Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Saracen Horse Feeds work closely with other experts in nutrition, research and veterinary science so that they can continue to strive to provide their clients not just with research-proven products but to also provide nutritional management support for horses with EGUS.

Watch this exclusive seminar with senior nutritionist  - Lizzie Drury, joined by industry experts: Dr. Huntington, Jack Ashby, Eamon Smyth and Katie Powell from Nodwood House Equine to discuss the latest developments.


Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is a general term that is used to describe ulcers in the stomach, however as our understanding of EGUS has evolved the syndrome can now be split into two separate diseases.
EQUINE SQUAMOUS GASTRIC DISEASE (ESGD)
Over 80-90% of horses in high intensity exersice have ESGD (ie racehorses and endurance horses)
EQUINE GLANDULAR GASTRIC DISEASE (EGGD)
Over 50% of a wide range of horses have EGGD (ie leisure horses of all ages and breeds) 

RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH EGUS
•    Forage being fed at a rate of less than 1.5% of the horse’s bodyweight
•    Horses being without forage for 6+ hours, especially during 7am to 11pm.
•    1g starch per kg of bodyweight per meal and 2g per kg of bodyweight per day. Stomach empty of forage during exercise.
•    Water deprivation
•    Administration of NSAIDS
•    Reflux of bile acids

Did you know?
A horse produce about 400 to 800g of saliva / 100g or dry matter when fed pasture and hay, opposed to when a concentrate feed is fed, the horse will only  produce half as much saliva, which in turn significantly reduce the buffering capacity.

CLINICAL SIGNS
The clinical signs of EGUS can differ from one horse to another and the horse's temperament can also play a role BUT some typical signs to look out for include:
•    Poor appetite or change in eating behaviour.
•    Weight loss or failure to thrive.
•    Irritability and general changes in temperament.
•    Reduced performance.
•    Abdominal discomfort to girthing or grooming.
•    Recurrent mild colic.

NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE THE RISK OF EGUS

• Horses should ideally have access to forage at all times. We know this might not be possible if your horse is a good-doer but ensure that you don't feed less than 1.5% of the horse’s body weight.  Forage fed can be made to last longer, here is a few suggestions;

• Putting hay in a small holed haynet
• Encourage browsing by placing haynets around the horse's roaming field or its stables 
• Avoid giving hay allowance only in the mornings or evening but rather spread it throughout the day 
• Note that 80% of the horse’s daily forage allowance should be fed between 7am and 11pm.

Restrict cereal and starch intake:
• Starch = 1g/kg of bodyweight for each meal and 2g/kg of bodyweight per day.(When selecting a feed be on the lookout for feeds that has the BETA EGUS Approval Mark as it will ensure you stay below this starch threshold if feed at the recommended intake) 

Should extra calories (energy) be needed look at adding a high oil supplement to the diet so it will increase calories but still minimising starch intake.
Alfalfa chaff is also recommended - Alfalfa which is high in calcium has a buffering effect on the horse's stomach. Saracen Horse feeds recommend 100 to 200g /100Kg in bodyweight is suitable (example a 0.5 – 1kg will be used for a 500kg horse)
Corn oil can be added to supplement the diet  (50 to 100ml, 1 to 2 times a day) It helps to support the mucosal layer in the glandular region of the horse's stomach.
Feed a Stubbs scoop of chaff within 30 mins of exercise. It helps to ‘trap’ acid and limit ESGD. It also improves gastric blood supply.
• Always provide constant access to water.
• Aim to reduce stress levels.
• Use an antacid gastric supplement to help maintain a normal stomach environment. Refer to the gut supplement range from Protexin Equine Premium:

 


Saracen Horse Feeds Products to consider when feeding a Horse with EGUS

releve mix  super fibre mix
 recovery mash

Source: Saracen Horse Feeds. (n.d.). feed advice. Saracen Horse Feeds. https://www.saracenhorsefeeds.com/sports/understanding-ulcers

Vimeo. 2022. Understanding Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome. [online] Available at: <https://vimeo.com/648601787> [Accessed 16 March 2022].