Stomach ulcers can be extremely painful. These internal wounds occur in the form of damages to the inner linings of the small intestines. Especially, the top part of small intestines is more vulnerable to ulcers. These ruptures can occur due to a number of reasons namely, drinking alcohol regularly, excessive use of tobacco products (mostly smoking), eating spicy or oily foods, and other such unhealthy dietary habits. In elders – especially, those who live with joint pains owing to arthritis, autoimmune conditions or other bone related disorders, ulcers may show up. This is because of their regular intake of painkilling meds – for example, aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. Meds like sucralfate are widely taken to manage ulcers and other intestinal wounds. However, can you administer this drug to your horses? It is very important to understand this use prior to giving it to your horse.

Stressful living conditions and build-up of chemicals are often considered as the key reasons for the onset of ulcers. Among people who are residents of the US, one in ten people are likely to get it – i.e., at least once in their lifetime. You may experience a sharp pain in your upper abdomen; at times, you may also feel a gnawing feeling or a burning sensation deep in your gastric tract. These are all unmistakable symptoms of ulcers. Of course, there are a few other symptoms; but, the aforesaid are the most commonly experienced ones.

Of the numerous medications prescribed for treating ulcers, sucralfate scores a fairly high ranking. The key chemicals present in this drug help create a coating on top of the mucus layer of duodenum. The duodenum is at the top part of smaller intestine; this top surface remains the most vulnerable part in gastric tract. This is because of its direct exposure to foods which are relatively unprocessed or minimally processed by your digestive system.

You need to know sucralfate is essentially an aluminum-based salt (hydroxyl variant). It is derived from a compound called octasulfate – sourced from sucrose. The key property of this drug is to stick up to the mucus lining. When the pH value turns acidic, the key ingredients of the drug become a viscous substance – resembling a gel, which acts as a protective layer. Once the wound in the duodenum is not directly exposed to the harsh gastric acids or spicy foods, you are likely to find relief from pains and other discomforts caused by ulcers. Clinical studies reveal that this gel-like covering can stay for five to six hours.

Can I give this drug to my horses?

In general, this drug is administered to treat many forms of ulcers – namely, gastric ulcers, rupture of the colon, oral ulcer as well as ulcers on the food pipe i.e., esophagus. One positive aspect about this drug is it can exercise its capabilities in a localized manner; hence, there are no / limited systemic changes. Also, there are no enzyme related changes or alterations in the secretion of gastric acids.

For horses

This medicine is given to newly born horses when the neonate is sick; this drug is offered when the reason for illness is diagnosed as a possible internal injury. For full-grown horses, the drug is given to manage and treat ulcers in the gastric region. Sucralfate is also prescribed for treating ulcers in the colon region – especially, the right dorsal part of horses’ colon. In such instances, this drug is administered along with a few other drugs like omeprazole – which is a proton pump inhibiting medication. The side effects are not very many among horses. Difficulties to pass stools – i.e., constipation, are widely experienced among equines. In some rare instances, a few other conditions such as hypophosphatemia; wherein the phosphorous levels in your horse’s blood nosedives to a very low level. This mineral is essential for the smooth functioning of your key organs such as heart, lungs, etc. Hence, a pronounced drop in phosphorous levels can lead to erratic beating of the heart, collapse of respiratory cycles, epileptic seizures and fits. In some very rare cases, your horse may slip into a coma. However, it is important to know that only a minor share of horses may witness a drop in phosphorus level.

If you are giving other meds to your horses, the vet needs to be fully aware of such drugs. For example, if your horse is already administered with drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – popularly referred as NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen, vitamins, drugs to treat blood conditions (meds such as warfarin), etc., your vet must be aware of all these already-administered medication / treatment plans. Some pet owners – in their keenness to bring about a faster relief to their horse – may provide a larger dose of sucralfate to their equine. As the drug is sparsely absorbed, an overdose of more than 3-times has hardly caused any major side effects in horses. However, it is extremely important to consult with your vet prior to giving such large / heavy doses of this drug.

As an extended use, sucralfate may also be given to other pets – such as, cats as well as dogs. On such smaller pets, this drug is increasingly administered for treating gastrointestinal disorders – especially, in the upper part of the gastric tract. Cats and dogs may witness ulcerous conditions due to excessive intake of painkilling drugs, clinical conditions wherein there is a copious production of gastric juices / acids, tumors or any other bowel related disorders. In all such instances, it is highly recommended to talk to your vet prior to giving sucralfate to your pet.

In sum, sucralfate is given to horses that are newly born. This drug is given to new-born horses upon being diagnosed with internal wounds, bleeding or other internal injuries. In mature horses, sucralfate can help cure intestinal ulcers – mainly in the gastric tract or in the colon of your horse. Side effects such as a marked drop in phosphorus levels or problems in discharge of stools may be observed among horses. Always ensure to consult with your vet prior to giving sucralfate to your horse. If your horse develops any acute side effects such as fainting or convulsions, rush to the local vet clinic as soon as you possibly can.

Leave a Reply