Ulcers and hindgut problems are rampant in the equine community, resulting in high use of medications and dramatically impacting performance. Most owner continue to battle these problems on a daily basis with little results gained, even with high use of costly medications. In many instances, we are literally chasing our own tails, as even with these therapies, we are not addressing the main problem. Are there better options available?
Stomach ulcers in horses are quite common, actually becoming more of a problem that in the past for our equine patients. It has been estimated that upwards of 80% of all horses, including sedentary and those in training, exhibit gastric ulcers but not all are clinically evident. In some studies, it has been demonstrated that just by moving a horse into a barn or training facility, the incidence of stomach ulcers increases beyond 80% and upwards to almost 100%. Some cases of ulcers are obvious with typical clinical signs, while others are more ‘quiet’ in nature and often only diagnosed incidentally. The sad part is that for many of these horses, they live a life on constant medications to control the clinical symptoms, which not only is not solving the problem but also costing the owner money and even, based on some studies, potentially inflicting harm. We need to dig deeper to find better ways of managing this problem.
An uncontrolled horse comes in many different sizes and degrees of severity. No matter the level of the problem, a horse with behaviorial issues not only creates potential problems with competition and training, but they can also be very dangerous to be around due to unpredicatability. There are many different causes to behavioral problems, some we can manage and others create more of a challenge. One of the first things we need to do is get a better feel for the problem at hand.
Are you or your horse an antacid junkie? Stomach or gastric ulcers are a common condition impacting horses, people and even pets sometimes. We see commercials regarding antacids and ‘acid blockers’ all of the time and horse owners are exposed to these medication way too often, being an unfortunate part of many horse’s daily routines. For some people, it is no different and many of the commercials seen make it seem like it is the ‘in’ thing to do to take or give these medications. If it is as prevalent in today’s horse world and for people as we are made to believe, then we have a problem. If we have a problem, then we need to understand the problem in order to remedy it or at least improve it.