The impact of feeding a high-fibre and high-fat concentrated diet on the recovery of horses suffering from gastric ulcers

The impact of feeding a high-fibre and high-fat concentrated diet on the recovery of horses suffering from gastric ulcers

Einfluss der Fütterung eines faser- und fettreichen Kraftfutters auf die Heilung von Magengeschwüren beim Pferd

Böhm S, Mitterer T, Iben C

DOI: 10.21836/PEM20180304
Year: 2018
Volume: 34
Issue: 3
Pages: 237-246

The objective of this study was to find out whether a change from a grain-rich concentrated feed to a grain-free, fibre- and fat-enriched concentrated diet (FFD), leads to an improvement in gastric ulcers in horses. The experiment was conducted as a prospective experimental study. Thirty-four adult horses with gastric lesions – six mares and 28 geldings – fulfilled the inclusion criteria of this study. The average age was 11±4 (mean±SD) years and the horses weighed between 358kg and 697kg. Twenty horses were fed the FFD, while 14 horses were controls (C) and received their usual concentrated feed. Each horse underwent gastroscopy twice, at an interval of eight weeks. An independent evaluation of the examination and the scoring of the lesions, using the Equine Gastric Ulcer Council 0–4 scoring system for equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS), was performed by an experienced gastroscopist. The horses with EGUS scores ≥3 received additional omeprazole at the recommended dosage for 14 days. The horses of the FFD group were adapted to the new diet whereas the control group received their usual concentrate. In the control group, only the amounts of hay and concentrate were adjusted to the requirement of the respective horse. After the change of the ration, the starch intake (FFD 0.09±0.05g/kg BW; C 1.38±0.62g/kg BW) was significantly different. However, there was no difference concerning the hay intake (FFD 21.2±3.5g/kg BW/day; C 23.3±5.1g/kg BW/day), the Ca intake (FFD 0.129±0.034g/kg BW/day; C 0.112±0.019g/kg BW/day), the Mg intake (FFD 0.042±0.009g/kg BW/day; C 0.042±0.011g/kg BW/day) or the intake of the praecaecal digestible protein (FFD 1.42±0.38g/kg BW/day; C 1.58±0.39g/kg BW/day). The prevalence and severity of the mucosal lesions significantly decreased in the FFD group (p<0.001). No significant correlation between the EGUS and the other risk factors, such as workload, behaviour or typical symptoms was found in this study. The change of the concentrated feed to FFD improved the gastric ulcerations in both squamous and glandular mucosa.