Grand Meadows Cares Series: Have You Walked the Course Before Jumping on The Equine Gastric Ulcer Bandwagon?

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

Cashing in on your horse’s health with a clear round of gastric ulcer treatment protocols is a great idea given that your horse is actually proven to have ulcers and if the conclusive diagnosis has correctly identified the type and location.

Considerations include whether the ulcers are glandular or non-glandular? Are they in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum? Or are the inflammatory upsets a mix of types and in multiple locations? What grade are the ulcers?

When our horses misbehave it seems a quick fix to address Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome {EGUS} as the culprit. But unless you have X-ray vision the only way to positively identify ulcer issues in the horse is by endoscopic exam.

Once a positive diagnosis has been made, and an appropriate round of treatment administered, hopefully your horse is back on track to optimal health. But before you head out onto the course have a follow-up scope completed to ensure the ulcer issue is resolving appropriately.

When the horse later shows the slightest sign of a return of the disease, should you be quick to go head to hoof with it and administer more treatment? How many endoscopic exams do you need to utilize to ensure that your horse is not experiencing a recurring nightmare of the same problem?

All the above are questions for a licensed veterinary professional.

Every case of EGUS is different and every horse will respond differently to the modality of treatment issued. Don’t forget that as horse owners the outcome of any medical intervention will depend on how diligent and successful we are in actually keeping to the timeline and routine of administration of the treatment. And also importantly, that the horse actually ingests the prescribed quantity of the product every time.

Horses can suffer long term negative effects from the damage that erosion and ulcerations cause in their intestinal tract, for example, fibrosis and strictures may develop. Foals are particularly at risk for developing EGUS especially in cases where their gastric mucosa may not be fully developed at birth. The long-term effects of repeat inflammatory gastric conditions are obviously something we all want to block horses in our care and control experiencing.

As with most medical issues, prevention is the key to avoiding this cycle of stress and dietary induced upset.

In today’s world of horse care, forage availability and expense is one reason that horse owners opt for the convenience of cubed rations and high concentrate diets. Add in the lack of stress-reducing freedom of movement and migratory options for grazing choice and the equine will likely be exposed to a higher risk of developing EGUS.

Also consider the formulations that are applied to the hay supply such as dry-down agents, chemical preservatives etc. to lessen the required curing time for the hay crop. The use of these additives is widespread, and these agents may cause interference to the horse’s ability to properly digest forage without unwanted side-effects. If indeed the actual causative ingredient in forage rations of these nefarious effects (sometimes displayed as upper respiratory inflammations, hives and other systemic issues), are even independently researched or verified as safe for use in horses.

Buffering the horse’s gastro-intestinal tract with appropriate and regular forage rations that may include organically grown alfalfa (extremely hard to find organic alfalfa as alfalfa requires additional drying time and curing shortcuts are common farming practice even includes planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds) as a dietary buffer and moderating the amount of grain a horse ingests can help mitigate sugar fermentation occurring in the horse’s gut. This fermentation process is part of the process of breaking down the short chain fatty acids in the diet and it can cause cellular damage and ulceration if the pH of the equine’s gastric system is too low.

The right supplement in the horse’s diet can help address the imbalance in the gastric pH and help reduce the likelihood of ulcers occurring or recurring. Newer products on the market such as Grand Meadows Postbiotic are making strides in the right direction to altering the course and progression of EGUS through considered research and clearly defined high quality ingredients in its formulation.

But as horse owners and trainers, the decisions we make as to the horse’s lifestyle are equally important as the food, medications/drugs we allow our horses to ingest if we want to banish the EGUS issue from our herds.

As a horse breeder for decades, I realize the importance of prompt veterinary attention being given to any foal that shows the slightest signs of gastric issues. We want to set every horse that hits the ground up with the best chance for long term success in life and provide them with the best opportunity to attain their potential.

As a horse buyer, I’ve learned the hard way that the pre-purchase exam should always include an endoscopic exam.

As a horse trainer and clinician, I also embrace as reality that horses’ behavior and willingness to follow instructions and aids they understand is directly correlated to their overall health both mental and physical.

As an organic hay producer for over 25 years, I also appreciate the higher risk of financial losses that farmers face when due to crop loss when they choose to cure hay the old-fashioned way, using Mother Nature. This requires longer field time for the cut crop and more machine time and expense than utilizing additives. Additionally organic farmers choose to accept lower crop yields as a result of the avoidance of certain chemical fertilizers.

Small but significant changes in how we manage and treat our horses can make all the difference in both their lives and our own. Jumping on the equine gastric ulcer bandwagon is not the right route unless you have properly walked the course and identified how the health obstacles should be tackled. Addressing the underlying cause for the disease and making changes in the horse’s diet and lifestyle are a must do if you don’t want these ‘fences’ to overwhelm the horse’s health and well-being.

PLEASE NOTE: AHP members ~ Please share this content. Kindly include Grand Meadows URL and author’s URL wherever published. Please advise use so we can share your platform too. Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.

 About Grand Meadows: Founded in 1989 by visionary Angela Slater, Grand Meadows is a leading horse health product and equine supplement manufacturer driven by the guiding principle of providing affordable, extremely high-quality science-backed horse products to help ensure horses look and feel their best.

For the past 35 years the company’s mission has been honored and developed further, by President Nick Hartog, who among other accomplishments is one of the founding members and current board member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), an organization that has a profound impact on the safety, transparency, and legitimacy of the animal supplement industry.

Grand Meadow products are widely used and trusted across the entire horse community from Olympic medal winning competitors and successful horse racing trainers to backyard horse owners. Their equine supplements are highly regarded for their excellent quality resourced ingredients and completely accurate labelling and effective formulations. Learn more at

Grand Meadows, Orange, CA
Media Contact:
Tel: 607 434 4470

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
Content Creator | PR Partner | Seasoned Writer | Brand Builder |
Major Marketer| Journalist|
Blogger| Ghostwriter|
PR Marketing Specialist/Strategist|
British American|
Grand Prix Dressage
Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|

Please visit and to learn more about her affordable services.

Photos are available on request.