Stomach Ulcers in Foals

MYTH: Adult horses under extreme stress at the race track and on a heavy show circuit schedule often have or get stomach ulcers but thankfully ulcers are unheard of in young foals.

FACT: Ulcers in young foals seem to be getting more and more common. For the most part, these ulcers are caused by stress. Perhaps the foal is already being handled on a continuous basis for the treatment of something else, causing the stress. Or inexperienced owners are literally never allowing the foal a minute of peace, continually grabbing it, holding it, chasing it around.
Perhaps the dam of the foal is being harassed by the rest of the herd, so must keep her foal up and moving without adequate rest. Perhaps the foal has been shipped along with its mother to another farm for rebreeding of the mare. Many reasons, all stressful for the foal.
Clinical symptoms of foal ulcers may vary but watch closely for some or all of the following. Depression, colic type pain, (foal kicking at its stomach, turning its head to look at its side, laying down and rolling). I have also observed foals with stomach ulcers, laying upside down, with all four feet in the air in an attempt to relieve their pain. But two things for sure, is excessive drooling usually immediately after nursing with foamy milk hanging down from their mouths and teeth grinding. A foal grinding its teeth has severe abdominal pain.
No short term treatment is going to work for foal ulcers. You need a veterinarian immediately. Continuous large doses of antacids such as Milk of Magnesia, Maalox, Tagamet, Carafate, Sucralfate or what your own personal vet prescribes are needed, along with prescribed antibiotics such as Synergistin. And quiet, relaxed surroundings, no more stress.

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