By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
Your horse has an ulcer? “Give him omeprazole.”
Your horse is traveling on a long trip? “Give him omeprazole.”
Your horse is taking pain medication? “Give him omeprazole.”
Omeprazole, produced by Merial as GastroGard® and the less concentrated UlcerGard®, is the go-to drug for all these reasons and more. One of my clients recently said, “The people at my barn feed omeprazole like it’s candy!” Does omeprazole have any benefits?
Yes, particularly for ulcers that are found in the upper squamous region of the stomach that is not protected by a mucus layer. Short term usage is usually not problematic as long as care is taken to wean the horse off of it, lest there be a rebound acid effect.
But usage beyond 4 weeks, or giving your horse omeprazole for other reasons, is not a good idea...