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First of all, it is important to know that the feed can play a preventive role for ulcers located on the non glandular part of the stomach called “squamous”. This type of ulcer is called EGGD (Equine Squmous Gastric Disease) in the scientific publications, for ulcers located on the glandular part the onset is rather due to repeated stress and the intensity of the work required and is called EGGD (Equine Glandular Gastric Disease).
For ulcers of the non-glandular mucous membrane, several aggravating factors have been highlighted which are directly linked to the management of the horses’ diet but also to the composition of the daily feed.
The first factor is the absence of fodder, which can easily be explained firstly by the fact that these horses only receive concentrate at best three times a day and there are long periods of “empty stomach” (it should be remembered that the horse in its “natural” state is adapted to eat small quantities over a period of about 16 hours a day) and that the contents in this lower part of the stomach have a rather acidic pH of between 2 and 4.
This acidic pH is not attenuated because without forage there is a very strong decrease in mastication which normally causes salivation, the latter has a real buffering effect (increase in pH therefore less acidic) on the stomach contents.
The second aggravating factor for this type of ulcer is the starch content of the food, in other words its more or less high cereal composition. Indeed, the more the composition of the food is based on cereals, the higher the concentration of starch in the food. It should be borne in mind that the horse is a herbivore and not a cereal eater and is therefore not sufficiently supplied with amylase, which is simply responsible for the digestion of starch. The consequence of an excess of starch in the ration also leads to a decrease in the pH (acidity) through the production of lactic acid and is therefore a favourable ground to cause ulcers on the “non glandular” (“unprotected”) walls of the stomach.
Following the results of scientific tests, recommendations have been put forward concerning these two aggravating factors:
Firstly, a minimum quantity of fodder of 1.5kg per 100kg of horse weight and if possible, have these horses work with a meal of hay assimilated.
Another tried and tested solution is to increase the salivation of the horse by adding the long brown alfalfa type fibre concentrate.
Concerning the starch several tests have shown that less than 500g per meal for a 500kg horse was without incidence.
It is for this type of ulcer that Royal Horse has created a feed solution which takes into account all these recommendations and which in addition is capable of providing energy for working horses: