Gastric ulcerations are quite common in our equine partners. Research has shown that > 58% of performance/show horses, >75% of racehorses and even up to 50% of pleasure riding horses have gastric ulcerations. Clinical signs can include but are not limited to: poor appetite, decreased performance, reluctance to train, attitude change, intermittent colic, and or poor body condition.
Gastroscopy is a routine procedure used to evaluate a horse’s stomach for the presence of gastric ulcers. This procedure allows visual inspection of the stomach and is the only definitive way to diagnose ulcers.
What to Expect:
In preparation for this procedure your horse should be fasted for 12-16 hours to ensure their stomach is nice and empty.
Using standing sedation, a 3.0-3.3 m video endoscope is passed through your horse’s nose and into their esophagus. The scope is then passed down the esophagus and into the horse’s stomach. This is generally well-tolerated. Air is then used to inflate the stomach so that a complete visual inspection of all regions of the stomach can occur. A complete inspection of your horse’s stomach will allow us to identify squamous or glandular ulcers if present and to prescribe the appropriate medications for the treatment of these ulcers.
If ulcers are identified a recheck gastroscopy procedure is often recommended prior to discontinuing therapy to ensure that all the ulcers have resolved prior to stopping the ulcer medications.
To learn more about equine gastric ulcers please check out the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) website.
Example of a normal stomach (no gastric ulcerations)
Examples of Squamous Ulcerations
Examples of Glandular Ulcers