Gastroscopy enables us to investigate a range of abnormalities which can occur in a horse’s stomach.
The most common disease seen in the horse’s stomach is ulceration with up to 1 in 3 horses suffering with this condition.
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) describes the erosion of the horse’s stomach lining, due to prolonged exposure to the acid produced by the stomach. The syndrome spans a wide spectrum of severity, from an inflamed but intact stomach lining, through to widespread erosion and bleeding. In extreme circumstances, the condition develops to such an extent that perforation of the stomach can occur, and this can be fatal. Such fatalities most commonly occur in foals, rather than adult horses.
A 4-point scoring system has been developed by vets to help classify the severity of equine ulcers, in which grade 2 or above are considered clinically significant.
How can I tell if my horse has gastric ulcers?
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Poor performance
- Poor condition including dull coat
- Behavioural changes
- Mild or recurrent colic
- Foals may also show teeth grinding, excess salivation and excessive lying down as well as infrequent nursing and diarrhoea
EGUS can only be definitively diagnosed by endoscopy. This a relatively simple, painless procedure, in which a thin optical cable is passed into a horse’s stomach to check for ulceration. This can be done in the clinic without an overnight stay.
If your horse is due to come in for Gastroscopy with us, it is important that the horse is starved prior to admission.
If you are concerned about gastric ulcers, feel free to get in touch.