Stomach ulcers occur frequently in horses, and they can have negative effects. No one ever wants to see their beloved horse in pain, so there are ways we as horse owners can keep an eye on things before conditions get worse. Here are 7 symptoms of ulcers in horses that you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Poor Appetite
Horses with ulcers often exhibit a poor appetite. You may notice a significant change in your horse’s appetite, particularly when it comes to eating hay. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice an appetite change in your horse.
Stomach ulcers may make a horse “girthy” when you saddle him. The act of tightening a girth can be uncomfortable or painful for a horse with ulcers. If you have a new horse who does not tolerate saddling, then ulcers may be to blame. You should also be on the watch for your current horse becoming more sensitive to the saddle – this could be a symptom of ulcers in horses or the result of a poor saddle fit.
3. Frequent Colic
Ulcers can cause frequent colic episodes in horses. If your horse experiences frequent episodes of colic, then it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue that is causing the condition. Your vet may recommend scoping your horse for ulcers as a first diagnostic step.
4. Poor Attitude
Ulcers create pain and often leave horses uncomfortable. This may reflect in a bad attitude in your horse. Sometimes horses with ulcers develop bad attitudes toward work that they normally enjoyed. A horse who is grouchy in the stable and doesn’t like to be touched may be suffering from ulcers.
Interested in learning more about how you can help your horse stay healthy and happy? Check out our article Cushing’s Disease In Horses: Important Warning Signs And How To Treat It.
5. Hay Dunking
Sometimes horses who suffer from ulcers get in the habit of dunking each mouthful of hay in their water buckets. Hay dunking doesn’t always indicate ulcers – some horses just do this out of habit or preference – but when combined with other symptoms, hay dunking may point toward your horse having ulcers.
6. Weight Loss
In some cases, weight loss can be one of the symptoms of ulcers in horses. A horse suffering from horses may lose weight and it may be very difficult to put weight back on the horse. When significant weight loss occurs in a horse, ulcers are a possible cause of the problem.
7. Poor Performance
Ulcers often result in poor equine performance. A horse suffering from ulcers rarely performs to the best of his ability. You may notice an unwilling attitude or a lackluster approach in your horse under saddle. His energy level may be reduced, and behaviors like bucking under saddle or sucking back can also indicate that your horse is suffering from an ulcer.
Are there any other symptoms of ulcers in horses that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!