Stomach, or gastric, ulcers in horses - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

A stomach or gastric ulcer is an area where the membrane comprised of mucus producing cells has been eroded away and the acid has been able to attack the muscular wall beneath. This causes pain and inflammation and can cause bleeding into the stomach which is debilitating and potentially life threatening. 

stock horse sick vet SMLL

The horse’s stomach is covered by two lining tissues: squamous and glandular mucosae. There are two types of ulcers found in horses; squamous ulcers and glandular ulcers. The horse stomach secretes varying amounts of hydrochloric acid throughout a twenty four hour period and continues to do so even without food in the stomach.

Equine ulcers are much more common nowadays than ever before. Also that maybe they were extremely rare or even completely unknown before we started to interfere with so much of the horses natural environment and natural needs and feeding.

In a modern racing and high level competition stables there are ideal conditions to allow equine stomach ulcers to flourish which may include stress in the case of isolation, unpredictable situations and exposure to chemical substances such as bute which weaken the stomach lining and can cause bleeding. These conditions are almost entirely due to our interference with the natural rhythms and routines of the animals and to our substance abuse.

Signs of an ulcer:

  • Low appetite and weight loss
  • Slowed eating
  • Poor performance
  • 'Kicking up' or 'girthy'
  • Frequent low-grade colic

What causes ulcers? Some causes include;

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Medications like 'Bute'
  • Unnatural living conditions like lack of daily horse-horse contact
  • Not enough fibre/forage
  • Limited access to water
  • Highly processed and high starch diets,
  • Eating straw
  • Very intense exercise
  • Transportation

stock ulcer gut SMLL

Gastric ulcer in various stages

McDowells recommendations

A horse should always have access to pasture or roughage. This stimulate production of bicarbonate rich saliva, which may contribute buffering of gastric acid.

McDowells diert recommendations also include reducing levels of processed feeds and grain concentrates in the diet. 


McDowells products

Equigesta-Pre contains a combination of pure herbal powders, brewer's yeast and bentonite clay. Traditionally this combination has been used to aid and promote beneficial intestinal microorganisms. This unique blend can be used daily as an equine prebiotic to support and stimulate the growth and activity of good bacteria in the digestive system.

Equigesta-pre contains both chamomile and slippery elm, which will assist in the normal healthy recovery of the damaged lining. They will also assist in relaxing the stomach and improving the normal rhythmic action necessary both for digestion and optimal fluid secretion. They also provide a mucilaginous lining to the gut. This will protect the mucosa and allow it to heal while allowing all normal secretions to penetrate and not interfering with normal digestive processes.



1. Treating equine gastric ulcers, Andy Durham. BSc, BVSc, CertEP, DEIM, DipECEIM, MRCVS June 2, 2014

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Get in Touch

We are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. AEST. You can also contact us by phone or email.

02 6331 3937
+61 2 6331 3937(Int)


McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

EMAIL info@mcdowellsherbal.com  |  PHONE 02 6331 3937  |  INTERNATIONAL +61 2 6331 3937