Ulcer prone horse - what is the best feed? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 01-04-2012, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ulcer prone horse - what is the best feed?

I have a horse that is young and got ulcers last year. I have some supplements I want to give him and am wondering what is the best type of feed to give him? I was told sweet feeds are not good for ulcers. I currently have co-op type horse feed (some molasses not much) - is this ok? He hasn't gotten an ulcer so far but we had just given him bute for some pain he was undergoing. I just don't want to make this worse!

I'm comfortable with having to change horse feeds - any recommendations?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-04-2012, 02:26 PM
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I have my ulcer prone TB on triple crown senior and she does really well on it, I also keep her on a supplement called ulc-r-aid.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-04-2012, 03:19 PM
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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.

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post #4 of 12 Old 01-09-2012, 06:54 PM
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I was actually just researching this recently for an article. Unlike people, horses stomachs produce acid all the time, not just when they are eating.

Free choice hay/pasture, low starch feed, sufficient turn-out time and minimizing stress where possible all help to reduce the incidence of ulcers.

Research studies have shown that alfalfa hay can have a buffering effect on stomach acid as may textured grains (compared to pelleted feeds), ie. What you'd call sweet feed, but it needn't have all the molasses.

@kpptt2001, how long do you pre-treat your horse with Gastro-guard for before you ship your horse? Was thinking of doing the same the next time I have to travel a long distance with my horse, as the last time he showed symptoms of ulcers after.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-10-2012, 01:26 PM
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@Linz: For long hauls, I usually start a week ahead of time, or at the minimum, 4 days, which equals 1 tube, or 4 doses. Depending on the scenario, I will either keep him on it for the remainder of the trip and for a few days after he returns home as well. My guy had a bad bought of Ulcers two years ago during a 12 hour haul (he was untreated at the time). The following year, we did the same trip in the same trailer, but pre-treated him, and he was happy as a clam upon arrival with no signs of stress or ulcers. :)

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post #6 of 12 Old 01-12-2012, 12:42 PM
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I had a mare with stomach ulcers 2 years ago in the late winter. Went off of her grain and dropped weight really fast. Before trying the expensive ulcer medication my vet suggested just giving her extra hay and adding some alfalfa hay into the mix. After 1 month of hay-only rations, and lots of it, I slowly started her back up on pelleted grain. Now I just make sure she has plenty of hay, including alfalfa, and haven't had any problems since.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-13-2012, 09:51 PM
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The rescue mare i'm about to get I think may have ulcers so I will try the hay and alfalfa only diet. Any my others are getting switched to whole oats would a horse with ulcers be fine with whole oats?
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-14-2012, 05:02 PM
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Bananas.

Don't even laugh. They are good for preventing ulcers. I've noticed a difference, and most horses I've been around enjoy them as treats. I've also noticed that if you spread out your feedings more, keeping their stomach 'working', so to speak, that will help. Even more ideal would be open-grazing.

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post #9 of 12 Old 01-15-2012, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinaKonga View Post
Bananas.

Don't even laugh. They are good for preventing ulcers. I've noticed a difference, and most horses I've been around enjoy them as treats. I've also noticed that if you spread out your feedings more, keeping their stomach 'working', so to speak, that will help. Even more ideal would be open-grazing.
Ok, that got my attention

Since I started feeding my ulcer-prone Arab well soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes, I was able to take him of Ranitidine in the winter.

He only has flareups in the winter after the grass dies off. He's gets daily turnout on 22 acres but by this time of year there's not much green out there

It's the calcium carbonate in the alfalfa that helps - think TUMS

Even with four molars missing the Old Curdmudgeon (coming 26) could handle a banana or two.

One a day, every couple days? "How'd you do that"?
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-15-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
Ok, that got my attention

Since I started feeding my ulcer-prone Arab well soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes, I was able to take him of Ranitidine in the winter.

He only has flareups in the winter after the grass dies off. He's gets daily turnout on 22 acres but by this time of year there's not much green out there

It's the calcium carbonate in the alfalfa that helps - think TUMS

Even with four molars missing the Old Curdmudgeon (coming 26) could handle a banana or two.

One a day, every couple days? "How'd you do that"?
Every couple of days I cut one up and put it in his grain. He usually picked put the banana slices first I haven't gotten back into the habit of it lately, but I remember I gave him one maybe two or three days a week and I swear by them.

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