These days, horse lovers are becoming aware of the many factors that can cause horse ulcers. Antibiotic therapy is one of the main culprits, and many horse owners are anxious to prevent ulcers from occurring if their horse must have antibiotic therapy because of an injury or acute illness.
But here they run into a problem.
Horse owners know that antibiotics interfere with the healthy bacteria (probiotics) that live in their horse’s digestive tract, and that the probiotic population needs to be replenished. That’s good.
What they don’t know is:
– whether to feed their horse prebiotics or probiotics
– when to start feeding prebiotics or probiotics (before, during, and after antibiotic therapy)
– which products to use
That is definitely a lot to ponder (and just in case you’re wondering, prebiotics are food for the probiotic bacteria).
Luckily, the answers are quite simple.
1. Feed a product that includes both prebiotics and probiotics. For short courses of antibiotic therapy (a week or less), feeding a product like Pro-Bi should be sufficient to prevent horse ulcers. For longer courses, I like to feed packets of bluegreen algae, probiotics and enzymes (one packet per day), which not only restore the healthy gut bacteria but also heal the gut if any horse ulcers have started to form.
2. It never hurts to start a horse on Pro-Bi, or the algae/probiotic packets during the antibiotic therapy, but you should definitely feed these products after you have finished giving the antibiotics. I recommend feeding these products for at least a month.
In general, it’s also a great idea to support your horse’s digestion by feeding these supplements on a daily basis, especially if your horse is in heavy training, showing, has a nervous disposition, or has digestive issues. A healthy population of probiotics not only prevents the occurrence of horse ulcers, but also helps your horse get the most out of his feed and boosts his immune system. Probiotics also produce B-vitamins, which are known to calm horses with nervous dispositions.
For more information on horse ulcers and digestive issues, check out the resource links below.
Horse Ulcers: Not the Same for Every Horse
Horse Ulcers: Holistic Treatments for Each Type of Ulcer
Natural Ulcer Relief for Horses Part I
Natural Ulcer Relief for Horses Part II
Holistic Horsekeeping Article Library