Horse health care is one thing. Caring for a horse who has a history of ulcers is something else altogether. Owners of horses who have had ulcers in the past are super-sensitive to any signs of possible new ulcers forming, whether it be a horse leaving his feed or experiencing a mild colic.
These owners all want to know: "What should I do if I think my horse is possibly developing another ulcer?" Luckily, the answer is simple and cost-effective:
Once a horse has fully recovered from an ulcer, the best way to prevent the formation of new ulcers is to put him on a nutritional maintenance program that will keep him healthy.
The simplest and most effective nutritional supplement I have found to keep ulcer-prone horses healthy is the Essentials from Simplexity Health. The Essentials are convenient daily packs of supplements that include:
- 2 forms of blue-green algae (with and without the cell wall)
When fed on a daily basis, this balanced mix of supplements keeps a horse's gut healthy. The probiotics (acidophilus and bifidus) keep the population of "good bacteria," or gut flora, in the horse's small and large intestines flourishing. This is important because healthy gut flora prevent foreign invaders from taking over and causing ulcers. Probiotics also play a big role in healthy digestion.
The enzymes also play a crucial role in digestion, especially for horses who have trouble assimilating nutrients or have inherently poor digestion. Finally, the two forms of blue-green algae provide a nutrient-dense supply of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. These nutrients help to heal horse ulcers as soon as they start to form.
In short, the Essentials provide your horse's body with everything it needs to maintain a healthy gut, and repair any ulcers that may begin to form. For maintenance, I recommend 1-2 packets of Simplexity Essentials daily, depending on the horse's temperament.
Preventing Horse Ulcers When a Horse is Stressed
Horses can be stressed by any number of factors, including travel, horse shows, heavy training, a new environment, or an abrupt change in weather. As a horse owner, you know best which factors stress your horse. If you know that you horse is going to be stressed, you can prevent him from developing new ulcers by supplementing his feed with ulcer-preventive substances beforehand.
For instance, if you know that your horse is stressed by long trips, in addition to feeding the Essentials, you might add green clay, Stomach Soother, SUCCEED, or KLPP and UF to his diet a day or two before you leave. The key is to feed him whatever nutritional supplement helped him heal from his original ulcer.
Feeding the Simplexity Essentials is an excellent way to prevent horse ulcers when a horse is in his normal routine. However, if a horse with a history of ulcers is going to be stressed, I recommend feeding additional supplements to prevent the formation of new ulcers.
Depending on what kind of ulcers your horse is prone to, the supplement of choice could range from slippery elm and aloe to green clay or Stomach Soother. Not all horse ulcers are the same, so they can't all be treated the same way.
Treating Different Types of Horse Ulcers
Because you know your horse best, you know which kinds of ulcers he is most prone to and what supplements work best for him. Keep these supplements on hand to feed before you stress him, or at the first sign of a newly developing ulcer. If, for example, your horse has a mild colic because of a weather change, and he responds well to Stomach Soother, add that to his diet for a few days until his
symptoms subside. When paired with the Essentials, the Stomach Soother will prevent the formation of new ulcers ... and save you a big vet bill in the process.
Prevention Really is the Best Medicine
I've compared case studies of horse ulcers treated with conventional medicine and holistic care. Over and over again, I see that the horses who are treated with holistic care, which focuses on a solid nutritional program and preventative care, are not only happier and healthier over all, but cost their owners less money in the long run.
A solid nutritional program designed specifically for your horse's nutritional and temperamental needs is definitely a form of prevention against horse ulcers and all kinds of other acute and chronic health conditions. While the ongoing monthly costs of this kind of program may seem a bit higher than a "no frills grass hay" diet, ultimately a nutritional program like this will save you money and heartache.
Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Madalyn Ward, DVM. Copyright (c) 2010 HolisticHorsekeeping.com and Madalyn Ward, DVM.