Some are. Some aren’t.
Gut health is finally being recognized as an essential, if not vital source of well-being for horses. A tremendous amount of time, energy and money is spent by owners trying to figure out how to prevent ulcers, how to cure ulcers, how to fatten horses up, deal with elderly horses and malabsorption issues and more.
Many horses are put on Gastroguard (omeprazole) without any plan for what to do when they come off of it. This is unfortunate because all gastric acid pump inhibitors cause a rebound effect when they are stopped. Often horses go right back on them and sometimes even stay on them – sometimes at half or quarter doses – forever. For what it’s worth, they were never designed for humans or horses to be kept on for long periods of time because you and your horse really do need stomach acid to digest food and they inhibit uptake of calcium.
So what can you do? If you haven’t considered the link between processed feeds and ulcers, you should. Forage first, nutrition second, calories third.. can all be achieved without a bag of processed feed. Grass is the ultimate ulcer cure if you have the patience for it to work its magic.
Other things besides ulcers and omeprazole cause gut issues. Antibiotics are the obvious one. They kill all bacteria including the good ones. When you need them, you need them – but afterwards you need to do something to fix the damage.
An often overlooked issue in the gut is laminitis. Laminitis – unless you’ve bedded your horse down on black walnut shavings, or your horse is PPID, or has something like a vaccine or steroid reaction – begins in the hind gut. Horses who are laminitic need gastric support also.
I do use and recommend a probiotic. I tried things like Probios.. I saw no change. I stumbled across this stuff more years ago than I can remember and gave it a try. I liked that it is made by a small company ( was VERY small at the time) that bred dogs and specialized in supplements. I liked how accessible they were and how their product actually worked. 15 years later, I’m still using it.
I like it so much I’m just going to leave the link here. I hope it’s of use to ya’ll. I don’t rep for Nature’s Farmacy like I do Uckele. They do have a referral cash back program so if you tell them Gayle Dauverd sent you by using one of these links I get a 5% kick back. That’s nice. But it’s nicer if your horses stomach doesn’t hurt and a small business makes a solid living. Cheers!