Meeting your horse's needs for optimal gut health is not the same as meeting his caloric requirements. If your horse is not underweight and basically healthy, suffice it to say his caloric (not necessarily nutrient) requirements are being met. Considering horses are grazing herbivores and their digestive tract is designed for almost continual trickle feeding (16-20 hours a day) of fibrous feeds - the question isn't are you feeding enough calories - but are you feeding in a way that promotes optimal gut health?
Read on to learn why gut health is so important, how common feeding practices affect it, and how to improve it by feeding more in line with your horse's digestive tract design.
To date, it has become common knowledge to never exercise your horse on an empty stomach. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, little has been published about transporting on an empty stomach.
Considering a horse's natural instincts, transport is inherently stressful. Add to that lack of forage - or lack of access to forage if your hay ends up on the floor - and you've combined two common causes of gastric ulcers. Very alarming - considering ulcers can occur in as little as 24 hours.
Thankfully, you can be proactive by providing forage (hay, pasture or soaked hay pellets) 1) prior to departing, 2) during transport and 3) once you arrive at your destination. Read on to learn why forage (not grain or sweet feed) is crucial for all three scenarios.
Important Exception - if you’ve been instructed to withhold feed due to a medical condition, by all means do so!
Gastric acid is produced continuously by horses, donkeys and mules, whether there is food in the stomach or not. Following are 12 facts about gastric acid - short and to the point. These have been compiled and condensed to provide a better understanding of the physiology, volume, benefits and conditions that occur from the production of gastric acid.
Sand colic is digestive upset resulting from the accumulation of ingested sand and dirt. It occurs when particles sink to the bottom of the intestines where abrasion irritates the intestinal lining and causes discomfort. Sand Colic is estimated to be responsible for approximately 30% of colic cases.
Read on to learn the most effective means for removal and the best way to prevent the accumulation of sand.
The most common causes of gastric (stomach) ulcers are lack of forage and stress. Gastric ulcers can develop in as little as 24 hours - and recur in 24 hours respectively. Given the short period of time for recurrence, administering medication (Omeprazole, Ranitidine or Cimetidine) without addressing the cause(s) can be counterproductive. If your horse does not have ulcers, this article may bring to light stress factors you may not be aware of.
What inspired me to write this article? Speaking to countless customers whose beloved companions have ulcers - yet who were unaware of how the horse’s current lifestyle and/or feeding schedules were adding to the stress factors that may have caused the ulcers.
Read on to learn about important lifestyle and feeding practices that can minimize the chance of occurrence and/or recurrence of ulcers. Causes are truly multi dimensional - encompassing both mental and physical factors.
Gastric ulcers are erosions of the stomach lining caused by gastric acid. It is estimated that 50 to 90 percent of domestic horses have ulcers. They can develop in as little as 24 hours and recur in 24 hours respectively. The pain is stressful, which can further exacerbate ulcers. The most common causes of gastric ulcers are lack of forage and stress. Thankfully, as owners, we have some control over both causes.
Read on to learn how and why gastric acid causes ulcers - and what you can do to help prevent ulcers from occurring.
Colic is responsible for more deaths in horses than any disease group except for old age. In the domestic population, horse mortality from all types of colic was 0.7 deaths per 100 horses per year [i]. Despite its common occurrence, the cause is rarely diagnosed.
Following are 7 easily implemented measures to decrease the risk of colic:
Provide your equine with forage prior to and during prolonged exercise. While trail riding, offer the opportunity to graze along the way.
Fiber creates a mat of sorts which prevents acid splashing in the stomach. The equine stomach produces acid 24 hours a day (16 gallons!) in preparation for constant uptake and can empty in as little as 15-20 minutes. Chewing activates saliva production (an alkaline substance rich in bicarbonate), which buffers gastric acid. An empty stomach allows unbuffered gastric acid to slosh and bathe its lining causing discomfort and may induce ulcers. (Learn more about how forage helps buffer gastric acid and prevent ulcers.)
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