Ulcers in Shire Horses: Causes and Treatment

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Do you have a beloved Shire Horse? Are you concerned about their health and well-being? Ulcers can be an uncomfortable and dangerous condition for horses of all shapes, sizes, and breeds. 

If your Shire Horse is exhibiting some telltale signs that it may have ulcers, it’s important to take the necessary steps to help them recover quickly—from strapping on protective gear while riding to implementing specific dietary changes. 

In this blog post, we will explore what causes ulcers in shire horses as well as common treatment methods that can provide relief.

What is the main cause of ulcers in horses?

Ulcers in horses can be a tricky thing to spot, but once recognized, the cause is usually one culprit: too much stress. Horses are naturally adaptable creatures but too much focus or energy on negative activities like racing or long-term use of medications can lead to ulcers. 

Watch for behavioral changes and changes in regular eating patterns – these could be tell-tale signs that your horse needs help. Dietary changes may be recommended, as well as lifestyle alterations like reduced exercise and more access to pasture time. 

Thankfully, with the right care, most horses can quickly recover from an ulcerous episode and return to their past selves in no time.

What are the signs of ulcers in horses?

Horse ulcers can have a major impact on your horse’s health, so it’s important to recognize the signs. 

Horses suffering from an ulcer may have a poor appetite, bite their sides and flanks, grind their teeth, sweat excessively for no reason, show signs of discomfort when being saddled or ridden, be reluctant to move out in the canter, and may also have some changes in behavior. 

Weight loss, colic (abdominal pain), and founder are other potential signs of ulcers in horses. If you suspect your horse has an ulcer, it is best to take them to a vet immediately as they will be able to provide the best diagnosis and treatment plan.

What is the best treatment for horses with ulcers?

Treating a horse with ulcers is no easy feat, but luckily several remedies have been proven to be effective. One of the most widely used treatments is omeprazole, an acid-suppressing medication that helps reduce the amount of stomach acid that irritates the horse’s ulcerative lesions. 

Other medications such as sucralfate can also be used to coat and protect the lining of the stomach, while various dietary changes may also help. 

Overall, it is important to remember that each horse is unique and what works for one may not work for another, so consulting a vet or equine nutritionist to determine the best course of treatment is advised.

Can horses recover from ulcers without treatment?

It’s amazing what horses can endure! While they can recover from ulcers without any medical treatment involved, this is typically not the best plan of action. Ulcers are caused by an imbalance in the stomach acids or digestive system, which often requires a specific type of medicine or diet to heal. 

Without trying any type of treatment, the ulcer may not fully go away and the horse may still experience pain and discomfort in their stomachs.

 That said, if you do suspect your horse has an ulcer and don’t want to pursue medical treatments, it’s important to make sure they’re provided with a healthy diet free from rich grains and starches that could further irritate their delicate stomachs.

What is a natural treatment for ulcers in horses?

Natural treatments for ulcers in horses have become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional veterinary medications. Depending on the severity of the ulcer, some methods do not require veterinary consultation or direct medical intervention. 

Proven natural techniques include lifestyle changes such as providing a diet low in starch and sugar and supplementing with buffers that can help reduce stomach acidity. For those suffering from more severe cases of ulcers, probiotic supplementation can be beneficial, helping to create a healthy balance in the horse’s digestive tract and restoring normal digestion processes. 

These natural remedies are generally safer for the horse than heavy medication and provide a more holistic approach to addressing this contentious issue.

Can lack of water cause ulcers in horses?

Horses need access to clean and sufficient amounts of water to stay healthy. Without enough fluids, horses may develop ulcers as an emergent consequence, since dehydration results in a decrease in saliva production; when saliva acidity isn’t sufficiently high, the walls of the stomach may become irritated or inflamed. 

Additionally, lack of access to water can create stress for the animal which itself can cause stomach distress. 

It’s essential to remember that horses depend on humans for their daily needs and must be provided with the necessary resources – such as clean drinkable water – for them to flourish and remain strong physically and mentally.

What is the best feed to prevent ulcers in horses?

Deciding on the best feed for a horse to prevent ulcers can be tricky as there are several options with pros and cons. Generally speaking, it is recommended to feed horses at least an hour before exercising or four times per day, thereby reducing the amount of time spent on an empty stomach. 

Fiber-based feeds such as hay, pasture grass, and chaff are high in fiber but low in starch and sugar, allowing a slow release of energy over time while providing essential nutrition for gut flora. 

Additionally, providing probiotics can help maintain a healthy digestive system leading to better overall health and well-being. As always, consulting with your vet about the diet for your particular horse is advised.

What supplement helps prevent ulcers in horses?

Ulcers in horses can be an incredibly frustrating problem for both the animal and the owner. Fortunately, there is a supplement out there that can help to reduce the occurrence of ulcers; GastroEase by SmartPak. 

This supplement contains natural ingredients like marshmallow root extract, echinacea purpurea, licorice root, and slippery elm bark extract which have been shown to coat the stomach lining and reduce acid buildup–an important factor in preventing ulcers from developing in the first place. 

Horses with a history of or prone to developing gastric ulcers would benefit well from including this supplement in their routine care program.

How do you prevent horse ulcers naturally?

Taking preventative measures is the best way to avoid stomach ulcers in horses. One of the simplest ways is to make sure your horse has enough forage available throughout the day, such as pasture or hay. 

This will help stimulate natural saliva production which helps protect against ulcers. Also, be sure to check regularly for signs of dental issues as sharp edges can cause discomfort that can lead to ulcers. 

Ask your vet if they recommend equine supplements as they may help soothe the horse’s digestive tract and reduce inflammation naturally. Finally, limit stress by providing exercise, having a consistent routine, and only working with a professional who understands how to handle horses correctly. 

Taking these steps can help you succeed in preventing any gastric problems in your beloved horse!

What oil is best for horses with ulcers?

Finding the right oil for a horse with ulcers can be tricky, but it’s important to make sure your equine friend is getting the nutrition they need. After researching some of the best oils for ulcers, Vetpro Omega Oil and Equine Ulcergard seem to come up again and again as great options. 

Both are believed to help protect against acid damage in the stomach and when added to a horse’s feed provide an energy-dense diet that contains essential fatty acids and vitamins. 

As always, consulting your veterinarian should be your first step if you’re unsure what oil to give your particular horse, and depending on the severity of their ulceration they may suggest more specialized treatments.


In conclusion, ulcers are a concerning affliction that many shire horses have to deal with. As they are rather large and majestic creatures, it’s essential to recognize the signs of an ulcer before it turns into something more serious. 

While the treatment processes can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming, they are essential if an owner wants their equine friend to stay healthy and happy. 

Furthermore, owners should be aware of the potential causes to avoid it in the first place – this could range from stress caused by confinement or genetics predisposing them to develop ulcers. 

Owning a shire horse is a big responsibility but with proper care and maintenance, its distinctive nature will shine through for years to come!

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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