Gastric ulcers are one of the common problems in horses, especially race and performance horses. Horses suffering from gastric ulcers face extreme discomfort and pain and show decreased performance and changes in behavior. However, these symptoms are not specific, and owners are often confused and often blame other factors for the ailment and decreased performance.
The best method to diagnose ulcer problems in horses is through the endoscopy process. Endoscopy is a simple procedure in which an endoscope is inserted into the body to examine the inside of the body. This procedure is often done in equine hospitals.
In an investigation by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, half of the horse population is affected by gastric ulcers.
Intense exercise is considered one of the main causes of increased risk of ulcers. It reduces blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract and increases gastric acid production.
That is why horses that compete in races and other activities have a higher risk of ulcers than other horses. There are different natural medicines and others that are used to treat ulcers in horses. Aloe vera juice is one of the main products that horse owners often use to treat ulcers.
Here in this article, we will talk about the treatment of ulcers, and the use of Aloe Vera juice for ulcers in horses can be beneficial.
Treatment of Ulcer in Horses
Treating ulcers is not that difficult; It can be controlled and prevented by simple changes in housing and diet. A large amount of food at the same time will upset the digestive system and, as a result, will produce a large amount of acid. If the stomach remains empty after that for a long time, it will cause a lot of damage.
However, if good quality forage is available for 24 hours, it will reduce this problem. It is one of the best ways to reduce ulcers in horses.
Allowing the horses to roam freely in the pasture will decrease this problem. You should make sure that pasture arrangements are comfortable. As if the horses feel stressed during that time, the risk of ulcers will also increase.
There are different treatment plans and methods available on the market. They are all used to heal ulcers in horses. Most of the products used for the treatment of ulcers contain omeprazole. This ingredient is the same that is added in human medicine. If your horse suffers from an ulcer problem, aloe vera can be used as an effective option.
At the University of Adelaide, while searching for a treatment for equine gastric ulcers, the research team came up with an unusual solution: aloe vera.
Regular use of aloe vera will not only soothe burned skin but will also protect the stomach’s inner lining.
Aloe Vera Benefits
The aloe vera leaf gel present inside the aloe vera is very effective in the treatment. It is used to prevent gastric ulcers in horses and humans. The antiulcer properties of aloe vera have several other attributes and mechanisms. It has
- Mucus-stimulating effects;
- Cytoprotective effects;
- Anti-inflammatory properties;
- Antioxidant activity;
- Regulation of the gastric acid production capacity.
According to a study published by Equine Nutrition Nerd, “Aloe vera juice is an excellent source of digestible fibers.”
These digestible fibers help protect and calm the digestive tract. It also regulates bacteria. As a result, horses feel relief from ulcers.
Another benefit of these fibers is that they reduce bowel transit time and absorb toxins from the horse’s intestine. Aloe vera is also a good source of mucopolysaccharides that help heal the ulcer by promoting cell replication.
However, horses do not take aloe vera juice easily, as it has a very strong smell. But an experiment by Holistic Horse shows that if half a cup of aloe vera juice is sprinkled on food in the morning and evening, the horses will take it easy.
Aloe vera juice also improves horse appetite and supports a healthy attitude in horses. It also relieves their gastric pain. Horses show a calm and quiet demeanor and show improvement in training.
Nutrient Composition of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera contains different nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Its nutrient composition is
Aloe vera is a great source of vitamins A, C, and E that act as antioxidants. It is also rich in folic acid, vitamin B12, and choline.
Aloe vera contains minerals such as chromium, calcium, selenium, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and zinc. These minerals are essential to perform different functions, such as improving the functioning of metabolic pathways.
Aloe vera contains eight enzymes: amylase, bradykinesia, alkaline phosphate, carboxypeptidase, lipase, catalase, cellulose, and peroxidase.
Aloe vera contains 20-22 amino acids, of which 7-8 are essential. It also contains salicylic acids that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aloe Vera Juice or Omeprazole
To determine whether aloe vera is a good choice for horses or not, research is conducted on horses with EGUS. A total of 39 horses that had one or more types of ulcers were taken. These horses were offered omeprazole and aloe vera. Some findings found were:
- Ulcers are more common in the squamous portion of the horse’s stomach compared to the glandular portion.
- Of those 39 horses, 85% of the horses that get omeprazole have improved ulcers. And 56% of those offered aloe vera have improved stomach ulcers.
- Omeprazole shows higher cure rates compared to aloe vera.
The research continued for four weeks, and the inner gel of the aloe vera leaf was administered to the horses at a rate of 17.6 mg/kg twice daily. Omeprazole paste was administered at a 4 mg/kg rate once a day to horses suffering from EGUS.
Although the treatment results with aloe vera were inferior to those of omeprazole, still half of the horses have improved their health. According to Crandell, “the aloe vera treatment used in that research rapidly neutralizes gastric acid. It also protects the inner part of the stomach, and promotes a normal gastric environment.”
Ulcers are a common problem in horses, but aloe vera can provide natural relief from this problem. Apart from that, good quality forage can also help in treating ulcers. There are also other natural solutions that can help deal with ulcers in horses like prebiotics with high effectiveness. For instance, Black Balance by Medrego prebiotics has been developed to balance the intestinal microbiome as close to its natural state as possible. It is done by using only natural ingredients such as multi-beneficial fulvic and humic acids.
Black Balance by Medrego has shown improvement and even complete healing of squamous and glandular stomach ulcers after a 3 month trial period.