When planning an overnight trip with your horse, there’s a lot to think about—from packing a first-aid kit to remembering any required health paperwork. You may also want to add “ulcer prevention” to that checklist.
Gastric ulcers, which are lesions in the stomach lining associated with inflammation, can cause discomfort, weight loss and even attitude changes in horses. Common causes for gastric ulcers are high-grain diets and long-term use of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory medications, but stress can also lead to their development.
Click here to learn what three things to investigate when your horse is uneasy in the trailer.
Research has shown that the simple act of trailering a horse to a different location and staying overnight can induce gastric ulcers in horses, even in those who are seasoned travelers and do not seem outwardly bothered by the experience. With this in mind, you may want to consider putting a horse who travels frequently on an ulcer-preventing feed or supplement and then treating him the day before an overnight trip with a preventive dose of omeprazole paste.
Even with preventive ulcer treatments, be sure to provide a traveling horse with plenty of water and unlimited forage to keep his digestive system functioning as normally as possible. If your horse is an inexperienced traveler or particularly nervous, bringing along a herd mate is also a good idea, if feasible.
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