Horse racing is a common sport and has been around for quite some time. It started in 1665 with the first race track in America and has gained popularity across the globe. Racing breeds have been researched and are available in different countries for this sport. However, racing horses face numerous health concerns, mainly due to their rigorous training.
One of the top health concerns among horses is Gastric Ulcers. It is widespread across horses of all breeds, and it can directly affect mucosal tissues in the non-glandular stomach of a horse. Gastro-endoscopic research has found that over 80-90% of racehorses in training and 52% of horses across all breeds have gastric ulcers in the age of 1-24 years.
Most horse owners are unaware of this disease and unsure if their horse has it. However, a horse, especially a racing horse in training, can exhibit numerous symptoms that can alarm its owners about gastric ulcers developing in its body. These symptoms can include poor appetite, sudden change of attitude, decreased performance, colic, bad hoofs, etc., as a result of overall poor hygiene, or even weight loss.
If your horse is facing any of these concerns lately, get them checked and diagnosed by a veterinary professional. You can treat ulcers in your racing horse by following these tips and ensuring a good environment and ample food supply for your horse:
Resting your horse for a week is one of the quickest and easiest fixes for gastric ulcers. During the exercises and training for the race, acids in a horse’s stomach can splash due to intense movement and pressure. Resting ensures that any damaged lining of the stomach is adequately healed. Ample rest lets the non-glandular part of your horse’s stomach be well-protected from any acid reflux.
The secretion of acids in your horse’s stomach occurs cyclically. It keeps increasing and going down several times daily. The pH level of a horse can go as low as 5. The best way to protect your horse from these strong acids is by ensuring that our horse has access to hay 24/7 and keeps creating more saliva while chewing hay.
Saliva can protect your horse from such acids and maintain a balanced pH level in their bodies. For this purpose, you should consider placing your racing horse in a stall and ensuring that hay sacks are nearby. Hay types like alfalfa have numerous antacids like calcium, saponins, and mucilage proteins. Invest in quality hay, nutritious hay.
Gastric ulcers are mainly a result of solid acids, and these can easily be blocked with the use of adequate drugs. Medications like omeprazole and pantoprazole, being proton-pump inhibitors, can help heal your horse’s stomach and ensure that they are ready for the next race quickly. Using sucralfate for ulcers is an effective and affordable method that has been medically approved. It is crucial to ensure that you source these medications from a reliable supplier and consult a professional to decide the appropriate dosage for your horse.
Horse ulcers can be expensive to manage, as they require a detailed diagnosis and treatment that involves resting, medication, and special care. The only accurate way to get your horse diagnosed with ulcers is through an endoscope, a video camera in your animal’s stomach. This camera is placed from your horse’s nose and then pushed through the esophagus until it reaches the stomach. Getting a good scope can cost more than $250, which can be pretty expensive.
It is advisable to consult a veterinary professional as soon as your horse starts showing any symptoms of gastric ulcers and follow a strict resting schedule for your horse.