Does your Horse have Symptoms of Gastric Issues ?

If your horse has a poor appetite, soft droppings, dull hair or is irritable they could have gastric issues. It is important to know all of the signs of gastric issues so that you can lower your vet bills by preventing gastric ulcers developing.


Gastric Issues are Common in Horses

Know the signs and prevent gastric distress naturally

  1. Poor Appetite
  2. Weight Loss
  3. Poor Body Condition
  4. Soft Droppings
  1. Poor Hair Coat
  2. Mild Colic
  3. Teeth Grinding
  4. Irritable
  1. Poor Performance
  2. Reduced Feed Intake
  3. Lying Down more than normal
  4. Difficult when Girthing-up

Understanding the Vicious Cycle of Gastric Issues in Horses

Equine animals are not like cattle

The stomach capacity of an equine is approximately 10% of the small intestine [in contrast with a cow which is 70% approx]. Thus, horses must eat small amounts often.

Wild Horses are different than Stable Horses

In the wild, horses have 60,000 chews in a day producing 20 litres of saliva. Saliva naturally helps protect the stomach. Wild horses are constantly tearing short strands of grass which encourages the production of saliva.

Stabled horses do not need to work for their food and often their hay/haylage/fodder is in long strands. These long strands requires far fewer chews with a very large reduction in the production of saliva.

When stabled horses have eaten their allocated feed it passes through the stomach, leaving the acid to attack the stomach itself!

What causes High Acid Production in Equine animals?

Fewer larger meals increase acid production. Unlike humans, horses produce acid all the time. Higher intake of grain and stress from training, showing and even changes in their routine can stimulate acid production.

As acid levels rise, it can reach the unprotected top half of the stomach where it can eat through the lining. During exercise, acid can splash on to the unprotected top section of the stomach. As a result of this discomfort from ulcers – horses’ appetite often suffers which feeds back into the vicious cycle.

Feeding Horses & Ponies

FenuHealth recommendations

FenuHealth recommend that all horses when stabled should have access to hay/haylage 24 hours a day. For owners wanting to limit the amount of hay/haylage being fed, FenuHealth recommends the use of a hay net with smaller openings – ideally of less than 3cms as this will slow down the rate of consumption.

Common Stress Factors

  • Training and competition
  • Trailering and travel
  • Confinement or lay-up due to sickness or injury
  • Limited turnout or grazing
  • Changes in routine and social regrouping
  • Weaning

Something to Chew On…

In the wild, a horse averages 60,000 chews a day. Horses in training are more likely to average less than 20,000 chews a day producing as little s 5 litres of saliva.

The FenuHealth range – available as a powder that can be sprinkled on the horse’s feed. According to Annie, FenuHealth:

  • reduces the amount of acid being produced,
  • reduces the level of acidity,
  • forms a protective layer on the stomach
  • slows down the emptying of the stomach 
  • increases absorption of nutrients from the intestine.

Many trainers have reported an increase in muscle while continuing to feed the same weight of hard feed. Such reports have been received from trainers who weight their horses frequently and observed the difference when they first introduced a selection of their horses to FenuSave and FenuCare.

To make a diagnosis, your veterinarian may examine your horse for ulcers by running an endoscopic camera through the nose and into your horse’s stomach. If an endoscope is unavailable, your veterinarian may make a presumptive diagnosis based on your horse’s symptoms and history.

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