Effect of Trace Mineral Supplementation on Gastric Ulcers in Exercising Yearling Horses
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Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) has been reported to occur in 40% to over 90% of horses across multiple equestrian disciplines. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of trace mineral supplementation on gastric ulcers in exercising yearling horses. Twenty-one Quarter Horse yearlings, 15 to 18 mo of age, were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups. The control group received no supplemental trace minerals, the inorganic group received supplemental sulfated trace minerals, and the organic treatment received supplemental amino acid complexed trace minerals. The trial consisted of 3 consecutive 28-d periods, separated by 5 d of diet acclimation. The basal ration included a 14% CP textured concentrate, with coastal Bermudagrass hay fed in Periods 1 and 3 and alfalfa consumed in Period 2. In Periods 1 and 2, horses were exercised on a mechanical horse-exerciser, but were lunged or underwent training in an undergraduate course in Period 3. At the end of each period, horses were transported for 6 h, 5 d before being endoscopically examined to assign ulcer scores. Data were analyzed as repeated measures using the mixed procedure of SAS, with the model including fixed effects of treatment, period, and their interaction (SAS 9.2). All P-values < 0.05 were considered significantly different. Baseline EGUS scores were not different among treatment groups, with a mean of 2.1. There was no effect of treatment in any period, or a period by treatment interaction. There was a significant period effect (P < 0.01). Mean ulcer scores in Periods 1, 2, and 3 were significantly lower than baseline, with mean scores of 1.5, 1.0, and 1.5, respectively. There was a tendency (P=0.06) for mean ulcer scores to be lower in Period 2 than in Periods 1 and 3, which were not different. Average daily intakes of Zn, Mn, Cu, and Co were significantly higher in the organic and inorganic than control horses (P < 0.0001). Under the conditions of this study, trace mineral supplementation did not affect gastric ulcer appearance and severity. However, it is possible that dietary and management alternatives, such as hay and concentrate types, could be anti-ulcerogenic.
Hayes, Alexa Dawn (2009). Effect of Trace Mineral Supplementation on Gastric Ulcers in Exercising Yearling Horses. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from