Gastrointestinal (Gut) Health

Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

There’s much interest in ulcers in horses and for very good reason. Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) affects 60-90% of adult horses and 25-50% of foals and weanlings. The condition collectively refers to sores or erosions that develop in portions of the horse’s sensitive stomach lining. EGUS is largely a man-made disease: common feeding practices,  …

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Foals & Colostrum

With foaling season now upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the importance of good quality colostrum. Colostrum provides antibodies (immunoglobulins), which are concentrated in a mare’s milk during the 10-14 days prior to foaling. These immunoglobulins are essential in helping to provide immunity against common diseases in a …

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Why do horses wind suck and crib bite?

Wind sucking or crib biting in horses is most likely to first occur in association with boredom and lack of forage/grazing. Most people are well aware that a diet high in long-stem fibre plays an essential role from a physiological and digestive standpoint in the horse. However, what is often overlooked is the crucial role constantly …

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Ulcer Medications: What Nobody Tells You and What You Need To Know

The most commonly used equine ulcer medications on the market generally come under names containing Gastro/Ulcer/Guard and contain the active ingredient omeprazole, which belongs to the class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)[i] [ii]. These drugs work by reducing (normal, healthy) gastric acid production by blocking the enzymes located in the parietal cells …

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Laminitis How Naturopathy Can Help-Optim-Equine

Laminitis: How Naturopathy Can Help

What is laminitis? Laminitis is a painful, often devastating inflammatory condition affecting the lamellar tissue of the foot.  Each hoof contains 550-600 primary laminae, and each of those consists of 150-200 secondary laminae. The laminae connect the hoof wall to the coffin bone and function to provide shock absorption during locomotion, holding the coffin bone …

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Fibre, Chewing and Gastrointestinal Health

Forages and fibre rich foods which require much chewing, comprise the base starting point for a diet which promotes health in the horse. Chewing results in the production of saliva. Forages and fibrous feeds require more chewing than grains and processed feeds. On a dry matter basis, twice as much saliva is produced when horses …

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Ulcer Medications: The Potential Impact on Stallion Fertility

With stud season rapidly approaching in the Southern Hemisphere, it is important to evaluate factors that influence stallion fertility. Many people are unaware of the potential effects routinely used medications may have on semen and stallion fertility. One such class of drugs is histamine‐2 receptor antagonists, which includes ranitidine. Ranitidine is one of the two …

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Devil’s Claw and Ulcers

Many people are familiar with the terrific anti-inflammatory herb Devil’s Claw. This herb is predominantly used in cases of osteoarthritis and to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Research has demonstrated that root extract of the herb inhibits inflammatory cytokine production through multiple pathways. One major concern for horse …

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Nutrient Requirements for Horses: Fortified Feeds and the need for Supplementation-Optim-Equine

Nutrient Requirements for Horses: Fortified Feeds and the need for Supplementation

The vast majority of racehorses, performance horses and breeding stock are fed fortified feeds or balancer rations, which are designed to meet the daily nutrient requirements of horses. These nutrient requirements were established by the National Research Council (NRC) and last updated in 2007. The NRC provides the known nutrient requirements for horses by weight, …

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Lignophagia: Why Do Some Horses Chew Wood?

Lignophagia (or chewing wood) is an all-too common behaviour observed in horses. Whilst it can be both practical and tempting to lather stable boards and fence posts with products to discourage this, it is wise to also consider and address the possible reason(s) for this undesirable chewing in the first place… From a dietary perspective, …

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Foal Heat Scours and Diarrhoea

‘Foaling Heat Scours’ is one of the most common types of scours to affect foals. Yet the name is a bit of a misnomer, and often leads to confusion as to the actual cause of this form of diarrhoea. This yellowish, greenish, watery scour generally occurs in foals around 7-14 days of age, hence often …

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Vitamin K: The role of Gut Health and the Effect on Bone Health and Insulin Resistance

Vitamin K is a most important nutrient, which is derived from bacterial synthesis in the horse’s large intestine. For optimal levels of vitamin K to be produced, the horse must have sufficient fibre/roughage in the diet and a healthy microbial population and composition in their GIT. Keep in mind that many of the most frequently …

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What Supplements are best for building Topline?

Topline describes the muscle coverage over the top of the horse’s neck, back and hindquarters. The strength of topline muscles can influence soundness and athletic ability of the horse.Now let’s briefly think of human athletes looking to increase muscle mass, strength and definition. To do this effectively they must work and utilise the correct muscle …

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NSAIDs and Ulcer Medications Together? Think Again

Most horse people are aware that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs (phenylbutazone, flunixin, firocoxib, etc) compromise gastrointestinal (GI) health in the horse. This comes about through inhibiting several natural defence mechanisms of the GI tract, which help to protect and maintain the integrity of the lining of the GI tract. Whilst many think …

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