Gastric ulcers are common and thought to affect approximately 90% of racehorses, 60% of competition horses and up to 50% of leisure horses. Long term nutritional management plays a key role in helping to reduce the risk, frequency and severity of gastric ulcers. In fact, recent research carried out in collaboration with SPILLERS is the first to show that changes in the diet can help to manage gastric ulcers post omeprazole treatment.
Why feed SPILLERS Alfalfa-Pro Fibre?
- SPILLERS Alfalfa-Pro Fibre is a soft, short chopped fibre ideal for feeding alongside compound feed and balancers.
- Alfalfa is an excellent source of fibre and low in starch and sugar so supports digestive health and reduces the risk of excitability.
- Alfalfa is naturally high in protein and bioavailable calcium which is thought to help buffer stomach acid.
- Feeding short chopped fibre helps to extends eating time which in turn encourages saliva production and increases the horse’s ability to buffer damaging stomach acid.
- The high oil content (10%) in SPILLERS Alfalfa-Pro fibre enhances coat shine and provides slow release energy (calories) for optimum condition. Oil is approximately 2.5 times higher in energy compared to cereals and starch free, making it a sympathetic source of energy for horses and ponies requiring a low starch diet.
- Unlike many other high oil alfalfa products, SPILLERS Alfalfa-Pro Fibre contains added vitamin E to balance the high oil content.
- SPILLERS Alfalfa-Pro holds the BETA EGUS approval mark. In order to be awarded the mark feeds must pass an independent, three stage approval process which includes laboratory analysis.
Advice for horse owners on how to reduce the risk of gastric ulcers:
- Ideally forage should be fed ad lib – horses only produce saliva when they chew! If your horse is prone to weight gain, feed a minimum of 1.5% of bodyweight (dry matter) per day. On average this equates to approximately 9kg of hay (11kg if you intend to soak it) or 10-12kg of haylage for a 500kg horse.
- Avoid prolonged periods without forage.
- Avoid straw being the sole or predominant forage source.
- Balancers are ideal for horses and ponies that maintain weight easily on forage alone. If extra energy (calories) is needed look for fibre based feeds that contain low/ restricted levels of starch and sugar and added oil rather than whole cereal grains.
- Aim to feed <1g/kg bodyweight of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC: starch plus water soluble carbohydrate) per meal and preferably <2g NSC/kg bodyweight per day.
- Try to spread meals across the day- multiple small meals are better than one or two large ones. Feed no more than 2kg meal for horses, less for ponies.
- Add short chopped fibre, ideally containing alfalfa to every meal to help increase chewing.
- Feed a small meal of short chopped fibre or access to forage before exercise to reduce gastric acid splashing up onto the sensitive upper non-glandular (upper) part of the stomach.
- Turn out to pasture as much as possible.
- Provide access to water at all times.
- Avoid using electrolyte pastes.
- Provide forage while travelling.
For more advice, reach out to our friendly team of nutritionists via;
01908 226626 or helpline.horsecareUK@effem.com