Effect of Concentrate Form on Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in Horses
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Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is common amongst equine athletes of various disciplines and linked to decreased performance. Prevalence among racehorses has been reported to be over 90%, performance horses at 60%, and endurances horses at about 70%. In swine, concentrate form and smaller particle size increase gastric ulceration; thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of concentrate type on EGUS. Quarter Horse yearlings (n=19; 12-18 mo) were blocked by initial EGUS score on a scale of 0 to 4 (0= no ulceration or hyperkeratosis, 4= extensive, deep ulceration) and sex, and utilized in a 77-d cross-over design with two 28-d periods separated by a 21-d washout period. During the first 28-d period, horses were separated into 1 of 2 treatment groups that were all fed Bermuda grass hay and either a commercially available pelleted or textured concentrate. After the initial 28-d period, horses were all fed pelleted feed and Bermuda grass hay for a 21-d washout period then treatment groups were switched for the final 28-d period. Baseline EGUS scores were not different between horses assigned to either treatment (mean 1.1); however, upon treatment, horses fed textured feed acquired a reduced incidence of ulceration as compared to those fed pelleted (mean score of 1.6 vs 1.1, respectively; P =0.02). Degree and incidence of ulceration was influenced by concentrate form; yearlings fed pelleted feed had higher ulcer scores then those fed textured feed. Therefore, the findings of this study suggests that textured feed may be a effective management tool to aid in the reduction of severity in horses afflicted with EGUS.