicarbonate, which serves as a buffer against stomach acid. In general, horses managed with 24-hour access to well-established, high-quality pasture are less likely to develop gastric ulcers
  2. However, studies have revealed that the prevalence of squamous ulcers in horses exposed to pasture varies by region of the United States and type of management practice. Due to the fact that a horse grazes, it generates huge volumes of saliva, which contains the bicarbonate and amylase necessary to function as a buffer for the stomach lining during digestion. The next week, she got in touch with me and informed me that the horse had been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. In addition to medicine, we needed to make dietary adjustments to help him. The following “back to basics” actions were advised by me to assist her horse’s condition be better managed.
  1. Breaking up the daily rations into smaller, more frequent meals helps to maintain continual saliva production and preserve the stomach lining – more like “grazers” rather than “meal eaters.” Make use of a slow feed hay net (also known as a nibble net) whenever feasible to encourage the horse to consume hay more slowly and to give him more chewing time. It’s also a good idea to offer hay before grain
  2. High-starch diets, on the other hand, have been shown to worsen ulcers by increasing acid production. The optimum meal is one that is heavy in fat and fiber. Consider using a digestive supplement such as Nutrena Empower Digestive Balance to help maintain your digestive balance. It includes calcite derived from marine sources In addition to being a highly porous type of calcium, it also contains other trace elements such as magnesium and has double the buffering capacity of ordinary calcium carbonate.

Making daily rations into smaller, more frequent meals helps to maintain continual saliva production and preserve the stomach lining – more like “grazers” rather than “meal eaters.” Make use of a slow feed hay net (also known as a nibble net) whenever feasible to allow the horse to consume hay more slowly and to extend the amount of chewing time available. It is also a good idea to offer hay before grain because high starch diets have been shown to worsen ulcers by increasing the formation of acid in the stomach.

You might want to think about using a digestive supplement like Nutrena Empower Digestive Balance.

In addition to being a highly porous type of calcium, it also contains other trace elements such as magnesium and has double the buffering capacity of normal calcium carbonate.

Nutritional Management of Gastric Ulcers

Anyone who has had the misfortune of experiencing heartburn or gastric ulcers is familiar with the agony and discomfort that may be caused by an excess of stomach acid. Horses are at danger for stomach ulcers in the same way that people are. Horses secrete stomach acid on a continual basis, regardless of whether or not food is available. Despite modern medicine’s advances, horses’ stomachs continue to work in the same way they did when they roamed the plains, ate tiny, frequent meals, and ran about all day.

  • Many horses nowadays are given concentrates 2-3 times per day, and they may or may not have access to pasture or hay at all times, depending on the circumstances.
  • The horse would eat for around 16-18 hours each day if it lived in its native environment.
  • Saliva is a natural defense against acidic gastric acids, and it is only created when the horse chews, giving bicarbonate, a buffer that helps to avoid damage to the lining of the stomach.
  • The amount of saliva generated is influenced by the type of feed that is taken.
  • When a cereal-based diet is ingested, saliva production decreases by nearly half, to around 206 grams per 100 grams of dry matter, resulting in a significant reduction in buffering capacity for the animal.

As a result, grain concentrate feeds are required. The use of tiny grain concentration meals that are spaced out across numerous feedings will aid in the achievement of a healthy balance.

Risk Factors for Gastric Ulcers
Diet High starch mealsAccess to poor quality forage, like strawInadequate amount of forageLimited water intake
Management Little to no turnoutExtended time between meals
Stress Weaning, transportation
Medications NSAIDs, for example
Exercise/Training Intense training and/or exercise

Dietary Management to Reduce the Risks for Developing Gastric Ulcers

What can you do to help maintain your horse’s stomach healthy and limit the chances of him having gastric ulcers in the future?

  • Increase the amount of forage in the diet to allow for more chewing time, which will stimulate greater saliva production, which will assist to buffer the stomach’s acidity. Do not use straw as the only source of fodder for your animals. If you want to assist your horse ingest hay for longer periods of time, use a hay net with little holes in it. Keep grain quantities under 0.5 percent of the horse’s body weight at each meal to match the horse’s normal digestive pattern
  • Feed short, frequent grain and forage meals to mimic the horse’s natural digestive pattern Reduce your consumption of carbohydrates and instead turn to fat for calories as necessary. Always make sure that there is clean, fresh water and salt available. Preparing the horse for riding by feeding him hay or fodder soon before riding helps to create a “mat” in his stomach, which helps to decrease acid splashing during activity.

