Symptoms can be weight loss, poor appetite,behavioral changes, dislike of being girthed, reluctance to exercise, poor coat condition, loose faeces, kicking out when eating. Certain behavioural issues (altered temperament) may uccur
Diagnosis can be difficult.
Todays horses & ponies may live very different lifestyles to their ancestors, who would have been slowly grazing for up to 20 hours per day, spending less time grazing and more time stabled. This can be for a variety of reasons, lack of grazing, box rest or traveling for example. The equine’s digestive system has evolved for continuous grazing, the fibre within the stomach is broken down by an acidic gastric juice, this acidic juice is still being produced even when the stomach is empty, when it cannot be neutralised by stomach content the stomach lining is vunerable to ulceration.
Causes can include, diets where access to food is restricted, over use of anti-inflammatory drugs, stress, lack of fibre, intense excercise.
Treatment will usally mean, after oral medication and a management change. feeding a high fibre feed little and often, reducing stress, adding non-sugar chaff to feed to slow down eating and increase chewing time, adding probiotics to the feed may help.