Burning pain from ulcers is an unfortunate fact of life for many horses. Ulcers occur when too much acid is produced in the stomach. It is important to note that Stomach Acid acts as a natural defense against pathogenic bacteria colonizing the stomach and small intestine. While conventional drugs offer ulcer relief for the horse, they ultimately interfere with digestion and set the horse up for infection and other long-term problems. Holistic products are effective as both short-term and long-term Ulcer relief.
EquineChia is a non-prescription, all natural, organically grown product that does not contain artificial acid buffers. It works by increasing bloodflow and natural mucus production to protect the lining of the stomach and intestines. EquineChia is an effective holistic product for prolonged treatment, healing and prevention of gastric and intestinal ulcers.
Factual evidence of chia seeds used as an aid for GERD, ulcers, gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome is found in people. Chia Seed is approved by the FDA as a dietetic food. (GetChia LLC, the parent company of EquineChia, offers certified organic chia seed for human consumption.)
Significant benefits of EquineChia come from the inherent oils and hydrophilic (water-absorbing ) nature of chia seeds, which slow gastric emptying and stabilize blood sugar by slowing carbohydrate breakdown, essentially evening out the digestion rate. This dense, "calming" cool-calorie energy source aids in stable digestion, preventing blood sugar related highs and lows. This further aids in balancing the levels of stress hormones and insulin, which can substantially reduce excessive inflammatory stress, often a contributing cause of ulcers.
EquineChia is an oil seed that is 80% oil, mostly Omega 3, and 100% digestible. Anecdotal evidence shows reduced incidences of colic when horses are fed essential Omega 3 oils (EFA’s).
The Texas A&M University study, Alteration in the Inflammatory Response in Athletic Horses Fed Diets Containing Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, revealed reduced inflammatory responses in horses.
A unique feature of EquineChia is how the gelatinous gel protects the natural mucous lining of the stomach, soothing and encouraging natural mucous production as well as sweeping away toxins and irritants to the mucous lining.
Symptoms of ulcers vary depending on age of the horse. Gastric ulcers can be accurately confirmed with stomach scoping by a veterinarian.
Horses in intensive training are especially likely to develop ulcers since exercise and high grain diets increase acid production. Other factors that can lead to ulcers are:
Ulcers are a common medical condition in horses and foals. It is estimated that almost 50% of foals and one-third of adult horses confined in stalls may have mild ulcers. Up to 60% of performance horses and 90% of racehorses may develop moderate to severe ulcers. Because ulcers are so common, the condition is often called "equine gastric ulcer syndrome" (EGUS) or "equine gastric ulcer disease" (EGUD).
Both stress and intense exercise deplete neurotransmitters crucial for the adequate blood flow to the stomach. This decreased blood flow reduces the production of mucus necessary to protect the stomach lining from stomach acid. The result is ulceration of the stomach lining.
Intestinal ulcers can show similar symptoms to stomach ulcers but they do not respond to acid blockers or buffer drugs. Natural products that do not contain high amounts of aluminum buffers are the best choice for long-term prevention and treatment of ulcers. EquineChia fits this description.
Oil is critical to the horses diet. Natural grass provides a 3:1 ratio of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) Omega 3 to Omega 6, which horses require. Omega 3’s decrease inflammation and help fight free radicals. EquineChia is an oil seed with precisely 3 times more Omega 3 than Omega 6. According to a Texas A&M Study, Corn oil (source of Omega 6) was shown to cause an increase in inflammation. Further more, Refined Oils are processed and stripped of "impurities," which can often be the source of valuable nutrients, thereby increasing the risk of excessive inflammation.
Inadequate oil intake contributes to very unstable blood sugar patterns that stress the horse's metabolism by causing an increase in the release of cortisol, adrenalin and insulin. When these hormones are over-relied on, the increases can affect mood, performance, immune function, injury prevention as well increasing risk of colic and ulcers.
Because fats digest slowly, the blood sugar does not become disrupted as easily, thus reducing the amount and frequency of stress hormone and insulin release, which then reduces inflammatory stress, a common cause of gastric ulcers.
Un-Refined oils, such as organically grown chia seeds of EquineChia, contain natural antioxidants. They are a rich source of Omega 3, have a longer shelf life, are easily digested, and reduce risk of excessive inflammation.
To understand why horses are prone to ulcers, it is most important to know the horse’s stomach continually produces stomach acid. It is divided into two distinct parts. The non-glandular portion is lined by tissue similar to the lining of the esophagus. The glandular portion is lined with glandular tissue, which produces hydrochloric acid and pepsin, an enzyme needed for the digestion of food. This part of the digestive system also produces substances to protect the stomach from the effects of the acid and enzymes. In humans, eating stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid. In the horse, however, hydrochloric acid is constantly being produced. So, if a horse does not eat, the acid accumulates in the stomach, causing irritation. Gastric ulcers most commonly occur in the division between the glandular and the non-glandular (esophagus) portion of the stomach, called the margo plicatus.
Traditional medications and changes in management practices are the common cornerstones of therapy for equine gastric ulcers. Rising awareness in Holistic treatment includes using natural products, such as EquineChia, that work with the horses system to strengthen natural defenses.
Current medications are used for three purposes: (1) to decrease acid production, (2) to buffer the acid that is produced, and (3) to protect the lining of the stomach from the effects of the acid. EquineChia can aid all three purposes.
In summary, H2 blockers are medications that block the action of histamine which stimulates the production of stomach acid. Buffers are Antacids to buffer the action of the stomach acid (effective for only a short time, less than an hour). Protectants are certain drugs to block acid from coming into contact with the stomach lining, although not as effective in the esophageal portion of the stomach.
Many ulcers in foals heal without treatment. In adults, the clinical signs may improve within 1-2 days of starting treatment, however it takes weeks or months for ulcers to completely heal. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's recommendations. If you stop treatment earlier than your veterinarian suggests, the ulcer may not completely heal. EquineChia is proven effective as part of a treatment and prevention plan for ulcers.
In one experimental field study in 2009, a yearling with right dorsal colitis (severe ulcers) was treated with 30 days drug treatment and bio-sponge (clay). The colt continued to suffer periodic bouts of painful colic after this treatment. The owner and veterinarian team added EquineChia to the daily vitamin/mineral supplement at one-third cup twice per day. All other drugs were dis-continued. Positive results were immediately observed. Appetite increased, teeth-grinding stopped, manure stools were consistent and no further episodes of colic occurred. The yearling made a full recovery. The owner continues to feed EquineChia at a maintenance dose six days per week as a preventative measure and for the added benefits of sand-clearing and Omega 3 dietary oils.
Feeding EquineChia for ongoing treatment and prevention of ulcers is widely accepted as part of an effective holistic program. Benefits are many-fold, including a proper ratio of Omega 3 oil to decrease inflammation, the ability to increase blood flow and mucous production in the stomach, the gelatinous nature of chia seeds protecting the mucous lining of the stomach and intestines and the combined effect of the oily gelatinous seeds slowing carbohydrate digestion, thereby stabilizing blood sugar and strengthening overall function of the equine digestive tract.
References: Texas A&M University study, Alteration in the Inflammatory Response in Athletic Horses Fed Diets Containing Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids; Research articles by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. and IVIS (International Veterinary Information Service).
Disclaimer: The information is for education only and is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Check with your veterinarian or holistic doctor for specific treatment plans.