Usages of Sucralfate Medication for horses: The Why, How, and when
Sucralfate is increasingly being used to speed the healing and recovery time for horses with ulcers.
Sucralfate works by binding to the surface of lesions (ulcers) and forms a temporary, protective coating. This ensures the ulcer site is not further inflamed and allows the healing process to commence more quickly than it would from acid reduction measures alone.
Sucralfate does not affect a horse's digestion because it is not immediately absorbed. It serves as a barrier to shield the horse from the acid accumulation and harmful microorganisms.
Sucralfate is also commonly used as a preventative measure for circumstances that may ordinarily cause ulceration.
Commonly used situations where sucralfate is used for horses
- To help speed the recovery of established ulcers.
- As a preventative measure in unavoidable times of stress, medication or dietary changes.
- Prior to and during long distance travel
- Prior to competition
- In conjunction with medications known to cause digestive distress (please read more on this below)
- Prior to and during stressful events like weaning, moving, box rest etc.
What is sucralfate for horses?
Sucralfate is a powerful treatment for stomach and hindgut ulcers in horses. It is used in conjunction with omeprazole to treat equine gastric ulcers.
This is considered the ‘gold star’ approach to effective ulcer treatment (in addition to the required management changes to reduce stress & improve nutrition to prevent recurrence).
How does it work?
Sucralfate is sucrose octasulfate hydroxy aluminium salt that functions by attaching to the mucosal lining of the colon and stomach.
In the stomach, it reacts with hydrochloric acid to create a thick, viscous film that covers any ulcerative craters. As a result, ulcers are protected from stomach lining-eroding gastric fluids. This protective barrier lasts between 6-8 hours.
It acts as a bandage over ulcerated tissue, shielding ulcerative craters from more harm from stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
Sucralfate also promotes healing of the stomach lining and provides pain relief.
How to treat horse ulcers with sucralfate?
Sucralfate should be taken two to three times per day. This is because the effectiveness ranges from 6-8 hours. Obviously 3 times a day would be ideal, but can be challenging for some owners. 2 doses a day will still provide 12-16 hours of protection.
The recommended treatment period is 21 days.
Sucralfate can inhibit the absorption of other medications & supplements. For this reason, sucralfate needs to be fed 60 minutes before or after meals or medication.
Recommended sucralfate dosage for horses?
- 500kg (1100lb) horse: 3 sachets/scoops per dose (up to 3 times a day)
- 300kg (660lb) pony: 2 sachets/scoops per dose (up to 3 times a day)
Sucralfate can be administered as a liquid, mixed with water or a small handful of chaff.
It’s best not to administer with a full feed.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If a dose is missed, give as soon as possible; if the next dose is within a few hours of the normal schedule, wait, and give at the regular time. Do not double the dose.
What should I do after the treatment?
To manage horse health after treatment and stop ulcers recurring in future, your horse will need an ongoing care plan . This includes feeding an ulcer-appropriate diet, exercise, medication and lifestyle changes.
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