Who doesn't know it? Almost every rider will have been confronted with it at some time: Stomach problems in horses. Stomach problems are one of the most common complaints in equestrian sports. Almost half of all horses suffer from stomach ulcers, gastritis or precursors of these. Unfortunately, all age and use groups are affected. Even foals, leisure horses and even hig h - performance sport horses are not left out. The reason for this is a relatively small stomach compared to the body size with just about 18 liters capacity. To make matters worse, the stomachs of these gentle giants are not particularly resilient and reac t very sensitively to stress and feeding errors. This makes it more important for responsible horse owners to inform themselves in detail about stomach problems and to prevent them at an early stage. The earlier the complaints are detected, the better the chances of treatment. However, since horses are known to be masters at keeping their pain hidden for a long period of time, stomach problems unfortunately often go unnoticed. This makes it even more important for you to be sensitive to possible symptoms.
Symptoms of gastric distress seem nonspecific and are often not associated with it, whichobviously doesn't make it any easier for you to recognize. While some horses seem listlessand eat less, others seem fit and vital and eat as usual. As an owner, you should thereforepay even closer attention to changes in your loved one's behavior. You know your horse bestand know when he is not feeling well. Common symptoms of gastric distress include loss ofappetite, dull coat, decreased performance, fatigue, frequent licking and flehmen, colic, andweight loss. However, these symptoms could also be caused by other factors. If you noticeone or even more symptoms in your horse, action is needed. Watch your horse closely andchange his feed. Theearlier you recognize the symptoms, the more effectively you can treatthe problem. Failure to act can have serious and very dangerous consequences for yourhorse. Undetected stomach problems can, in the long run, turn an initially seeminglyharmless stomach mucosa inflammation into stomach ulcers, which can then lead to severebleeding and even a gastric rupture.
If necessary, contact a competent veterinarian and have your horse examined. The most common treatment is through medications that inhibit the acid production of the stomach. While these medications eliminate most symptoms, they do not correct the underlying cause. Gastric acid inhibiting medications are therefore not a permanent solution. If taken over a longer period, your horse may experience side effects such as fatigue or nausea. In addition, the sensitive intestinal flora of your horse will be damaged in the long run. For lasting and sustainable gastric health of your horse, you should eliminate the actual trigger. Often, the cause is a com bination of feeding and posture errors that lead to stress of the sensitive giants. You should therefore adapt your feed to the natural needs of your horse's digestive tract. This way you can ensure the long - term health and well - being of your horse.
Horse s are ruminants. Their stomachs continuously produce very aggressive stomach acid to break down feed into its components and thereby absorb the valuable nutrients and carbohydrates it contains. Stomach acid is naturally neutralized by the saliva produced w hen horses chew. Therefore, horses need to eat continuously. Even a break of about 4 hours is enough to irritate the stomach lining. If too much acid is produced, which can no longer be neutralized by saliva, the gastric mucosa and the underlying structure s are attacked. This can cause gastric mucosal inflammation and ulcers. In addition, stress leads to less blood supply to the stomach lining and, at the same time, increased stomach acid production. You should therefore avoid excessive stress for your hors e. Malnutrition and overfeeding as well as low - quality, grain - rich feed also cause stomach problems. This can cause long - term chronic damage to your loved one's digestive tract. You should avoid cereals and silage as much as possible to avoid stomach irrit ation and instead use high - quality feed.