Ulcers in Horses

There is a lot of information kicking around the internet at the moment relating to stomach ulcers in horses.  It is not a matter of if a horse has ulcers - it is more likely that sometime in your horses life they will suffer from them.

A horse cannot get rid of ulcers on their own especially in the conditions that we keep them in. They do not have the luxury of roaming large distances and choosing which type of food they eat.  We keep them in controlled environments.  If they are on pasture it consists of only a small range of grasses and sometimes no access to trees or roots or even quality soil to chomp on when they feel something lacking in their diet.  These are the behaviors of wild horses that know what to eat for medicine or de-worming etc.  If they are hard fed it will usually consist of some hay - and regardless of the type of hay you feed, the nutrients that can be found in this will be a direct result of the type of soil they have been grown on.  It will include some chaff (same as for hay) and generally something crunchy that has been manufactured to include this mineral and that mineral.  We then as humans are rather compulsive in our need to add a whole lot of other supplements to the feed for this or that - not always knowing what the horse is needing or overloaded on.  It is seriously a lot of guess work on our part.

Anyway, that all  being said, I want to focus a bit on ulcers in horses.  Horses can exhibit some very bad behavior when they have ulcers.  The reason for this is that they are in pain!  Seems very logical when you say it out loud.  They are not bad by nature! We know this or we wouldn't be horse people.  They may be grumpy, girthy, kick, bite, buck or be hard to catch.  Some will have shut down their behaviors because the pain is too bad for them to tolerate and just end up being a grumpy horse.  Sometimes they will be dull in the coat and be difficult to put weight on... what is our general response to this? - Feed more! Usually more proteins and fats which is even harder for their system to process.  We find more things to add to the diet!  A major stress event could bring on ulcers - going to a competition, floating a nervous horse etc.

So enough of what they might be showing you and how do you look after this issue of ulcers.

There are a few ways to combat this.  Popular belief seems to be get them scoped for ulcers.  This procedure is usually quite a high expense and also involves getting your horse sedated - put aside $500 for this and don't expect change!

There are more natural ways to support your horses system - again, it involves adding to your feed!!!  Slippery Elm Bark Powder is a very effective additive to the feed.  It helps in conditions of internal inflammation and irritation and can also be applied externally as a poultice.  It soothes and coats the tissue and helps to draw out the to13770298_sxins in the system.  It can be used on horses of all ages safely and effectively and won't cost you a bucket.  You could also investigate using marshmallow - no, not the squishy white or pink sugary treats you roast over an open fire! The green plant marshmallow.  It has very similar properties to the Slippery Elm Bark Powder.

So if you suspect that your horse has stomach ulcers then try them for a month on the Slippery Elm to see what results you get!  If you find that you have an altogether happier horse then the proof was in the pudding so to speak.  Remember the golden rule of feeding - Never give your horse something if you don't know why!