Reducing Gastric Ulcers

Remember when your parents used to tell you to wait 30 minutes after eating before going for a swim? Unlike us, horses can actually benefit from eating forage before they exercise, as it may help reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.

While a variety of things can contribute to the development of stomach ulcers (medications, diet, stress, etc.), one train of thought is that these areas of irritation result as a consequence of the acid of the stomach splashing against unprotected parts of the stomach lining. When a horse eats forage, the hay can help absorb some of that acid and thus reduce the risk of ulcer formation.

It is important to note that a forage meal (one comprised of hay or grass) provides the most benefit, while eating large volumes of concentrate feeds (such as oats, corn, or other cereal grains) can actually increase the amount of acid within the stomach.

As always, please be sure to consult with your vet regarding further diagnostics and treatments if you have concerns that your horse may have gastric ulcers.

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