KER.com - Full Article
July 15, 2019
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
Omeprazole, the only FDA-approved drug for healing gastric ulcers in horses, may cause reduced calcium digestibility, according to a recent study conducted at Kentucky Equine Research. What does this finding mean to horse owners who rely on the medication to keep their horses healthy?
Gastric Ulcers in Horses and Omeprazole
Researchers estimate 40-90% of horses have gastric ulcers, with those engaged in certain athletic disciplines, such as racing, at higher risk. Excessive gastric acid production ranks as a primary trigger for the development of ulcers. Omeprazole prevents gastric acid secretion in horses, thus rendering it an effective treatment for ulcers.
Omeprazole and other drugs known as proton pump inhibitors are used to treat acid-related conditions in humans. When given to humans, reduced gastric acid production is associated with a decline in the digestibility of several nutrients, including protein, fat, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.
In horses, however, the effect of omeprazole on nutrient digestibility was unknown.
A study was therefore designed to determine the effect of short-term administration of omeprazole on the digestibility of several nutrients.
Researchers found that omeprazole did not affect the digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, fat, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, starch, or water-soluble carbohydrates. Omeprazole did not change the digestibility of any mineral except calcium. Calcium digestibility decreased by as much as 20% in horses given omeprazole...
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