Is wood chewing or cribbing a symptom of gastric ulcers?

Cribbing is thought to relieve the pain of gastric ulcers in horses. Theoretically, the increased saliva & inflation of the stomach relieves irritation from gastric acids.

What causes Horse Cribbing?

The term crib-biting or cribbing is when a horse locks their teeth on an object (usually a fence) and sucks in air.

Originally, it was thought that cribbing was a learned behaviour- a habit picked up from other horses. However, that theory has now been disregarded.

Particularly prevalent in stabled horses, some practices that can lead to cribbing include:

  • Not providing enough forage
  • A diet high in grain
  • Not providing a properly balanced diet
  • Inadequate access to salt
  • Limited turn out

Solutions for the cribbing horse

If a gastric ulcer is the cause of the cribbing, it's time to adjust your horse's diet and treat them with the appropriate medication.

The gist of an ulcer friendly diet is more forage, more frequent smaller feedings, and probiotics  to help rebalance their stomach.

You'll also want to give a proton pump inhibitor (PPI)  Omeprazole to help manage acid levels while your horse heals.

Combining a probiotic and omeprazole as a 2-in1 treatment is also a great way to balance the horses stomach.