Could your horse have ulcers

January 3, 2023 106 view(s)
RISK FACTORS
 
  • Inconsistent feeding schedules, more than 6 hours between forage meals,  high starch/high concentrate diets
  • Intermittent access to water
  • Competition, training, exercise
  • Travel, unfamiliar environments
  • Hospitalization, pain, lay up
  • Stall confinement, social regrouping, loss of companion
  • +/- NSAID administration
CLINICAL SIGNS
 
  • Poor performance, girthiness/cinchiness,  lack of flexion, back soreness
  • Behavior change, nervousness,  aggression, self-mutilation, cribbing
  • Recurrent, low grade colic especially after eating
  • Inappetence, “picky” eater, poor body  condition, weight loss, poor coat condition

If your horse meets any of the above criteria, talk with your  veterinarian about scheduling a gastroscopy exam to look for the presence, location, and severity of gastric ulcers.


WHAT IS EQUINE GASTRIC ULCER SYNDROME (EGUS)?
 

EGUS encompasses a variety of lesions within the stomach.  The horse has what is known as a complex stomach, meaning it has two different linings. The squamous mucosa (1) is the area above the margo plicatus. The glandular mucosa (2) includes the area below the margo plicatus extending through the antrum to the pylorus.

 

Lesions can occur in either location (equine squamous gastric  disease ESGD and equine glandular gastric disease EGGD) but  behave differently in terms of risk factors and response to  treatment, hence the importance of gastroscopy to locate and  grade disease. It is important to note that EGUS does not include “hind gut ulcers’’, a poorly defined problem within the large colon  
and cecum of the horse. 

Note: Image represents an empty, air-filled stomach as observed during gastroscopy.
Case 1 11yo WB gelding used for eventing.   Presented for decreased performance, bad attitude, not eating well. Case 2 12 year old Morgan horse gelding used for trail riding.  Presented for behavior change, including bolting and bucking under saddle Case 1 11yo WB gelding used for eventing.   Presented for decreased performance, bad attitude, not eating well. Case 2 12 year old Morgan horse gelding used for trail riding.  Presented for behavior change, including bolting and bucking under saddle

PREVALENCE BY THE NUMBERS
 

ESGD (EQUINE SQUAMOUS GASTRIC DISEASE)
Over 90% of racehorses (1)
60% of show and pleasure horses (2)
90% of endurance horses during the competitive season (3)
11% of horses that rarely compete and don’t travel often (4) 

 

EGGD (EQUINE GLANDULAR GASTRIC DISEASE)
65% of racehorses (5) 
64% of sport horses (6)
54% of leisure horses (6)

REFERENCES:
1 Murray MJ, et al. Factors associated with gastric lesions in Thoroughbred racehorses. Equine Vet J. 1996;28:368-374.
2 McCLure SR, Glickman LT, Glickman NW. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in show horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:1130-1133.
3 Tamzali Y, Margeut C, Priymenko N, et al. Prevalence of gastric ulcer syndrome in high-level endurance horses. Equine Vet J 2011:43:141-144.
4 Sykes BW, Hewetson M, Hepburn RJ, Luthersson N, Tamzali Y, European College of Equine Internal Medicine Consensus Statement – Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in Adult Horses, J Vet Intern Med, 2015; 29:1288-1299.
5 Sykes BW, Sykes KM, Hallowell GD. A comparison of three doses of omeprazole in the treatment of gastric ulceration in the horse: A randomised, blinded clinical trial. Equine Vet J  2015;47:285–290.
6 Hepburn RJ. Endoscopic examination of the squamous and glandular gastric mucosa in sport and leisure horses: 684 horses (2005–2011) [abstract]. Proc 11th International Equine Colic  Research Symposium. 2014. 5.

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