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Stress-Induced Ulcers in Horses Pt.1

More great wisdom from Madalyn Ward – this time on a topic that stressed out both horses and humans: stress-induced ulcers. In this post (Part 1) we discuss how to recognize symptoms of a stressed-out horse.


Stress Induced Ulcers in Horses: Is Your Horse Stressing Out?

It is easy to recognize stress in the horse that walks his stall, cribs or kicks the walls. This type horse is telling you loud and clear that he is not happy and chances are he also has an ulcer. But what about the horse that loves his job, likes his person and surroundings – is this horse also a candidate for ulcers? The truth is ulcers in horses don’t just happen to those that are unhappy with their lives. Ulcers can happen to any horse under stress, even yours.

Stress in Horses

So what is stress to a horse. Confinement, infrequent feedings, separation from other horses, and trailering are a few known stressors for horses. Other causes of stress could be an increase in difficulty of a training exercise, a change in training routine, a change in surroundings or change in horses he is stabled with. These are just a few types of stress a horse might experience. The list of possibilities is endless.

Examples of stress in horses:

  • Confinement
  • Infrequent feeding
  • Separation from other horses
  • Trailering
  • Change in training difficulty, training routine, surroundings, horse companions

Not every horse shows stress outwardly. Unfortunately, the horse that suppresses his emotions may seem perfectly fine but still get ulcers. Stall weaving, cribbing, kicking the walls of a stall or trailer are all signs that a horse is stressed but so are generalized muscle tightness, decreased appetite and a depressed attitude. Any of these signs could be warnings of current or developing ulcers in horses.

Signs of stress in horses:

  • Stall weaving
  • Cribbing
  • Kicking the stall or trailer
  • Generalized muscle tightness
  • Decreased appetite
  • A depressed attitude

In Part 2 we will share Madalyn’s words on the effects of stress and treatment options.

More from Madalyn:
Twitter: madalynward

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