Digestion & Gastric Support
There are several reasons why horses often need digestive and gastric support more than other large animals, including:
Their Preferred Diet: Horses often prefer softer foods that don’t require as much chewing, especially as they get older. But soft foods don’t trigger as much saliva flow as tougher food items - yet saliva is a naturally occurring acid-reducer that can counteract the effects of high levels of stomach acid. Consider feeding your horse foods that not only require more chewing, but also contain a lot of calcium. This mineral naturally minimizes stomach acids, too - as it is seen in most commercially available antacids on the market today.
How Often They Eat: Horses that live in the wild graze all day long, so a horse’s stomach naturally releases stomach acid in a constant flow around the clock. This might work if the horse grazes constantly, but most racehorses are fed according to a strict schedule - thereby allowing time between meals for stomach acids to pool and begin eroding the lining of the stomach. Ulcers can then quickly build up.
Amount of Movement: Horses that exercise a lot often benefit from a slower digestive system. This keeps food in the stomach for a longer period of time, diluting the stomach acids and protecting the stomach lining at the same time. That said, a horse that sees consistent racing activities may feel extra pressure or stress - possibly leading to excessive stomach acid production.
If you notice any of the following concerns in your horse, contact your veterinarian right away to determine if your animals are suffering from ulcers:
* Grinding of the teeth, especially if this is a new phenomenon for your horses
* Rapid weight loss accompanied by a disinterest in food
* A shift in disposition or an attitude change that is out of character for the horse
* Recurring colic-like symptoms