Frequently Asked Questions
- Order Status
- Payment Options
- Promotion Codes
- Return Policies
- What are your general return policies?
- How do I return an item?
- How long will it take to process?
- How will my money be credited to me?
- Footwear. Can I return it?
- Underwear. Can I return it?
- Custom items. Can I return them?
- Semi-Custom items. Can I return them?
- Saddles. Can I try out and return them?
- International Order. Can I return it?
- Outlet Items. Can I return them?
- Horse Blankets. Can I return them?
- Equestrian Collections Warranty
- Why did I get a Store Credit?
- Shipping Information
- What is 1-Way & 2-Way Premium Shipping?
- How are shipping rates calculated?
- Do you ship internationally?
- What are the international rates?
- What are the Canada shipping rates?
- What are rates for Australia/Indonesia?
- What is $200 Free Shipping All About?
- Can I have multiple shipping addresses?
- When will I receive my order?
- Can I expedite a shipment?
- Footwear to return. How do I do that?
- Saddle to return. How do I do that?
- How do I change my shipping address?
- When should I insure my package?
- I won't be home when my package arrives?
- What is a default shipping address?
- Where will my package ship from?
- What about Insurance?
- Are there any customs & duty involved?
- What are Free Shipping Products?
- What is Bongo International?
- What is Express Shopping?
- Can I track my order on line?
- Do I need to create an account to order?
- How do I order?
- How do I add items to my cart?
- How can I remove an item?
- How do I check out?
- Is the ordering process secure?
- What about shipping?
- What about taxes?
- What guarantees do you have?
- What payment methods to you accept?
- When will my order arrive?
- What is Express Shopping?
- What are Blowout Products?
- How does the Myler Bit Rental Work?
- How do I edit my Credit Card?
- Credit Card Problems?
- Contact and Communication
- Recalls and Disclaimers
- Ways to Save
- EC Auctions
- Specials and Coupons
- Fundraising and Sponsorship
More About Equestrian Collections
- About Us
- About our website
- About our products
- About our brands
- About our customers
- Interested in Being One of Our Vendors?
Privacy and Security
- Your Privacy
- Your Security
- Children's Guidelines
Mount Up to Rewards
- Rewards for You
- About Mount Up to Rewards
Tips and Helpful Hints
- Tips for the Rider
- Choosing an Equestrian Sports Bra
- Boots, Boots, Boots - Which to Choose?!
- Riding Helmets & Safety Equipment
- Tips for Choosing a Winter Jacket
- Choosing Schooling Breeches
- Gifts for Your Trainer
- Fall Fashion Season!
- Getting Started: Equipment for Beginners
- About Full Seat Breeches
- Safety Tips for Hunting Season
- What to Wear to Your First Show!
- A-Circuit Trends on a Budget
- Made in the USA
- Fire Safety - Mitigation and Evacuation
- Your Fall Equestrian To-Do List
- Equestrian Undergarments
- Equestrian Fitness
- Tips for Horse
- Ask the Vet, Sallie S. Hyman VMD, DACVIM
- What do I do for an Equine Runny Nose?
- How do I Handle a Vaccine Reaction?
- What About Joint Supplements?
- How Hot is too Hot?
- Barn Biosecurity. Why it matters!
- Thrush. What is it? How do I treat it?
- Equine First Aid. What do I Need?
- Grazing Muzzles and Metabolic Syndrome
- Shoo Fly! Horses vs. Flies ...
- Equine Vital Signs. What's Normal?
- Sheath and Udder Cleaning
- Cribbing. How Do I Make it Stop?
- Saddle Pads. What Kind Should I Buy?
- Trailering 101
- Saddle Fitting
- To Blanket or Not to Blanket
- Equine Vaccination Basics
- Equine Leg Protection
- Mini Horse Health
- Equine Dental Health
- Stable Vices
- The Prepurchase Examination
- Pain Management
- Draft Horses
- Hay Basics
- Barn Safety
- Calming Supplements
- Cold Weather Riding
- Equine Hoof Abscesses
- Bute and Banamine
- Equine Internal Parasites
- Equine Endurance and Electrolytes
- Burn Injuries
- West Nile
- Cold Weather Care
- Cold Weather Care for the Senior Horse
- Equine Rhinitis Virus
- Equine Ulcers
- Rain Rot
- Fall Hazards: Red Maple Leaf Toxicity
- 2013 AAEP Convention
- "Heaves" What is it?
- Fashion Focus
Super Sponsorship Affiliate Program
- Become a Super Sponsorship Affiliate
- Successful Sponsorship Affiliates are...
