Gastric ulcerations are very common. Recent studies have shown approximately 80-90% of racehorses, over 60% in competition horses, up to 50% of leisure horses and 50% of foals are affected with gastric ulcers with a range of severity.
Equine gastric ulcers can be caused by excessive exposure of the mucosal lining of the stomach to acidic gastric juice. This causes erosion of the lining resulting in ulceration and even bleeding . Ulcers are commonly seen in the upper squamous lining as this has limited protection against acid injury.
Symptoms are often vague and can include:
Changes in behaviour or grumpy temperament
Weight loss/ failure to maintain condition
Girthing pain or resistance to girthing
Resistance to riding aids
Poor coat condition
It is important to note horses can display no clinical signs, yet have potentially severe gastric ulcers when confirmed by gastroscope. Also clinical signs of stomach ulceration may be vague and can often be mistaken for other conditions or behavioural problems.
Gastric ulcers are graded on severity from 0-4. This allows us to monitor healing and evaluate the efficacy of treatment. Once diagnosed gastric ulcers can be treated quickly and effectively with medication and horses usually return to their former level of performance. We will monitor your horse's treatment progress with regular visits and gastroscopy and may also suggest management and feeding changes.
Milbourn Equine offer twice monthly gastroscope clinics at Benenden and Ashford (Sevington), where you can book in to bring your horse along for a gastroscope at a reduced price.
Please remember to bring your horse's bridle with you when bringing your horse to the clinic.
Scoping in your yard is also available by appointment – please ring for details