Gastric ulcers in horses, as in everyone, has a cause. Most health causes are manmade and this is no exception. When a cause is manmade, the solutions are often easy, quick and highly effective. Easy as in easy to implement provided your mind is open to a different way of thinking.
Many easy solutions are rejected because they challenge a rigid way of thinking. This isn’t conducive to progress. But it is understandable as challenging a current way of thinking can be threatening or frightening. It can be threatening to health providers who profit by making things more complicated than they really are. It can be frightening if it goes against what you have been told.
What Causes Gastric Ulcers in Horses?
Anyone who has suffered a gastric ulcer can testify to the pain. Often it’s a strong burning pain and very little relieves it. Obviously this impacts on your behaviour and abilities.
And so it is with horses.
Causes of horse gastric ulcers can be varied, but the principle ones are stress and long gaps between eating.
Stress in horses is common. Horses are prey animals. Prey animals are hard wired to be on alert for danger constantly. But they are also hard wired not to show any ailment. After all, if a preditor spots an animal with an ailment, they know that is a weakness, so an easy catch.
So horses, and other herbivores, are good at disguising their pain. Only sensitive people can pick this up – from a flick of an ear, to a head shake, to a tail swish, and many more besides. All familiar, but largely ignored, symptoms in most horses.
All the gadgets available to keep horses doing what we want them to do regardless of how they feel, is detrimental to their ongoing health. The anticipation of another bout of pain filled exercises will inevitably lead to health problems, equine stomach ulcers included.
Another stress factor is company. Horses are herd animals and keeping them in isolation leads to enormous stress. A herd is safer than being on your own.
Horses are herbivores. No one challenges that. Herbivores need to eat a lot to get all their nutrition. No one doubts that either. What is often not understood is that when a horse, or any herbivore, doesn’t have access to food pretty much all the time, stomach ulcers start to develop.
In Nature, horses will always have food available at all times. Even in hard times, they will find wisps here and there, enough to keep the gastric ulcers at bay, even if not to keep them well fed.
The daily demands on horses today far exceed their natural tendencies. Which means they need to be fed more concentrated food than is natural to them. The problem with feeding horses more concentrated food is that they can’t graze on it, as they do grass.
Natural Treatment for Horse Gastric Ulcers
Gastric ulcers in horses are common in stabled or yarded horses who don’t have access to food 24/7. Put them out to grass or have hay constantly available, and the problem disappears.
For those horses who have to be stabled or yarded and who can’t have access to hay 24/7, then a good quality slippery elm bark is a great solution. But one you will always need to have on hand as the cause is not being addressed.
If the horse puts on too much weight with so much hay, or if all that hay is too much of a financial burden, then you can purchase various gadgets that make it more difficult to get at the hay. So it’s aways available, but not in huge quantities.
Gastric ulcer meds for horses are suppressive and lead to more problems in the future, They don’t address the cause and lead to more anxiety.
Gastric ulcers in horses is easy, quick and effective to treat when you appreciate who horses are and what they need.
Long term use of drugs leads to many health problems, which can be helped by homeopathic treatment.