omeprazole for horses

Omeprazole For Horses


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Last updated on March 22nd, 2023 at 03:08 am

Omeprazole for Horses

Omeprazole is an effective treatment for horse ulcers, or equine gastric ulcers known as equine gastric ulcer syndrome. Omeprazole is available over the counter, but it is always recommended that you work in conjunction with your vet in ulcer diagnosis and treatment.

Omeprazole works because it is a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) which limits the amount of stomach acid (gastric acid) that is produced. The reason this is affective for equine gastric ulcer syndrome is because the acid is what causes or inflames the ulcer in the stomach.

Our Recommendations for Omeprazole

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Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (Horse Ulcers)

So, you think your horse has a stomach ulcer?

It’s an awful thing, we know. It happens to more horses than you might think. Over fifty percent of horses experience ulcers, in fact. Almost every horse owner has experienced gastric ulcers before. We have all been there. The important thing is that you caught it and are going to fix it.

The faster you identify and begin treatment of your horse’s equine ulcers, the quicker they can start the healing process. Believe me when I say – this is not something you want your horse to suffer through any longer than necessary. Fast response time means reduced pain and lessened damage to the horse’s stomach.

What is EGUS (Gastric ulcers)

We have a full article that lays out the whole issue with ulcers in the horses – you can read it HEREstomach

The TLDR is that the stomach lining slowly gets eaten and reduced by acid in the stomach. This usually happens as a horse is in a fasted state, meaning in between meals. Horses are grazers and will eat continuously throughout the day in the wild. The issue becomes feeding schedules and boarding routines with exercise, training and competition.

Performance horses sometimes have a higher chance of getting an ulcer because of their competition schedule, boarding situation and feeding schedule. Your horses health is paramount, but even more consideration needs to be taken when dealing with a performance horse. An empty stomach is one of the main contributors to gastric ulcers in high level horses, and keeping your horse from having an empty stomach is critical and will keep you from needing veterinary medicine.

What are the Symptoms of Gastric Ulcers in Horses?

If you’re not one hundred percent sure whether your horse has equine gastric ulcer syndrome, you are not alone. One of the problems with gastric stomach ulcers in horses is that the animals do not always show signs of affliction, and owners are often left clueless while the horse suffers in silence. It is not as though your horse can raise its hand and ask for help.

This is why as a horse owner it is so important to keep your eyes peeled for any of the symptoms. These include but are not limited to, changes in eating and drinking, unexpected weight loss, lethargy, a dull coat, and negative changes in attitude. Keep in mind that foals, if stricken by ulcers, may lay on their backs or grind their teeth excessively. If you witness one or more of these symptoms, it is important to seek the advice of your veterinary doctor.

Only a qualified person can properly diagnose gastric ulcers.

What Does Omeprazole do For Horses?

To keep your own sanity and peace of mind, treat your horse with Omeprazole. It will give you the best chance of coming out on the other side of dealing with gastric ulcers and having a healthy and happy horse.

If you have talked to your veterinary doctor and know for sure – yes, your horse has ulcers, it is time to start treatment. The best-recommended treatment is Omeprazole. Because a gastric ulcer is a wound on the upper lining of a horse’s stomach – and a horse’s body produces acid all day – it is absolutely crucial to suppress the corrosive hydrochloric acid that bubbles out of the proton pumps at the very bottom of the stomach and splashes against the already compromised mucosal lining.

horses can take omeprazole for equine gastic ulcer syndrome treatment

Think of it as a leaky faucet spraying acid onto the unprotected membrane where the ulcers have already formed, known as gastric acid secretion. In other words, salt in the wound. Omeprazole works by inhibiting the acid pump (suppressing the evil acid faucet), thereby blocking acid excretion (the salt), and allowing the ulcerated mucosal lining (the wound) to heal.

It doesn’t matter what caused the ulcer– stress, rampant acid, bacteria – Omeprazole will stifle the splashing acid so that your horse can heal effectively, getting them back to normal life in no time at all.

How Much Omeprazole Should I Give My Horse?

Omeprazole comes as an oral paste, inside a 10ml plastic tube that contains 2.3 grams of Omeprazole. The proper dosage for a horse suffering from ulcers is a full tube administered orally every day for thirty days, then a half a tube daily after that. It is important to double-check if Omeprazole can be taken with any other supplements or medications your horse might be taking. Before administering the Omeprazole paste, ensure your horse’s mouth doesn’t have any feed in it. During the administration, make sure your horse takes the entire dose. Afterwards, keep watch to be sure none of the doses is lost. If any is, re-dose to guarantee the horse takes the fully intended dosage. It is important to keep dosages constant throughout the entire treatment.

As with any medication, always consult your veterinary specialist about the exact dose to give your horse. Certain cases may require less or more Omeprazole, depending on the severity of the ulcers. Omeprazole may also be used in low dosages as an ulcer suppressant.

Omeprazole Side-Effects

Your horse’s health is paramount, and when using Omeprazole for a prolonged period of time, there is always the possibility of your horse experiencing an adverse reaction. An abrupt stoppage of Omeprazole may result in a rebounding acid effect. At higher dosages, this can make your horse even more vulnerable to ulcers. Omeprazole can also cause malnutrition. Because stomach acids are key in digesting protein and absorbing minerals, using an inhibitor can disrupt this natural process.

It is also good to understand that Omeprazole does not guard against colon ulcers. As a side note, it is common for a horse to lose a significant amount of weight when suffering from ulcers. This is normal and should not be seen as a side effect of the treatment. As always work in conjunction with your equine vet to make sure you not only get the best results from using Omeprazole but also keep your horses overall health at a high level. A good equine vet will help you through the whole process. Veterenary medicine is extremely important when dealing with equine health, internal issues and drugs.

Omeprazole and Calcium in Horses

Research done on humans taking omeprazole shows that this drug is really good at what it does, which is limit the production of stomach acid, or gastric acid. Gastric ulceration is directly tied to the production of acid and the handling of digestion in the stomach. Omeprazole is known as a PPI or a proton pump inhibitor. Proton pump inhibitors work in regular Horses and performance horses where ulcers can be more prevalent.

What was shown in the research is that as the drug is working it makes absorption of other things more difficult or less efficient in humans and horses.

In horses the research showed that everything was fine except for calcium absorption which was lowered by ~20%. Omeprazole is intended to be a 28 days cycle so the adverse affects on calcium shouldn’t be a significant issue, especially if your horse is on a quality hay diet. However with recommendations from your vet calcium supplementation may be appropriate.

We like these treats which also have some other added benefits and no sugar.

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For a natural source of calcium you should look to legume hay sources like alfalfa and clover. Obviuosly you need to be careful with alfalfa as it can increase your horses pep. In Canada click here for Foothills Naturals Alfalafa Cubes. If you are in the USA check your local supply store.

Omeprazole For Horses FAQ

How Much Does Omeprazole Cost?

The price of Omeprazole for the treatment of gastric ulcers in horses varies in cost depending mostly on the brand name. This can range anywhere from $15 a tube to $35 a tube. The price can be lessened slightly if buying in bulk. Whichever brand you choose when buying medication for your horse, keep in mind you are paying for the health of your beloved animal. Sometimes the generic option just won’t cut it.

There are some free methods you can employ to help with your equine ulcers. Firstly, you want to make life as stress-free as possible. Stress is often one of the causes of ulcers and it is important to reduce this nasty agitator. Cut training hours where applicable and provide pain relief where possible. Whatever you do, under no circumstance give your horse Omeprazole for humans. It costs less, but it will not work.

Feeding your horse corn oil for six weeks will also not work, neither will unrefined rice bran oil for six weeks, or refined rice bran oil for six weeks. These are not substitutes for Omeprazole. The proper drug may be expensive, but it is expensive because it works. When it comes to the health of your horse, please don’t risk it.

Horse Ulcer Treatment Omeprazole

What is the Best Treatment for Ulcers in Horses?

The first and only FDA-approved prescription medication for treating EGUS is GastroGard®, which contains the active ingredient omeprazole. Omeprazole works by shutting down the production of gastric acid, allowing the ulcer(s) to heal.

For more information about ulcers and what to do visit our main ulcer page and check out these other articles.

What are Some Natural Remedies or Treatments that can Help with Ulcers in Horses?

Ulcers in horses can be quite common, and it’s important to manage them to prevent complications. While veterinary treatment may be necessary for severe cases, there are several natural remedies and treatments that can help with ulcers in horses.

Here are some options.

  1. Dietary changes: Feeding horses smaller, more frequent meals and providing access to forage can help to reduce the risk of ulcers. It’s also recommended to avoid feeding high-starch or high-sugar feeds, and to add alfalfa hay to the horse’s diet.
  2. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to soothe the digestive tract. You can feed your horse Aloe Vera juice or gel, or add it to their feed.
  3. Slippery Elm: Slippery Elm has a soothing effect on the digestive system and can help to reduce inflammation. It’s available in powder form and can be added to your horse’s feed.
  4. Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow Root can also help to soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation. It’s available in powder form and can be added to your horse’s feed.
  5. Probiotics: Probiotics can help to support a healthy gut microbiome, which can reduce the risk of ulcers. You can find probiotics formulated specifically for horses, and they can be added to their feed.
  6. Stress management: Stress can contribute to the development of ulcers, so managing your horse’s stress levels is important. This can include providing a calm environment, regular turnout, and ensuring that your horse is comfortable.

It’s important to note that natural remedies and treatments should be used in conjunction with veterinary care, and it’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian before starting any new treatment plan.

What are Common Side Effects for Omeprazole?

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Final Note

Over the years and through some research I have learned a lot about this subject.  This article isn’t an all-encompassing post on this subject.  I hope to shed some light on the issue and answer some questions.  Most notably I am going to highlight natural treatments and remedies that are available for the treatment of ulcers.  I am certainly not a vet or trying to play one on the internet, so please consult your vet.

The information provided here is for informational purposes only.  The information is not a substitute for advice from a veterinarian or other health care professional.  It should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. A health care professional needs to be consulted before starting any diet or supplementation program.  Also before administering any medication, alternative, herbal blends et al or if your horse has a health problem. Do not discontinue any other medical treatments without first consulting your health care professional.