In the last ten to fifteen years, it has become obvious how common stomach (gastric) ulcers have become in performance horses and the general horse population. The illness hugely affects the horse industry, the horses, and their humans. Fortunately, diagnostics have come a long way. The symptoms of gastric ulcers in horses is fairly straight forward, and one tends to know when it is time to call in a veterinarian with his magical endoscope for diagnosing ulcers in horses and then to plan treatment.
Symptoms of ulcers in your horse include, but are not limited to, a poor appetite, lethargy and lack of mental awareness, an attitude change, their coat getting rough, general poor body condition, and repeat colic conditions. Your horse, especially foals, may also display signs of an ulcer by diarrhea, too much saliva production and grinding of teeth to indicate pain.
Of course, different horses show symptoms in different ways, which is why it is important to know your horse. Prey animals are exceptionally good at hiding pain and illness and manifest symptoms mostly in personality changes such as snappishness and grumpiness with no obvious cause. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.
Diagnosing Ulcers in horses with an Endoscope
To gain a firm diagnosis, your veterinarian will employ a three-meter long video endoscope. While they’ve been available to veterinary schools for years, they are no becoming common in private practice. The procedure is a straightforward one. Your horse is kept off feed for twelve hours and then lightly sedated. The scope, which is a long, narrow, tube, has a video camera on its end. The endoscope is passed through your horse’s nostril and into the stomach, and you and your vet can see on a monitor if there are any ulcers. They will appear as eroded spots on the surface lining. There are typical spots where they can be found, and your veterinarian will know where to look for them.
After the diagnosis is confirmed, you can then work on treatment.Omeprazole the approved active ingredient to treat and prevent gastric ulcers will keep your horse in optimal gastric health. Omeprazole is from the family of proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) that blocks secretion of acid and assists by reducing and neutralizing acid in the horse’s stomach allowing improved healing of existing ulcer damage. You may also include probiotics to help restore natural gastric bacteria and promote health and healing.