Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
A research team from the University of Adelaide, South Australia came up with an unusual solution to the seemingly endless battle against horse gastric ulcers. These scientists* believe that aloe vera can soothe burnt skin and protect the stomach’s delicate lining.
The inner leaf gel from the aloe vera plant has been shown to be effective in treating and preventing gastric ulcers, both in humans and animals. Researchers explained that the anti-ulcer properties of aloe vera have been linked to many possible mechanisms, including antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory properties, cytoprotective, mucus-stimulatory and cytoprotective effects and its ability regulate gastric acid.
Although aloe vera is thought to be a natural remedy for gastric ulcers and other symptoms, there are not enough data to prove that horses can benefit from it.
Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) includes ulcers affecting the squamous as well as the glandular stomachs. These ulcers can negatively impact performance, are difficult to treat, and unfortunately recur often once treatment has been stopped,” said Kathleen Crandell Ph.D., a nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research.
39 horses were evaluated for EGUS and given either aloe or omeprazole. The following were the key findings from the study:
- Most horses had ulcers in their stomachs, but not the glandular.
- The omeprazole-group had higher healing rates;
- The squamous-ulcers were diagnosed in 56% of the horses who received aloe vera. However, 85% of horses receiving omeprazole showed improvement.
The researchers concluded that “four weeks of treatment using aloe vera gel inner leaf gel at 17.6 mg/kg twice per day was superior to omeprazole buffered past at 4 mg/kg one daily in the treatment naturally occurring EGUS.”
Aloe vera was found to be superior to omeprazole (the current recommended treatment for EGUS), and more than half the horses were able to improve. Aloe vera merits further research.