When your horse suffers from a digestive problem, certain common signs will appear. Your horse may not eat well, lose weight, or develop a rough coat if it is affected by ulcers. These are not the only signs to look for; there are other digestive problems that need veterinary attention.
Every horse owner should be aware of the problems horses can suffer from.
Research shows that 60-90% of horses experience ulcers in their lifetime. Racehorses and pleasure horses are the most affected.
There are certain digestive supplements that can help your horse with digestive problems. But first, you need to understand what problems your horse needs digestive aids for. Here are seven common signs that show your dog needs digestive supplements.
Top Seven Signs Your Horse Need Digestive Supplement
Among other signs and symptoms, certain specific signs are directly related to ulcers. If your foal shows any of those signs, you should take him to your vet for examination. Other than that, below are the primary issues you can use digestive supplements on.
1. Sloppy Poo
The first sign that shows your horse is suffering from a digestive problem is his drooping.
Any change in the size and consistency of the dropping indicates that something is wrong with the digestive system.
Your horse’s poop may be too thin in case of diarrhea and too hard in case of constipation. If there are any other changes in the poop, such as if it contains blood, you should discuss it with your vet. These problems can be controlled by using prebiotics or probiotics in the diet.
2. Poor Body Condition
Poor body condition is another indication that your horse has a digestive problem. If a horse is losing weight or suffering from loss of appetite, it will result in poor body condition.
In poor body condition, your horse may lose muscle in the neck, topline, and hindquarters. The ribs also become prominent, and your horse shows a messy appearance.
Henneke BCSC evaluates the horse’s body condition score. If a horse has a body condition score of 4 or less, it means that he is underweight. Body condition decreases due to many reasons. If a horse is losing weight, but there is no change in the horse’s feeding routine, a visit to the vet is necessary. However, there are certain digestive enzymes for horses that can help control this problem.
3. Rugging Issues/Girthiness
Girthiness, rugging problems, along biting are signs that your horse is unhappy and irritated. Horses show these signs when they are in extreme discomfort. If a horse suffers from ulcers, the most common symptom that will appear is girthiness. This problem requires immediate veterinary attention. If this problem is not resolved, it can lead to other serious problems.
4. Dull Coat
If a horse has a dull coat in winter but receives a properly balanced diet, it means there is something wrong with the digestive system. Horses show this problem when nutrients are not adequately absorbed from the digestive system. At this stage, additional support like any supplement or probiotics for horses can help them regain their original appearance.
5. Behavioral Changes
Horses generally do not consider other problems but cannot cope with colic or other digestive issues. When they suffer from pain, there is always a change in behavior, which is the reason for concern.
A horse suffering from an ulcer will display aggressive behaviors towards other horses during feeding time.
A horse with an ulcer will run to the food bucket, threaten other horses, and kick the stable walls.
He will appear scared or nervous under the saddle and will misbehave around other herd mates. Any digestive supplement for horses at this stage can do wonders.
6. Excessive Salivation
There is interesting information about the salivary glands of horses. A horse typically produces almost 10 gallons or 40 liters of saliva every day. This is a significant amount and helps to moisten food and help it pass through the digestive tract. But if your horse produces more saliva than this, it is not normal and is a cause for concern.
Excessive salivation occurs due to many problems such as ulcers in the esophagus, mouth, and stomach. Excessive salivation also occurs in horses that suffer from severe ulcers. Gut horse supplements can help a lot in this issue.
7. Stretching as if to Urinate
You will often see horses stretch out and try to urinate even when it is not necessary.
This behavior is common in horses that suffer from ulcers, and they do it to relieve discomfort in the abdominal region.
Horses also stretch when experiencing gas colic to ease discomfort. But if your horse does this regularly, it could be a sign of an ulcer, and you should speak to your vet. You can provide your horse with digestion aids.
Digestive Supplements for Horses
Now you have seen the importance of digestive supplements. When you notice any of the signs mentioned above in your horse, you can use digestive supplements. It is always better to consult your vet. Here are some common supplements that are used in horses.
Probiotics, also known as direct-fed microbes, are live microbes such as yeast, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. These live bacteria enter the horse’s digestive tract and colonize there. They work to improve the general digestion and health of horses.
Prebiotics are ingredients like pulp, soy hull, and oat hull. They help to improve the function of the already beneficial living organism in the intestines of horses. They generally act as a food source for microbes in the digestive tract. However, they do not introduce new bacteria into the gut like probiotics. Prebiotics are effective in maintaining good digestive health.
For instance, Black Balance by Medrego prebiotics improves the work of the stomach, intestinal microbiome, and absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract. On top of that, they also remove heavy metals and free radicals from the body.
In fact, Black Balance by Medrego has shown improvement and even complete healing of squamous and glandular stomach ulcers after a 3 month trial period.
The role of digestive enzymes is to make nutrients available to horses. Some natural enzymes that are produced by the horse’s body are widely used. For example, amylase is secreted by the pancreas and helps to break down carbohydrates.
Psyllium Seed Husk
The husk of the psyllium seed is an excellent source of fiber. Its function is to increase the volume of the stool and initiate a bowel movement. It also softens the stool, increases the water in the stool, and facilitates its removal. It can be administered with a proper diet to treat high cholesterol.
All horse owners need to be aware of these signs of digestive problems. At some point, early diagnosis helps to cure the problem easily. Using digestive supplements like probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes helps prevent and fix these problems.