Tally your horse’s score

EQUUS - - Eq Tack& Gear -

0 to 5: Your horse is cur­rently at a low risk of ul­cer for­ma­tion and should re­main so un­less he has a sig­nif­i­cant change in en­vi­ron­ment, man­age­ment or health. Don’t be­come com­pla­cent, how­ever: It’s wise to re­assess your horse’s risk pe­ri­od­i­cally based on any changes in his life­style.

6 to 15: Your horse’s risk of de­vel­op­ing ul­cers is mod­er­ate and there are prob­a­bly a few ad­just­ments you can make in his man­age­ment right now to lower it. Con­sider changes to his diet, if pos­si­ble, to in­crease his for­age in­take and en­sure his stom­ach is never empty. Be ju­di­cious with your use of NSAIDs and ex­plore al­ter­na­tives if your horse needs long-term pain man­age­ment. And if your horse ever ap­pears un­thrifty, fussy or oth­er­wise “off,” he may have ul­cers, and you’ll want to work with your vet­eri­nar­ian to rule them out.

16 to 25: Your horse’s ul­cer risk is high. If he’s not show­ing signs of trou­ble, he may be sto­ically cop­ing with an aching gut right now. Call your vet­eri­nar­ian for a con­sul­ta­tion and pos­si­ble di­ag­nos­tic work.

Read­ing the lat­est stud­ies on equine ul­cers, it may seem like there isn’t a horse in the world who isn’t at risk. And in some re­spects, that’s true. We tend to feed, house and use horses for our con­ve­nience, which doesn’t al­ways square with a healthy equine life­style.

But com­pro­mise is pos­si­ble: By reg­u­larly as­sess­ing your horse’s ul­cer risk and tak­ing steps to pro­tect his stom­ach when that risk is el­e­vated, you can keep him com­fort­able while en­joy­ing your part­ner­ship.

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