Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
I truly believe the best thing for an ulcer prone horse is free choice hay or forage. I've heard low starch grain, alfalfa, etc etc are good for ulcer prone horses and I am sure you can find a ton of suggestions on the net, but nothing beats a full tummy IMO.
The major cause of gastric ulcers in horses is prolonged exposure of the squamous mucosa to gastric acid. Unlike the glandular portion of the stomach, the squamous mucosa does not have a mucous layer and does not secrete bicarbonate onto its luminal surface. The only protection that this portion of the stomach has from gastric acid and pepsin comes from saliva production. If adequate saliva is not produced to buffer the gastric acid and coat the squamous epithelium, then gastric irritation occurs and lesions may develop. Therefore, the natural buffering mechanism in the horse is saliva production and indeed the most effective way to treat ulcers is simply to turn the animal out on pasture or feed free choice hay. Gain does not generate the same saliva production that forage does.
Sorry, info overload - I have done a ton of research myself having an ulcer prone Warmblood. Ha-ha
As a side note, and incase you weren't aware, avoid anti-inflammatory drugs such as Bute - can be very hard on an ulcer prone tummy. I keep my guy on a supplement to promote good digestive health (Biotic 8 in conjunction with GastraFX) as a maintenance program. I also pre-treat him with Gastro-guard before any stressful situations (such as shipping in his case) really help as well.
"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"