Equine Stomach Health - Ulcers and Beyond

Horses are truly remarkable creatures, renowned for their astonishing power, agility, and unyielding endurance. Whether you ride them competitively, enjoy leisurely activities with them, or depend on them for your daily work, one thing remains undeniably clear: their overall health is paramount for both their performance and overall well-being. Today, we delve into one crucial aspect of your horse’s overall health: equine stomach health.

Common Stomach Issues in Horses

Among the array of stomach problems that horses can encounter, gastric ulcers stand out as one of the most prevalent issues. These ulcers, which are essentially lesions or sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, are notorious for causing discomfort and pain in horses, which in turn can have a substantial impact on their overall performance.
But the realm of equine stomach health encompasses more than just ulcers. Horses can also face other digestive challenges, including conditions like colic, gastritis, and hindgut acidosis. Let’s take a closer look at these additional stomach concerns:

• Colic: Colic is a term that describes abdominal pain in horses, which can have a variety of causes. It’s a condition that requires immediate veterinary attention to diagnose the root issue and administer appropriate treatment.

• Gastritis: This condition involves inflammation of the stomach lining, often stemming from dietary changes or stress.

• Hindgut Acidosis: Here, we’re dealing with an imbalance in the microbial fermentation process in the hindgut. This leads to an excessive production of acidic byproducts, potentially triggered by dietary changes or stress. The remedy often involves dietary adjustments and medication to restore equilibrium and promote recovery.

Common Symptoms of Equine Stomach Problems

Recognizing the signs of stomach problems in horses is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Some common symptoms to look out for include:

Changes in Behavior: Your horse might become irritable, unwilling to work, or display signs of discomfort such as grinding their teeth.


Decreased Appetite: A horse with a stomach issue may show a loss of appetite or be reluctant to eat.


Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss is a red flag for potential digestive problems.


Colic Symptoms: Recurrent colic episodes, such as pawing, rolling, or stretching, can be indicative of gastric ulcers or other stomach issues.


Poor Coat Condition: A dull, lackluster coat can be a sign of malnutrition due to digestive problems.


Reduced Performance: Your horse’s performance might decline, with a noticeable decrease in energy and stamina.

5 Common Reasons for Equine Stomach Problems

Understanding the potential causes of stomach problems in horses is essential for preventing and addressing these issues effectively. Here are 5 common reasons that can lead to stomach problems in your horse:

1 – Inadequate Forage: A diet low in forage and high in concentrates can increase the risk of ulcers. Horses are naturally grazers, and their digestive systems are designed for continuous forage consumption.


2 – Stress: Horses are sensitive creatures, and stress, whether from training, transportation, or changes in their environment, can lead to stomach issues.


3 – Medications: Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can contribute to the development of ulcers.


4 – Intensive Exercise: High-intensity training and performance activities can increase the risk of stomach problems due to the stress it places on the horse’s body.


5 – Infections: Certain bacterial and parasitic infections can disrupt the delicate balance of the horse’s gut, leading to digestive issues.

Seek Expert Care For Your Horse In New York

If you suspect that your horse is struggling with gut health or may have gastric ulcers, it is vital to seek professional veterinary care. Advanced Equine of The Hudson Valley is here to provide the expertise and support needed to ensure your horse’s stomach health is at its best. Our dedicated team of equine veterinarians and specialists can diagnose, treat, and provide you with guidance on preventing stomach issues, enhancing your horse’s wellbeing, and improving their overall performance. Book an appointment for your equine companion today!