An equine gastric ulcer can be very painful for your horse. If your horse is diagnosed with gastric ulcers, it is important that you take steps to modify its diet to promote recovery from the condition. Below are some feeding options which can help a horse with gastric ulcers.
When in the wild, a horse will graze slowly, generating a constant influx of grass into their stomach. Because of this, your horse's stomach continuously secretes a small amount of digestive acid to break down this food. Horses which are domesticated do not always have constant access to food, which means that the stomach acid can attack and aggravate the stomach lining, causing ulcers. If your horse has a gastric ulcer, you should put them out to pasture so they can graze on fresh grass continuously throughout the day. Doing so will help to reduce any irritation caused by the excretion of stomach acid.
If you cannot put your horse out to graze in a pasture, you should moisten the feed you supply it with. The digestive acid in your horse's stomach is extremely concentrated. When a horse has a gastric ulcer, these strong acids have an adverse effect. By ensuring that the feed is moist, you can help to dilute the stomach acids as well as rehydrating your horse.
You should also consider adding supplements to your horse's diet. Below is a guide to popular supplements for horses with gastric ulcers:
- Pectin: Pectin is a primary source of fibre found in vegetable and plant life. When pectin enters your horse's stomach, it turns into a mucus which can help to protect any ulcers from the negative effects of stomach acid. Soybeans and beets are foods which contain high levels of pectin.
- Surfactants: Surfactants are a natural soap. When surfactants are added to horse feed alongside pectin, they can increase the amount of protective mucus produced. Alfalfa and oats are excellent sources of surfactants.
- Micronised Feed: Complex starches can irritate gastric ulcers, as they provide the ideal food source for any bacteria which are living on the ulcer site. By micronising your horse's feed, you can break down complex starches so that they are digested more easily before the bacteria can feed on them.
If you would like further information about how best to care for and feed your animal, you should contact a vet today.