- Equestrian Non-Profits
- Equestrian Interest Portals
- Equestrian Community Sites
- Equestrian Dating Sites
- Equestrian Travel Sites
- Boarding & Training Barns
- Equestrian Content & Information Sites
- Equestrian Organization Sites - 1 level
- Equestrian Organization Sites - Multi
- Equestrian Clubs
- Horse Show Sites
- Equestrian Consumer Shows
- Equestrian Directories
- Equestrian Services Sites
- Equestrian College Sites
- How the Program Works for You...
- The Power of Super Sponsorship
- Monthly Payments
- Participation is Easy & Free
- Equestrian Collections Gives
- Eco-Conscious Products
- Save Trees - No Catalogs
Ask the Vet, Sallie S. Hyman VMD, DACVIM: Equine Ulcers
Equine Gastric Ulcers
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is a common problem in horses of all ages and disciplines. Ulcers are wounds in the lining of the stomach caused by acid. Studies of various populations of horses have found the prevalence of EGUS to be quite high.
- Discipline % of population affected
- Flat Racing 92
- Harness Racing 86
- Saddle Seat 82
- Reining 76
- Cutting 69
- Show jumping 67
- Eventing 62
- Barrel Racing 51
- Dressage 44
Reports found that 25 to 50 percent of foals have ulcers.
So why do so many horses have gastric ulcers? The short answer is how we manage them; how we feed them, how we train them, how we keep and transport them.
Horses evolved to be nomadic grazers. Their gastrointestinal (GI) tracts are designed to have fiber (grass, weeds, leaves) in them at all times. A horse’s stomach continuously secretes acid (mainly hydrochloric), whether there is food in it or not. An adult horse can produce up to 16 gallons of acidic fluid each day. In nature, horses are continuously grazing, so the stomach is rarely empty. This food in the stomach, along with bicarbonate in saliva, helps to neutralize the stomach acid. In addition, the movement of continuous walking promotes GI motility and keeps food and acid moving out of the stomach. Horses begin to secret stomach acid as young as two days of age and the acidity of their stomach secretions is usually very high. In the adult horse, the pH of gastric contents ranges from 1.5 to 7.0, depending on region measured. A near neutral pH can be found in the dorsal portion of the esophageal region (saccus cecus) near the lower esophageal sphincter, whereas, more acidic pHs can be found near the margo plicatus (3.0-6.0) and in the glandular region near the pylorus (1.5-4.0)
The horse stomach is divided into two distinct regions, the esophageal or non-glandular region and the glandular region. The esophageal region or squamous mucosa covers approximately one-third of the equine stomach, is void of glands, and is covered by stratified squamous epithelium similar to the esophagus. The glandular region covers the remaining two-thirds of the stomach and contains glands that secrete hydrochloric acid, pepsin, bicarbonate and mucus.
The glandular mucosa is protected from acid damage by proper blood flow, bicarbonate buffering of acid, and mucus that forms a protective layer over the mucosa. Ulcers can be present in either the squamous or glandular portion of the stomach, but are more common in the squamous portion at the margo plicatus. This area is almost constantly exposed to acid, pepsin, bile acids and organic acids. Ulcers in the glandular mucosa are usually due to disruptions in blood flow to the area and decreased mucus and bicarbonate production.
Causes of EGUS
EGUS is a complicated syndrome with many causative factors.
Fasting or intermittent feeding have been shown to consistently induce gastric ulceration in horses. The empty stomach is exposed to acids which can attack the defenseless squamous mucosa and overwhelm the defenses of the glandular mucosa.
Diets high in concentrates have also been shown to induce ulcers. The carbohydrate rich grains are fermented to volatile fatty acids (VFA). These VFA enter the cells of the squamous mucosa, cause the cells to swell and die, cause inflammation, eventually ulceration.
Exercise causes increased intra-abdominal pressure in horses resulting gastric compression, pushing acidic contents into the proximal, squamous-lined region of the stomach. Increased duration of acid exposure directly related to daily duration of exercise may be the reason that squamous lesions tend to develop or worsen when horses are in intensive training programs. Exercise may also have an inhibitory effect on gastric emptying.
Anything that causes delayed gastric emptying will predispose a horse to gastric ulcers. This is most common in foals with duodenal outflow obstructions, but can occur in adults with ileus due to any number of conditions.
In foals, gastric ulceration may be related to desquamation or “shedding” of the squamous epithelium of the stomach. Desquamation of the squamous mucosa, occurs in 80 percent of foals up to 35 days of age. In a study of rats, it was found that the loss of epithelial cells along the margo plicatus resulted in the increased susceptibility of this region to acid injury. Also, acid injury to this region resulted in a delay in re-epithelialization. Delayed re-epithelialization could result in acid injury of the deeper layers from hydrochloric acid and lead to gastric ulceration.