Recommended Performance Products to Help Keep the Stomach and Digestive System Healthy

Performance Level Name Benefit
Light or Moderate SAFE ‘N EASY™ Pelleted Low in starch (10% starch)High in fiber and 6% fat
SAFE ‘N EASY™ Textured Moderate starch (15% starch)High in fiber and 6% fat
SAFE ‘N EASY™ Performance Low in starch (10% starch)High in fiber and 10% fat
SAFE ‘N EASY™ Senior Low in starch (11% starch)High in fiber and 10% fat
EQ8 ™Gut HealthEQ8 ™Senior Moderate starch (15% starch) as highly-digestible extruded starch nuggetHigh in fiber and 8% or 10% fat
Light, Moderate or Intense CADENCE™ Moderate starch (20%)10% fat
CADENCE™ Ultra Moderate starch (15%)High in fiber and 14% fat
RACE ‘N WIN ™ Moderate starch (20%)8% fat
TRIFECTA ™ Moderate starch (20%)High in fiber and 12% fat

Below you’ll find a list of every BUCKEYETM Nutrition product that can help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers. If you have any queries regarding which horse feed or supplement is best for your horse, please contact us.

Managing Equine Gastric Ulcers Through Nutrition

Dates: April 13, 2016 through May 6, 2020 Scientists are aware that nutrition has a role in the development of gastric ulcers in horses, but what can horse owners do to treat ulcers that have already formed? Can dietary modifications aid in the healing of painful divots in the stomach lining? According to a recent study*, medicine is still required for the majority of horses with ulcers, but food and nutritional supplements can also play essential roles in the management of ulcers successfully.

Ulcers can develop not only in the squamous portion of the stomach, but also in the distal esophagus, glandular portion of the stomach, and the proximal aspect of the duodenum, according to Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research(KER).

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The following management strategies will aid in the maintenance of healing and the prevention of recurrence:

  • Use a digestive aid that has been proved to work, such as RiteTrac, which is available in the United States and other markets and helps to maintain the health of the stomach. The following digestive aids for horses should be sought after by Australian horse owners:
  • Ensure that as much fiber or forage is available as feasible, and minimize lengthy times without feed (for example, during transportation and overnight)
  • Consider alfalfa (lucerne) hay, as it has some natural buffering properties
  • And For horses who require little or no effort and are considered “easy keepers,” provide a lower energy forage and optimize the amount of time spent ingesting the meal (for example, use small-hole haynets)
  • Utilize low-starch diets wherever feasible to reduce hyperactivity and stress while also minimizing their impact on digestive health. To reduce meal size and avoid overconsumption of starch in grain, gradually introduce a high-fat supplement, such as stabilized rice bran, which is an excellent feed ingredient for horses with ulcers due to its high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce acid secretion and increase output of protective prostaglandins
  • And Allow them as much pasture turnout as feasible, even if a grazing muzzle is required
  • Ensure that horses have constant access to drink
  • And avoid stressful circumstances as much as possible.

Always check with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist before making any dietary or supplement adjustments to your horse’s diet, and always use safe supplementation options. Andrews, F.M., Larson, C., and Harris, P. (2001). Management of gastric ulcers by nutrition. Education in Equine Veterinary Practice. The book is now in press.

