What are Gastric Ulcers?
Gastric ulcers are lesions that are found in the stomach of horses. The horses stomach is made up of 2 major regions, the upper ‘squamous’ area and the lower ‘glandular’ area. The majority of ulcers in adult performance horses occur either in the squamous area or at the junction of the squamaous and glandular regions.
It is thought that the lack of buffering and protection from gastric acids in the upper squamous area of the stomach is what makes it more prone to ulceration when compared to the lower glandular area which secretes mucous to protect itself from the gastric acids that are continuously secreted into the stomach.
How it is caused?
Ulcers are multifactorial with many things contributing including stress, periods of time off feed, training, working on an empty stomach, not enough forage and high grain feeds.
What the horse needs.
In some cases feeding horses non-grain, low starch feeds helps to control ulcers by stopping the fermentation of starch in the stomach.