What are hindgut ulcers

Hindgut or colonic ulcers, are located further down the digestive tract in the large intestine, colon or caecum of the horse. 

What causes hindgut ulcers in horses?

The three most common causes of hindgut ulcers are:

  • anti-inflammatories
  • acidosis
  • parasites


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories

Bute and Banamine are commonly used to relieve pain and inflammation in horses. The use of NSAID's adversely affects mucous production and blood flow. As a result the development of ulcers.

Hindgut Acidosis

Hindgut acidosis is caused by large quantities of undigested grains reaching the hindgut. Once in the colon these grains produce excessive amounts of lactic acid. As a result of the acidic environment the mucous production is reduced and kills off the 'good' bacteria.

Parasite infestation in horses

Parasites attach to the horse's colon causing damage to the lining. Consequently leading to colonic ulcers.

The key to maintaining a healthy digestive system for your horse is to go with nature as much as possible.

Treatment and Prevention

To heal hindgut ulcers and prevent them reappearing should be a combination of medication and dietary management. Sucralfate is the best known medication for the treatment of hindgut ulcers. It works by forming a protective film along the hindgut. This protects the ulcers from further damage and allows them to heal.

Read More: Sucralfate for Ulcers: How it works and how to feed it

Dietary management

The easiest change to make to prevent hindgut ulcers is to minimize grain and maximize roughage. Firstly roughage provides a friendly ecosystem for 'good' bacteria in the hindgut. Secondly it stimulates mucous production.