Feeding a horse with gastric ulcers: advice from the nutrition experts

  • Because the horse’s stomach secretes acid on a continual basis, gastric ulcers can affect any horse or pony of any breed or age. Therefore, feeding a horse with gastric ulcers in the proper manner is essential for the horse’s overall health and comfort. Chewing on a regular basis can assist to neutralize this acid
  • However, without frequent intakes of feed, the acidity will rise, putting the horse at increased risk of getting ulcers. “Gastric ulcers are believed to affect around 90 percent of racehorses and up to 60 percent of competitive horses. “Although eating is only one risk factor for stomach ulcers, proper nutritional management can help to lower the likelihood and severity of gastric ulcers,” explains Sarah Nelson, a nutritionist at Spillers. For a horse suffering from stomach ulcers, it is recommended that it be fed a high-fiber, high-forage diet that contains little or no whole cereal grains. There should be a minimum of 1.5 percent of their bodyweight in forage consumed each day by these animals. A 500kg horse without access to pasture would consume around 9kg of hay per day (11kg per day when wet) or 10-12kg of haylage per day on average. “Horses are designed to eat little and often, and as a result, they should be provided with ad lib forage
  • Research has shown that a horse’s risk of developing ulcers increases if forage is not provided in his diet for more than six hours,” explains Katie Williams, technical and product development manager at Dengie Farms. Putting additional haynets around your horse’s stable or asking someone who comes to the yard later in the evening than you to give your horse a haynet will help ensure that your horse spends the smallest amount of time without fodder feasible,” says Dr. Smith. Including short chopped fibre, especially incorporating alfalfa, in every meal can be quite advantageous due to the high protein and calcium content of alfalfa, which is known to help buffer stomach acid and reduce acid reflux. The addition of a handful of chaff or fodder or the use of a haynet 20-25 minutes before exercise is also recommended to assist line the horse’s stomach and prevent acid from splashing about when the horse moves, says Katie. It is recommended that a horse’s diet have fewer than 1g of non-structural carbohydrates (starch and sugars) per kilogram of bodyweight every meal, and preferably less than 2g of starch per kilogram of bodyweight per day. When feeding a 500kg horse, less than 500g of NSC every meal should be sufficient
  • Less than 1kg of NSC per day should be sufficient. It has been shown that starch, such as that present in concentrated cereal diets, is significantly linked to a greater likelihood of developing stomach ulcers. As a result, stick to a high-fibre diet that is supplemented with micronutrients to keep the micronutrients in balance. In order to provide additional energy, a high-oil diet is recommended, which has been proved to be excellent for the ulcer-prone — and don’t forget to balance with vitamin E,” says Kate Hore, chief nutritionist at the National Artifical Fertility Foundation. The rest of the article can be found below.
  • You might also be interested in the following: Credit: There is no credit. Unexpected loss of performance in a horse may be caused by stomach ulcers, but the newest research suggests that a balancer might be a beneficial addition to the diet of horses and ponies who only eat forage and grass. “Balancers give a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein, but owing to the low feeding rate, they provide an insignificant quantity of calories, carbohydrates, and sugar,” explains Sarah. “Balancers are also a good source of fiber.” Saliva acts as a natural buffer against the acidity of a horse’s stomach, and because horses only generate saliva when they chew, increasing fodder intake is essential. “The sooner we all feed our horses in a more natural manner, the sooner we will be able to eliminate many equine health concerns, including ulcers, from our lives.” As a result, in addition to giving a high-forage diet, Kate recommends maximizing turnout as much as possible to support proper stomach motility. “The horse’s digestive system evolved to perform at its best while grazing and gently moving around,” she says. Would you want to read HorseHound’s independent journalism without being interrupted by commercials? Today is the day to joinHorseHound Plus, and you will be able to read all articles on HorseandHound.co.uk. absolutely void of advertisements

What to feed a horse with ulcers

This entry was posted at 20:22hinCastlereagh News. Many horses will require medicine to cure stomach ulcers, which can be life-threatening. When used in conjunction with medical therapy, a healthy diet and nutritional management can help to alleviate the symptoms of stomach ulcers. In the next section of our guide, we describe the elements that you should consider in order to lower the risk of stomach ulcers.

Allow Continuous Grazing

Stabled horses are more likely to develop ulcers than pastured horses, which is why pastured horses are preferable. Ulcers are not caused by stalling horses; rather, they are caused by the way horses are fed when they are confined. Typically, horse owners would feed their horses on an intermittent basis, such as twice or three times a day. It has been demonstrated that this dietary pattern increases the severity of ulcers. Other factors that lead to the development of ulcers in horses include a lack of water, a lack of activity, and being separated from other horses.

Maximise Forage Intake

In addition to having high calcium, magnesium, and protein concentrations, it is also said to have a protective impact on a horse’s gastric lining. When taken together, these ingredients act as a buffer for stomach acid, reducing the likelihood of ulcer formation.

If your horse is suffering from stomach ulcers, you should feed between 1k and 1.5kg of Lucerne hay per 100kgs of body weight to help alleviate the problem. Make sure to provide them with high-quality forage at all times of the day and night.

Minimise Grain Rations

If grains are a component of your horse’s diet, you should take the following steps to ensure a healthy horse:

  1. Maintain a daily grain intake of 0.5 kilograms per 100 kg of body weight
  2. Feed your horse hay first, then grains, and then hay again. Grain meals should be fed no more than 6 hours apart.

The reason you want to give your horse hay first is that it will result in a more ideal blend of stomach content, which will aid in the prevention of subsequent ulcers. Grains have the inherent ability to decrease a horse’s saliva output. Therefore, there is less alkaline saliva available to buffer acid produced by the horse’s stomach. Grain naturally ferments, resulting in the formation of fatty acids. It is possible for more ulceration to occur when this is combined with an existing naturally acidic stomach such as that of a horse.

Provide Plenty of Water

Drinking less water leads to reduced food consumption in horses. Ultimately, this will result in decreased saliva production, and we’ve already discussed the difficulties that might arise as a result. If your horse is under training, you should avoid feeding him hypertonic electrolyte replacement pastes or solutions on a regular basis. These have also been demonstrated to enhance the likelihood of ulceration. If you are unable to avoid it, however, feed your horse a little meal prior to help prevent ulcers from occurring.

