Health

Ulcer Avoidance

Ulcers can be a serious problem in competition horses.

Many of today's competition horses are affected by gastric ulcers. In fact, according to recent studies, equine gastric ulcer syndrome affects 93 percent of racehorses and more than 60 percent of performance horses.

Symptoms of ulcers include:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Decrease in performance
    • Poor body condition
    • Poor hair coat quality
    • "Sour" attitude, or depression
    • Overall discomfort

Many people try to treat ulcers with home remedies or nonmedical treatment. Unfortunately, the only currently known treatments for ulcers are prescription medications.

What causes ulcers in horses is a hotly debated topic among veterinarians and horse owners. While it is understood that ulcers are caused by an increase in acid exposure, scientists are unsure what causes the increase in the quantities of acid. Possible causes include stall confinement, stress resulting from hauling and performance, feed deprivation and a high-concentrate-feed diet.

Keeping your equine athlete in top shape is Priority No. 1, so make sure you're taking care of the whole horse, inside and out, top to bottom. Check out our Equine Hoof Health report to see what you can do to ensure the health of your horses' feet.

Addressing the ulcer question
From Dr. April Knudson of Merial

Question: What is the most cost-effective way to prevent stomach ulcers in horses?

Answer: Owning horses can be an expensive enterprise. In addition to fundamental horse health care elements -- such as farrier care, vaccinations and parasite control -- costs for feed and traveling to and during shows can add up.

For competitive horses, it's important to consider preventive health care that will help minimize time out of training -- and potentially out of the winners circle if horses get sick during or at events.

With the lifestyle of a competitive horse comes the everyday stresses of training, traveling and showing. Stomach ulcers can result from these types of stressful situations. Plus, stomach ulcers can occur in nearly all breeds and disciplines, and can develop fast -- sometimes in as little as five days.

With a wide assortment of stomach ulcer products available, some horse owners may find it difficult to choose an ulcer preventive that is not only effective but also cost-conscious. Using products that carry the stamp of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval is a surefire way to ensure equine health products have been tested for safety and effectiveness.

As the old saying goes, "No Hoof -- No Horse." Keep your horse's feet healthy so he can maintain his competitive edge. Download AHQA's Equine Hoof Health report to learn the latest in equine foot care.

Choosing products that aren't proven to work may put your horse at risk for stomach ulcers, possibly costing you more money in the long run.

Ulcergard (omeprazole) is the only product approved by the FDA for the prevention of stomach ulcers in horses. The active ingredient in Ulcergard inhibits acid production at the acid pump and the unique, patented formulation ensures the omeprazole is stabilized to work effectively on the stomach.

What's more, one daily dose of Ulcergard has been proven effective in preventing stomach ulcers over both short and long periods of time. With four daily doses per tube for horses weighing 600 to 1,200 pounds, Ulcergard can help prevent stomach ulcers during even a short weekend event.

Investing your time into training helps ensure a better result, and the same is true for health care. Investing in proven products helps ensure your money is spent wisely.

AHQA has plenty of information about all kinds of issues that may affect your horse's feet. Try reading the FREE Laminitis Treatment report, or our article on grass founder if you're searching for more information about hoof afflictions.