Could your OTTB Have Ulcers?

Gastric Ulcers

Did you know that according to The American Association of Equine Practitioners that 90% of racehorses get ulcers!?

horse race starting gate
Photo by: James Anthony

Is your OTTB having these symptoms?

  • Attitude Changes
  • Weight Loss
  • Poor Hair Coat
  • Colic
  • Grinding Teeth
  • Cast

If you have been noticing these symptoms and are unsure what’s going on, schedule an appointment with your equine veterinarian because it could be ulcers.

What is an ulcer?

An ulcer is erosion of lining of the stomach. Unlike humans horses do not get ulcers from bacteria. Instead they will develop ulcers from too much acid production, causing damage to their stomach lining. Horses stomachs constantly produce acid, and this acid is neutralized by food and saliva.

What Causes Ulcers?

  • Not enough free choice hay or grass
  • Stressful situations
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Too much stall confinement
  • Over use of NSAIDS

How can you diagnose ulcers?

The only definitive diagnosis for ulcers to do a gastroscopy. Which entails taking an enoscope and feeding it through the nostril, down the esopagus  If you are noticing these symptoms in your horse contact your equine veterinarian immediately. 

Images of the stomachs of a healthy horse and a horse with gastric ulcers

Image provided by the Center for Equine Health

How can you prevent ulcers?

  • Frequent feedings to buffer acid in the stomach.
  • Decreasing grain that contains volatile fatty acids.
  • Decreasing stressful situations.
  • Decrease stall confinement.
  • Supplements.

How to treat Ulcers?

Remove predisposing factors listed above, or Omeprazole.


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