Housing, Trailering, Nsaids
Horses that live outside and are allowed to graze at will have fewer ulcers than horses that are stalled. One study found that horses that were brought into stalls after living outside developed gastric ulcers, some in as little as 24 hours.
Trailering horses causes stress that leads to gastric ulcers. An interesting fact found during this study was that not only did the horses who were transported during the study develop ulcers, but so did those horses who were left behind. Seems as though everyone got stressed. This stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, decreased blood flow to the stomach, and reduced hay intake, all of which contribute to gastric ulceration.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are notorious for causing stomach ulcers in all species. They reduce protective prostaglandins, decrease mucus production, and interfere with proper blood flow to the stomach.
Signs of EGUS
Horses will display a variety of clinical signs in response to gastric ulcers. These can range from being off feed to knocking down rails in the jump off. Each horse will have a different tolerance and can make recognizing the signs difficult. Below is a list of some of the more typical signs associated with gastric ulcers.
- · A change in attitude - Is your horse more nervous than usual or less willing to perform? Does he seem grouchy or "out of it" for no apparent reason?
- · Poor appetite - Is he eating as much as he normally does for the amount of work he's accomplishing? Is he leaving any of his feed uneaten? Does he start to eat his grain, then back away?
- · Colic - Is your horse showing signs of low-grade colic, a persistent mild discomfort?
- · Decreased performance - Is your horse not as "fluid" as normal? Could his usually fine movement be described as below average?
- · A decline in body condition - Is your horse's coat not quite as sleek and shiny as it once was? Does he look "unthrifty" or just plain poor?
- · Weight loss - Has your horse dropped weight, up to but not more than 10 percent of his body weight?
- · Dull - Is your horse generally lackluster and seemingly without energy?
Although the clinical signs of EGUS may be hard to recognize, diagnosis is quite simple. An endoscopic examination will reveal whether or not your horse has ulcers. The procedure is done under standing sedation on an outpatient basis. It is imperative that you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and advice for fasting your horse prior to the procedure. If the stomach is full of food or water, there is no way to see whether or not there are ulcers. Some clinics prefer that you drop your horse off the night before so that they can ensure that he is properly fasted.
Ulcers are graded on a zero to three basis. Grade Zero means there are no signs of ulceration. Grade One means that there is a single to a few, small lesions present. Grade Two means multiple lesions up to medium sized are present. Grade Three means there are extensive, coalescing, deep ulcers, possibly bleeding, present.
Treatment is aimed at healing the ulcers and reducing the factors that cause them. Several medications are available that effectively treat gastric ulcers by reducing gastric acid secretion. FDA approved omeprazole products such as Gastrogard and Ulcergard have been proven to heal ulcers. Omeprazole is a proton-pump inhibitor that turns off acid secretion. Omeprazole products are given once daily and are, therefore, very convenient. Type-2 histamine (H2) blockers such as ranitidine have also been effective in treating ulcers. Histamine is a naturally-occurring chemical that stimulates cells in the stomach (parietal cells) to produce acid. H2-blockers inhibit the action of histamine on the cells, thus reducing the production of acid by the stomach.
Feeding calcium and protein rich alfalfa helps to buffer stomach acid. Reducing the amount of concentrate fed is also advised. Allowing as much access to pasture is also recommended.
Today we know the factors that induce gastric ulcers. Knowledge is power and we know that we can help to prevent our horses from actually developing a full blown case of ulceration. Veterinarians recommend treating horses prophylactically during stressful times such as trailering for lessons, competitions, or relocating, or when other horses in your horse’s circle of friends leave.
If a horse must be confined, ensure free choice access to hay and enrich the environment to reduce as much stress as possible. Provide toys (such as treat feeders), mirrors, and make sure he can interact or at least see his buddies.
Gastric ulcers can negatively affect your horse’s performance and health. Knowing what factors can cause them and signs to look for will help you identify if your horse is at risk or may even have ulcers.
- Company Info
- About Equestrian Collections
- About our Website
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- Customer Testimonials
- Rewards Program
- Join the Mount Up to Rewards Program
- Rewards for You
- Affiliate Program
- Become an Equestrian Collections Affiliate
- Sponsorships & Fundraising
- My Account
- Order Tracking
- Returns and Exchanges
- Shipping Info
- We Care
- Eco-Conscious Products
- No Paper Catalogs - Save Trees