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1 in 3 horses suffer from gastric ulcers

Could your horse have gastric ulcers?

What causes gastric ulcers

Any situation that results in repeated or prolonged exposure of the stomach lining directly to acid results in the formation of ulcers1. However the cause of this exposure varies.


The stomach lining of the squamous region is not normally in contact with acid and therefore has no natural defences against acid-induced injury. Any situation that increases the amount of acid within the stomach, such as feeding a high concentrate diet, will cause the squamous lining to come into contact with stomach acid leading to the development of ulcers2. Equally, any situation that increases the movement of acid within the stomach, such as intense exercise, will create a “splash-back” effect, again leading to the development of squamous ulcers3.


The glandular region of the stomach is normally in contact with gastric acid and because of this has a natural mucous layer to act as a protective barrier. It is thought that glandular ulcers develop when this protective mucus barrier is damaged in some way, allowing the lining to come into contact with gastric acid1. However, it is not known what can cause this barrier to break down.

Why is it important to know which type of ulcer your horse has?

A big part of successful ulcer treatment is achieving the correct combination of management changes and medical treatment. This combination can be different for squamous ulcers and glandular ulcers, so the approach needs to be tailored to each individual horse.