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FAQ: Preventing Equine Ulcers Using UlcerGard

Ulcers in horses are common; learn how to best prevent them with omeprazole for horses


Is your horse displaying a change in behavior? It could be equine ulcers. Ulcers impact 60% of show horses and 90% of racehorses, according to American Association of Equine Practitioners. With numbers like that, it is imperative that horse owners know what ulcers are, how they affect horses and how to help prevent them.

Can ulcers impact all horses?

“Any age group can get ulcers; they can affect horses from birth all the way to elderly, geriatric horses,” said Tony Hawkins, DVM, Valley Vet Supply Technical Service Veterinarian. “Ulcers result from an erosion in the stomach lining. The stomach has a protective lining over the surface of it, and stomach acid -- if it's not properly neutralized -- can erode the lining, creating holes and sores in the surface of the stomach. It can potentially turn very serious if untreated.”

What are common signs of ulcers in horses?

The pain from stomach ulcers may lead to certain changes in your horse’s behavior. Signs include a change in eating or drinking habits, weight loss, cribbing, wind sucking, dull hair coat, recurring colic, poor performance and overall poor attitude.

What causes ulcers in horses?

Horses continuously secrete acid in their stomach. Due to the effects of acid on the stomach lining, ulcers can develop.

A horse’s diet and stressors in their life can directly impact their risk of developing ulcers. 

Horses without continual access to roughage, or competition horses in training, are at greater risk of stomach ulceration. Ulcers are often the direct result from physical stress -- such as from training, illness, pain, surgery and chronic administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Behavioral stress, such as caused by transport, stall confinement, changes in routine, social regrouping and weaning, can also cause ulcers.

Horses that are on pasture with ample access to roughage are at the lowest risk of developing ulcers.

Help Prevent Ulcers in Horses by Administering UlcerGard

The life of a performance or sport horse often lends itself to the stressors mentioned above. If one is striving toward the highest levels in their discipline, they simply cannot stop training, transporting or other; however, they can take steps to prevent ulcers from impacting their horse by administering UlcerGard. It can be easily administered by the horse owner and does not require a prescription. The active ingredient in UlcerGard, omeprazole for horses, has been extensively tested for safety and effectiveness. It works by reducing the production of acid in the horse’s stomach. A product horse owners can rely on, UlcerGard is the only ulcer medication for horses approved by the FDA to prevent equine ulcers.

“To get ahead of ulcers and help horses maintain optimal gastric health, it is recommended that UlcerGard be administered during stressful events or activities that may induce stomach ulcers,” said Dr. Hawkins.

UlcerGard is an important tool in your toolbox to help maintain your horse’s gastric health. This targeted medication provides horses with great results when administered during anticipated stressful times, such as traveling, competition, stall confinement and strenuous exercise, offering proven prevention of gastric ulcers in otherwise healthy horses who are at risk due to increased stress. UlcerGard is proven to safely and effectively prevent stomach ulcers in horses, through a special formulation that survives the acidic stomach environment, allowing proper absorption. It blocks acid production at the proton pump regardless of stimuli.

To administer this cinnamon-flavored oral paste to your horse, simply give a daily dose of 1 mg (1/4 tube for an average 1,000 lb. horse) on the back of the horse's tongue or deep in the cheek pouch. If any of the dose is lost or rejected, re-dosing is recommended. UlcerGard dosage for horses 600 lbs. to 1,200 lbs., give one dose (1/4 tube) per day. For horses over 1,200 lbs., give two doses (1/2 tube) per day.

Dr. Hawkins recommends that, “Additionally, change up your horse’s feeding routine. If at all possible, allow horses to graze continuously or offer them 24/7 access to hay. Add alfalfa into your hay mix if possible. If offering 24/7 hay or pasture turnout is not an option, feed multiple meals a day to keep feedstuffs in the stomach as long as possible. Reducing your horse’s training intensity, therefor stress, will also help in preventing ulcers.”

Keep these insights in mind to help prevent ulcers from impacting your horse’s health and performance.

Learn about ulcer treatment for horses

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