One of the most common conditions to affect horses is ulcers. Horses of all ages, levels of activity, and inactivity can develop ulcers. Some horses even go through them repeatedly.

It is very important to comprehend the signs of ulcers in horses, as they  can be very painful and cause a lot of discomfort. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of horse ulcers such as stress and a diet high in grain.

General horse ulcer symptoms

Some general symptoms of ulcers in horses:

  • Weight reduction and poor physical condition
  • Irritation while riding
  • A grumpy demeanor
  • Pawing or lying down as an indication of discomfort
  • Appetite loss

Know about different types of horse ulcers

Horse ulcer disease can be divided into two types.

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Hindgut ulcers

Let's understand them better -

The Different Symptoms of Gastric and Hindgut Ulcers

Gastric Ulcers in Horses 

Ulcers that develop on the stomach lining are referred to as gastric or stomach sores. Between 60 and 90% of horses are thought to be affected by them. 

A horse can be affected by them at any age, but they are more common in horses that participate in athletic pursuits such as racing, endurance, show jumping, dressage and barrel racing.


Hindgut Ulcers in Horses

There is a 60 percent prevalence rate for colon or hindgut ulcers in racehorses.

Although there has been less research on these ulcers, it is known that horses with gastric ulcers are more likely to also develop an ulcer of the colon. It is possible for horses to have both!

The cause of hindgut ulcers is not well understood, but there are several causes, including parasites, prolonged use of anti inflammatory medication and hindgut acidosis.

Difference between Gastric and Hindgut ulcers

Horse ulcers are frequently grouped together. There is a difference between gastric ulcers and hindgut ulcers. The hindgut refers to the section of a horse's intestines that follows the small intestine. The ulceration is  commonly found in the right dorsal colon. 

Gastric ulcers form in the stomach.

Understanding the various symptoms will aid in determining the best course of action.

How to distinguish if my horse has gastric ulcers or hindgut ulcers?


Identify gastric ulcers in horses

The symptoms are usually gradual, which is why they go unnoticed for a long time. As a result, gastric ulcers are frequently discovered at a late stage.

Common signs of gastric ulcers in horses:

  • Appetite loss
  • Chewing while sitting
  • Difficulties with lying down
  • Yawning 
  • Poor performance unexplained
  • General health deteriorated
  • Elevated pulse rate, mild fever
  • Recurrent colic, initially mild, with no apparent reason


For a non invasive method of checking for ulcer symptoms at home follow this tutorial.

How to treat gastric ulcers in horses

The  main  approach to treatment of gastric ulcers  is to lower the acidity of the stomach. 

Omeprazole therapy

The medication omeprazole is a proton-pump inhibitor and is the drug of choice for the treatment of acid reflux. The stomach's acid production is decreased by this medication.

It’s important to be aware of ulcers in horses, be on the lookout for the symptoms, but also be aware that the signs may not be obvious.

Identify hindgut ulcers in horses

The symptoms of hindgut ulcers differ from gastric ulcers. Loose manure on the inside leg  is a known warning indicator. 

Common signs of hindgut ulcers in horses:

  • Girthy
  • Resistance under saddle
  • Sensitivities in the flank region
  • Bending, collecting, and extending difficulties
  • Droppings/diarrhea that is soft or loose.
  • Laminitis
  • Weaving and cribbing repetitively.
  • Sudden distaste for grooming and rugs

How to treat hindgut ulcer in horses?

It is possible to use a coating agent such as Sucralfate. Sucralfate is a polymer derived from sucrose and aluminum hydroxide. Particularly in ulcerated areas, it forms a protective coating on the mucosal stomach lining. It adheres to epithelial cells and ulcer craters when acid is present.


In order to treat any type of ulcer in your horse, you need good management practices and the best equine ulcer medication.