How to Feed a Horse With Ulcers

Ulcers, such as lesions in the gastric lining of the stomach or colonic ulcers in the hindgut, can make it difficult to give a horse a nutritious diet. You may, however, guarantee that your horse receives the proper nourishment without worsening this very painful disease by exerting serious effort and critical consideration.

How Horses Get Ulcers

Even while the specific causes of ulcers in horses can be difficult to determine, the ailment is a prevalent problem that affects horses of all ages, genders, breeds, and circumstances, according to the ASPCA. Stress is thought to be a significant component in the formation of ulcers in horses, and horses that produce excessive stomach acid are also susceptible to developing these painful sores. High parasite loads can aggravate ulcers or make them more difficult to form, and some bacterial infections are thought to have a role in the development of ulcers as well.

  • Weight loss, loss of appetite, irritability, and bad conduct are all symptoms of this condition. Lethargy
  • Sensitivity or resistance to the saddle on the flanks
  • Excessive chewing on non-food things such as wood or nails
  • Pawing, lying down, or other signals of gastrointestinal distress are acceptable.

The symptoms of horse ulcers are ambiguous and might be related with a variety of conditions, thus seeing a veterinarian is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnoses is made. A veterinarian can use this information to identify how many ulcers a horse may have and where they are located, information that can be used to select the best course of therapy for the horse.

Feeding Horses With Ulcers

Even if a horse has ulcers, the animal still requires nutrition in order to remain healthy – in fact, increasing the amount of food consumed can help improve ulcers because saliva has anti-acidic properties and can help neutralize acid in the front of the stomach, which is where ulcers are most prevalent.

This does not suggest just increasing the amount of feed given to the animals. In order to avoid worsening the ulcers while yet ensuring the animal obtains the required nourishment, feeding a horse with ulcers must be done with care.

  • Increase Turnout– The more time a horse is given to graze, the more active his salivary glands will be, and the more stomach acid will be neutralized. Increase Turnout– Equine turnout time should be many hours per day in the ideal situation, and horses should be permitted to browse freely in a good pasture. Spread Mealtimes Throughout the Day– Rather than providing a horse with one or two substantial mealtimes throughout the day, distribute multiple smaller meals throughout the day. Additionally, it will support increased saliva production while preventing overstimulation of the stomach, which can result in acid reflux or stomach ulceration
  • Improve the Forage Quality– Better forage in the horse’s pasture will aid in the management and even healing of ulcers in the horse. Greater fiber, calcium, and protein-containing vegetables are desired, but plants with higher starch and carbohydrate content should be avoided at all costs. Increase Fiber Supplements– Increasing the amount of fiber in your horse’s diet can aid in the protection of the stomach lining and the reduction of ulcers. Using chopped alfalfa is preferable, but other high-fiber products such as alfalfa or other high-fiber plants can also be utilized. Supply a Consistent Supply of Water– Horses should always have access to a consistent supply of fresh, clean water. It will be easier for horses to drink if they have many watering stations, and in the winter, liquid water should be readily available and warmed for easy sipping to assist decrease stomach acid.

Fortunately, many horse ulcers will heal on their own if fed the right diet. It is possible to prevent recurrence of ulcer-related disorders by maintaining an ulcer-care diet that keeps the horse healthy, well-fed, and ulcer-free.

Ulcer Prevention Tips

In addition to feeding their horses a nutritious food, horse owners may take other precautions to reduce the likelihood of their animals acquiring ulcers, even if they have the most sensitive animals.

  • Reduce Stress– Because stress is a major contributor to the development of ulcers in horses, minimizing stress can help keep a horse’s stomach free of ulcers. Excessive travel, training, and competitions may all contribute to ulcers in horses, and individual horses may experience personality problems or strained relationships with other animals in their immediate vicinity. Improving such circumstances can assist to reduce the incidence of ulcers. Reduced Exercise– If a horse is over-exercised, not only is it more likely that the animal will be under ulcer-producing stress, but the contractions of the stomach will splash acid higher up the digestive tract, increasing the likelihood of the animal developing more ulcers. The horse’s condition can be improved by reducing the amount of activity he receives or by choosing softer activities. Reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) in horses might make it easier for them to develop ulcers because they reduce the formation of protective mucus linings in their digestive tracts. It is also possible to lessen the risk of ulcers by limiting the usage of these medications and pursuing alternate therapies.

In the end, even with the finest of care, ulcers in horses are a fairly common occurrence. Being aware of how ulcers are produced and taking actions to reduce the risk while providing a healthy diet can aid in the healing of ulcers and the prevention of painful recurrences.

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