Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gastric Ulcers in Horses: Update - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 14, 2015

Ulcers or erosions in the lining of the equine stomach are reportedly a common condition in performance animals. In racehorses, for example, ulcers are believed to occur in an estimated 50-90% of horses. Similarly, weanling foals have equally high rates of ulcers. Stress caused by changes in routine is thought to be an important contributor to the development of gastric ulcers.

“While some gastric ulcers can go undetected and seem not to bother certain horses, other horses show a variety of clinical signs, including colic, diarrhea, poor appetite, dull coat, decreased performance, and even behavior changes,” said Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., an equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

The economic and widespread availability of omeprazole for both the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers theoretically could decrease the occurrence of gastric ulcers in horses. This, however, does not appear to be the case.

“According to the most up-to-date consensus statement on gastric ulcers*, the development of ulcers appears to be most frequently reported in performance horses that are actively training or competing,” Crandell explained...

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