SmartPak: Please give us a brief overview of the study.
Dr. Andrews: The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of SmartGut Ultra on horses with naturally occurring stomach ulcers. The horses studied were split into two groups, with one group receiving only 14 days of GastroGard®, and the other group receiving 14 days of GastroGard in addition to daily supplementation with SmartGut Ultra for the entire 35-day study. We then performed a crossover in which we switched the two groups and repeated the entire study.
SmartPak: What were the results?
Dr. Andrews: The findings were interesting in that the horses who received SmartGut Ultra had fewer ulcers on day 28 (two weeks after GastroGard treatment was discontinued). In other words, SmartGut Ultra supplementation kept new ulcers from forming after cessation of GastroGard treatment, when horses are typically prone to the "acid rebound effect." We then put those horses through a feeding-stress, (temporarily withholding feed), and SmartGut Ultra supplementation blunted the number of new stomach ulcers that formed, when compared to the unsupplemented controls.
SmartPak: Can you tell us more about the "acid rebound effect"?
Dr. Andrews: As it turns out, when you stop GastroGard treatment, the horse's body responds by overproducing stomach acid, putting your horse at a greater risk for recurrence of ulcers! In people, the "acid rebound effect" can last up to 3 months after treatment with antiulcer medications, so supplementation during and after GastroGard treatment can help protect against the "acid rebound effect."
SmartPak: What do these results mean for horse owners?
Dr. Andrews: Stomach ulcers can be painful and stressful to their horses and lead to loss of appetite, weight loss and poor performance. When your horse develops stomach ulcers you should begin feeding SmartGut Ultra and treat with GastroGard to heal the ulcers. But long-term treatment with GastroGard is expensive, not ideal for normal digestive processes, and when discontinued can lead to rapid recurrence of ulcers due to the "acid rebound effect." SmartGut Ultra can help maintain stomach health without altering the stomach acid needed for proper digestion.
SOURCE: Excerpted from a blinded, two-period crossover study conducted by Dr. Frank Andrews, Louisiana State University.
1 All horses were treated with GastroGard from Day 1-14 in order to start with a healthy stomach.
2 Stress included stall confinement and rebound acid production associated with discontinuing GastroGard treatment.
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Dr. Frank M. Andrews is an equine internal medicine specialist, LVMA Equine Committee Professor and Director of the Equine Health Studies Program at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. For the last 23 years, Dr. Andrews' research has focused on the causes, treatment and prevention of gastric ulcer disease in horses.