Equine ulcer, or ulcers in horses, can be an uncommon disease for horses that are having it for the first time. But the truth is, horses get ulcers not only once but many times in their lifetime. Knowing how to treat ulcers in horses effectively will help you now and in the future, in case your horse will get the same disease again. Read the guides below on how to treat equine ulcers:
- Determine the ulcer’s cause. Just like many other diseases, determining the underlying reason for the ulcer is important to provide the correct treatment. Most cases of equine ulcers happen because of stress. Some horse, however, experience stressful transport, infrequent feeding, management issues, and long stall rest. Use of some medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Banamine, Bute, and dexamethasone can cause ulcers, too.
- Make sure that it’s an ulcer. What if the horse is suffering from other condition and not ulcer? Giving it medication for ulcers will only worsen the horse’s condition. Watch out for the common ulcer symptoms like diarrhea, colic, weight loss, dullness, and poor performance. Have the horse checked by a veterinarian. They can detect other possible condition of the horse. To be sure, most vets will require endoscopy. A long fiber-optic endoscope will be needed for this. With this thing, the veterinarian can check the appearance of the horse’s stomach and determine if it really is suffering from equine ulcer.
- Use GastroGrad. This is a paste for treating ulcers in horses. This works by preventing further production of stomach acid. There are generic alternatives to this brand. They are cheaper but they are often poorly absorbed by the horses, making them less efficient.
- Use stomach buffer. Most horse owners use stomach buffers for treating equine ulcers. This is also an effective way to reduce the ulcer symptoms. However, this requires long-term usage. Improvements on the horse’s performance will be noticeable after using a stomach buffer. But it cannot effectively cure and heal ulcers. It’s still a good alternative in case GastroGard is unavailable.
- Change the horse’s environment. If possible, let the horse stay in the pasture. Horses that are suffering from ulcers show faster and more effective treatment when they stay in the pasture. Friendly neighbors will be helpful for the horse’s faster recovery.
- Minimize or stop giving anti-inflammatory medicines. As mentioned, these medicines are among the causes of equine ulcers. If taking these cannot be stopped, then at least minimize the amount of the medicine.
- Change diet. Some horses show improvement when fed frequent but small meals. However, there are horses that show better improvement with stopped feeding. Start by feeding the horse more frequently than before. If doing so seems like a bad idea, then try to not feed the horse. Depriving the horse with food can suppress the production of stomach acid.
Equine ulcers can be cured easily with the most appropriate treatment. Continue on observing the horse for three days after the ulcer has been cured. Some ulcers recur within three days after successful healing. If that happens, then that means that the real cause of the ulcer has not yet resolved. Bring the horse immediately to a veterinarian and seek help. Prolonged suffering from ulcer will only worsen the horse’s condition.