In a recent issue of The Modern Equine Vet, Dr. Frank M. Andrews, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LAIM, LVMA, Equine Committee professor and director of the Equine Health Studies Program at Louisiana State University, discussed many of the facts about EGUS, looking at why this happens, what treatments are effective and management practices that can help horses to resolve their ulcers and decrease the incidence of recurrence. The article opens with the following statement by Dr. Andrews: “Up to 90% of performance horses and up to 50% of all foals develop ulcers and – even with successful treatment- the odds are that the ulcers will recur, sometimes repeatedly.” He discusses the basics of acid secretion in the horse stomach (they are steady acid secretors), how stomach pH is influenced by how and what is fed, and the location of ulcers within the equine stomach. He lists the following as risk factors: steady acid secretion in the equine stomach, time spent grazing vs. stall time, high grain diets, environmental stress (travel, stall confinement, for ex.), physical stress
(training, tack/shoeing changes, for ex.) and medical issues (pain, NSAIDS, musculoskeletal issues, for ex.). Clinical symptoms were discussed and he suggests that the only definitive way to diagnose is via gastroscopy. The only FDA approved medicine for treating EGUS is GastroGard by Merial, continues Dr. Andrews, as he then cautions against the use of compounded products “because we just don’t know if the compounds are truly reliable. So buyers beware.” He talks about the importance of management practices that help to keep the horse fed properly, well socialized and training in such a way that promotes the healing of these gastric ulcers. His take-home message: “Gastric ulceration is multifactorial.” “Therapy goals should eliminate clinical signs, promote healing, relieve pain, prevent secondary complications and prevent recurrence. “
Article: Ellis, C. Nitty Gritty of Equine Gastric Ulcers. Facing the Facts and Seeking Solutions.
The Modern Equine Vet, vol. 8, issue 3, 2018, pp. 4-11.