Horse Ulcer Treatment: Omeprazole
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 them, 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 stomach 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.
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 this nasty condition with a healthy and happy horse.
If you’re not one hundred percent sure whether your horse has stomach ulcers, you are not alone. One of the problems with gastric stomach ulcers in horses is that the animals do not always show signs of the 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 stomach 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 stomach ulcers.
Now that 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.
Think of it as a leaky faucet spraying acid onto the unprotected membrane where the ulcers have already formed. In other words, salt on 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 stomach 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.
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 stomach ulcers. This is normal and should not be seen as a side effect of the treatment.
How Much Does Omeprazole Cost?
The price of Omeprazole for the treatment of 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 horse’s 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.
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.
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.