More Than Ulcers? Girthiness May Be Coming From More Than One Cause

Even the most pleasant horse may act cranky when his girth is tightened, and it’s not because you’re telling him he’s chubby. Some horses will gnash their teeth, snake their heads, swish their tails and try to move away when their girth is being tightened, telling their owners and riders that something is amiss.

Veterinarians often become involved in the issue when a normally stoic horse becomes opposed to being girthed. Drs. Esther Millares-Ramirez and Sarah Le Jeune completed a retrospective study of 37 horses who had been referred to the University of California-Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital for girth aversion.

The horses in the study were of various breeds and ridden in a range of disciplines. Upon referral, each horse had a physical exam that included recording of vital signs and a musculoskeletal exam that included palpation and flexion tests. The horses worked in straight lines and circled on hard and soft ground and were also lunged. Thirteen horses had a gastroscopy, seven had their saddles examined, and three had abdominal radiographs performed.

Of the 13 horses that were scoped, 12 had gastric ulcers. The horses were prescribed omeprazole and the owners said the girthiness resolved with the ulcer treatment. Ten of the horses had orthopedic issues. All 10 horses became less girthy when their musculoskeletal issues were addressed. Three horses had poorly-fitted saddles; once this was addressed and the horses received chiropractic and acupuncture treatments, the angst at being girthed resolved.

The other study horses with aversions to being girthed had a variety of issues, including ovarian tumor, urinary tract infection, girth mass, sand impaction and more.

The team determined that the primary reasons horses exhibit an unwillingness to be girthed include gastric ulcers, orthopedic issues and poor saddle fit.

Read more at EquiManagement.

The post More Than Ulcers? Girthiness May Be Coming From More Than One Cause appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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