What You Should Know About Stomach Ulcers in Horses During GI Health Month
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is the official term for referring to gastric ulcer disease in horses. This term encompasses a wide range of different types of ulcers that can occur for a variety of underlying reasons. EGUS is surprisingly common in horses of all ages with an estimated prevalence of 25-50% in foals and 60-90% in adult horses.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers in Horses
The effects of gastric ulcers in horses aren’t always outwardly noticeable, but horses living with stomach ulcers can be affected in several ways. While the signs and symptoms are usually subtle, they can include:
In more serious cases, horses might experience more severe colic (abdominal pain), and they might grind or clench their teeth.
Foals often experience:
Any clinical signs of gastric ulcers in foals are serious and require immediate care.
How to Diagnosis Equine Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers can only be definitively diagnosed with a gastroscopy procedure. During this procedure, the horse is sedated and an endoscope is inserted via the horse’s nose into its stomach. This allows the veterinarian to view the stomach lining and visually confirm the presence and nature of stomach ulcers.
Treatment for Equine Stomach Ulcers
Currently, the is just one treatment approved by the FDA for the treatment of stomach ulcers in horses. This medication is called Gastroguard and comes in the form of a paste administered daily to the horse daily on an empty stomach.
Additional medications and supplements that help coat the stomach, reduce acid levels, and promote healthy blood flow and tissue healing, will often be included in the treatment program depending on the location and severity of the ulcer disease.
Other approaches to managing EGUS include training adjustments, reducing the intensity of exercise, in addition to nutritional changes such as the addition of alfalfa to the horse’s diet.
Comprehensive Equine Care in Fishkill, NY
At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our equine veterinarians are highly experienced in detecting, diagnosing, and treating stomach ulcers in horses. If you suspect your horse could be suffering from a gastrointestinal issue of any kind, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians.