Equine Ulcer Prevention


Causes of Gastric Ulcers in Horses

There are many factors that can increase the risk of ulcers in horses, including:

  • Not eating frequently enough – Horses have evolved to graze on grasses, eating many small meals frequently. This way, the stomach is rarely empty and the stomach acid has less of a damaging effect.   Feeding horses twice a day leaves the stomach empty for hours, allowing acid to build up where ulcers are more likely to develop.
  • Not eating enough forage (hay): Forage (hay), because it requires more chewing, stimulates the production of more saliva. The swallowed saliva helps to neutralize stomach acid. A good feeding program should be based on high quality, balanced forages with no grain.
  • Medications – Chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can contribute to the development of ulcers.
               

Preventing Gastric Ulcers

Equine nutritionists from respected university programs around the country agree that the Square Meal feeding program is a proven approach for prevention of gastric ulcers. It’s estimated that as much as 75% of horses may develop moderate to severe ulcers. If your horse has an ulcer, you should discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. Once healed, you should make changes to your horse’s nutrition and diet to prevent recurrence. That’s where Square Meal Feeds can help!  Fortunately, there are many studies that have been done on equine ulcers, and they all agree on one thing:  Horses prone to ulcers should be fed a forage based diet as near to 24/7 as possible.  Square Meal Feeds products are an all forage balanced diet that can be fed free – choice.

Ulcer Remedy: Square Meal Feeds

“In my opinion, the only way to feed a horse that has had, or is prone to, ulcers is to feed them forage only as close to 24/7 as possible. Forage – based diets, especially those that include alfalfa, fed 24/7 will deter gastric distress by consistently neutralizing stomach acid. Research has also found that adding up to 20% oats to a forage biscuit does not increase the incidence of gastric ulcers when provided as the sole feed source for yearling horses. Further research is needed to see what higher grain inclusion rates may increase the incidence of gastric ulcers, but a biscuit made of 80% forage and 20% oats has been found not to cause gastric ulceration in horses.”
-Dr. Kevin Halder Kline
Equine Research at Illinois UniversityFor complete information on Dr. Kline’s research and Square Meal Feed study please contact him directly at kkline@illinois.edu.

The most important part of a horse’s diet is hay, but often good-quality hay isn’t available. With Square Meal Feeds, your horses get high-quality forage regardless of local hay conditions. The long fiber length of the forage in the Square Meal biscuit makes it more appealing to the horse than pellets. It’s a complete diet that improves digestion—with adequate levels of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins when combined with plenty of fresh water and free choice loose salt.

We understand you may get conflicting information from feed companies, feed bags, magazines and even veterinarians. Some myths and truths:

Horses need lots of grain: They don’t. The digestive system of the horse is the perfect engine for processing forage, but overfeeding with grain causes digestive problems that are manifested in ways that hurt horse health and contentment.

Grain is critical as a protein supplement: There’s plenty of protein in a diet rich with high-quality roughage. A good feeding program should be based on forages with little supplement.

My feed salesman said horses need grain to stay healthy: They’re selling grain, not horse health. Too much grain is destructive to your horse’s digestive system.

Square Meal Feed offers less waste, less labor and promotes healthier, happier horses.

Key benefits to Square Meal Feeds:

 

  • Consistency: The biscuit is easier for your horse to break apart, chew and digest than hay cubes or powdered, reconstituted pellets on the market. Horses like the texture.
  • Less waste: Every bit is consumed. Nothing ends up in the stall bedding.
  • Easy to transport, store and feed: Square Meal is packaged in easy-to-handle bags, making it fresh and convenient to store and dispense than most forage and grain options.
  • Reduces manure: Who would complain about this?
  • Free choice feeding: Square Meal should be fed on a free choice basis so your horse can feed at will for 15 to 20 hours per day.

Backed by years of clinical research at equine universities: Square Meal is a more economical choice compared to other feeding programs considering the cost of hay, sweet feeds and supplements. You’ll enjoy the priceless value of a healthier horse, with a better temperament and fewer trips to the vet.