Equine Stomach Ulcers

Equine Stomach Ulcers

A horse’s stomach can produce up to 16 gallons of acidic SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAfluid every day.  A horse’s stomach secretes acid all the time.  In a natural grazing situation, this steady flow of acid is necessary for digestion.  The intake of roughage causes production of saliva that acts as a buffer.  Grazing horses rarely suffer from stomach ulcers.  In reality, however, the horse you love is probably not constantly grazing.  With the added stress of a busy horse lifestyle, excess acid can easily build up and cause painful stomach ulcers.

How do horses get stomach ulcers?
Where there is tissue, there can be ulcers.  Stress can affect a horse’s eating and drinking behavior and thus the amount of acid in the stomach.  Horses are especially sensitive and may experience stress when exposed to situations you would think of as normal.  Leading stress factors include, but are not limited to:
– Competition
– Training
– Travel
– Hospitalization
– Exercise
– Inconsistent feeding schedule

Are stomach ulcers common in horses?
Over the last 20 years, many researchers have studied equine stomach ulcers. In fact, one study showed that horses can develop stomach ulcers in as little as 5 days.  The also discovered that many types of horses have been shown to suffer from stomach ulcers:
More that 90 % of racehorses.
More than 60 % of non-racing competitive horses.
More that 50 % of foals.

How are stomach ulcers diagnosed in a horse?
The only sure way to diagnose equine stomach ulcers is with an instrument called an endoscope.  Our Veterinarians will pass the endoscope through the nostril into the stomach and where its light and camera allow observation of the stomach lining.

Unfortunately, you can’t eliminate all stress for your horse, so stomach ulcers may be inevitable at times.  If you think that you horse may have stomach ulcers, please contact Village Veterinary Hospital at 505-869-2627.

We will be glad to answer any questions you may have.