Gastric Ulcers in horses is a common problem, but are relatively easy to diagnose and treat with the right information and the right products. Digestive ulcers are a common clinical finding in horses being trained to show. The prevalence of such a condition has been documented to be up to 93% of horses trained for racing and almost 60% of performance horses.
What is Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome?
The condition is termed Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome or EGUS. The ulcers affect different parts of the digestive tract starting in the esophagus to the duodenal mucosa. EGUS starts as a mild erosion and develops to bigger craters which penetrate the mucosa.
Endoscopic procedures can give definite diagnosis but may require endoscopes that are three meters or 9.8 meters. A horse owner can determine if the horse is not feeling well by identifying clinical signs. These clinical signs include: poor body condition, diarrhea, colic, poor appetite, and poor overall performance. All of these symptoms suggest the presence of digestive ulcers. These ulcers may be treated with empirical therapy for horse ulcers once diagnosis is established.
Is my Horse Predisposed to Ulcers?
There are many factors which may predispose a horse to develop gastric ulcers apart from intensive training programs. Physical stress, reduced hay consumption, intermittent feeding, high dosed medications like NSAIDs, and transportation could also be factors why ulcers develop. When ulcers in humans are commonly caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, it is not found to be one of the causative agents of ulcers in horses.
EGUS is well known to be a major problem affecting the overall performance of most horses.
How do I Treat Gastric Ulcers in Horses?
There are a number of treatments available for gastric ulcers in horses, though not all of them are approved for use in horses. H2-antagonists, antacids, sucralfate, and anticholinergics can all treat horse ulcers; these medications have not received approval from the FDA to be used in horses. Omeprazole is an approved drug that belong to the class of ‘proton pump inhibitors’. Equine Omeprazole is the most prescribed medication by vets and trusted by the equine industry.
Omeprazole is the active ingredient found in AbGard oral paste. AbPrazole from Abler is in the form of Omeprazole granules, also effective as its paste counterpart, AbGard. Omeprazole works by inhibiting the process of gastric acid production, thereby decreasing the amount of gastric acid liberated in the stomach. This in turn helps in treating and preventing ulcers from forming inside the horses stomach.
If you observe unusual symptoms from your horses, like those clinical signs mentioned above, it’s time to step in. Horse ulcers should be treated immediately.