Part 2: Natural Ulcer Relief for Horses
In the article Natural Ulcer Relief for Horses, I discussed a number herbal supplements that can soothe and heal intestinal ulcers in horses. In this article I’m covering non-herbal supplements that also work holistically for healing. These are Stomach Soother, SUCCEED, and Green Clay.
This commercial product is designed for the treatment of stomach ulcers and digestive distress in horses. It is made from natural papaya, a tropical fruit, which is native to Central America and Mexico. Papaya’s active ingredient is papain, which resembles the digestive enzyme pepsin. Papain stimulates the appetite, soothes membranes of the esophagus and stomach, and quiets inflammatory bowel disorders.
Papaya also contains nutritional compounds such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamin. Two ounces twice a day is a great ulcer preventative. This product is fine for long-term use but it must be refrigerated once the bottle is opened. The company is working on a daily dosing system to overcome this challenge for those who do not have refrigerators near the barn.
I have been using Stomach Soother with a variety of horses for ulcers and other forms of digestive upset, and I am very pleased with the results. It is an inexpensive yet effective treatment, and most horses seem to enjoy the taste of it! Order Stomach Soother and other digestive and ulcer-relief products online here.
This natural product contains oat oil, which is rich in polar lipids, and oat flour, which is high in beta-glucan soluble fiber, yeast extract, and the amino acids L-Threonine and L-Glutamine. Polar lipids are water-soluble fats that help transport nutrients into the bloodstream and support a healthy gut lining. Soluble oat fiber evens out the rate of digestion to improve digestion. Yeast extract supports normal levels of digestive microbes in the large intestine. The amino acids L-Glutamine and L-Threonine support a healthy mucous lining throughout the digestive tract.
SUCCEED comes in a paste form for daily dosing of horses that are off feed, and a granule form that can be added to the feed once or twice a day. I find this product to be most helpful for horses with ulcers in the large intestine. Many people find a combination of SUCCEED and Stomach Soother works best. Order SUCCEED online here.
Most horse owners are aware of the benefits of clay poultices for reducing soreness and inflammation in the lower extremities of horses. Clay poultices have the ability to draw toxins out of the tissues so they are routinely applied to the legs of performance horses to prevent swelling after hard workouts. Bentonite or French green clay can also be used internally as a periodic cleanse of the digestive tract. The clay is feed at the rate of one tablespoon twice a day for a period of 2 to 3 weeks. As the clay moves through the digestive system it mechanically absorbs material from the lining of the GI tract, possibly even trapping pathogenic bacteria and parasites so that they are passed in the manure, leaving a healthier overall intestinal environment. I find the clay most helpful for horses that have had a significant parasite load and have been recently dewormed. It also appears to help the horses that have developed ulcers due to pain from an injury or following short-lived emotional stress, such as trailering to new barn or weaning. Water should be added to the feed along with the clay to prevent impactions. Because the clay can also absorb nutrients such as vitamins and minerals it should not be fed long term. Clay may also have a short term buffering effect on stomach acid but its beneficial effects on the health of the digestive lining make it a safe product to use periodically. Order Green Clay and other ulcer-relief products online here.
The best prevention combines good management of free choice hay or pasture with frequent small grain feedings if needed. Nutritional support in the form of probiotics, enzymes, and blue-green algae support health and healing in the digestive tract. Natural supplements high in anti-oxidants such as noni or mangosteen juice, minimizes soreness in performance horses and decreases stress. Even with good management and nutritional support many performance horses will experience ulcers. Acid blockers and buffers may give symptom relief but do not support long-term digestive health. The right natural product or combination of products can give your horse relief and support his health long term.
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About the Author
Madalyn Ward, DVM, owns Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic in Austin, Texas. She is certified in Veterinary Homeopathy and Equine Osteopathy.
Memberships include American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association and the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.
She has authored several books and publishes at her blog.