Two weeks ago we discovered stomach ulcers in one of our patients by performing a gastroscopy. Interestingly the horse did not show specific signs of gastric ulceration. We decided to perform a routine gastroscopy since the horse recently moved yards and underwent a stressful journey. To our surprise we discovered quite severe glandular (grade 3/4) and non-glandular (grade 2/4) ulceration (shown in the videos beneath).
==> in this video you can see the clear separation between the glandular part of the stomach (pink) and the non-glandular part (white/beige). The separation between the two parts is called the “margo plicatus” and this particular region is very prone to ulceration. In this horse you can see bleeding ulcers along the margo plicatus.
==> in this video you can see the “Pylorus”, this is the exit of the stomach towards the small intestine and is part of the glandular part of the stomach. Glandular ulceration is visible all around this exit (orange coloured).
Gastric ulcers can either cause obvious clinical signs such as: reduced or selective appetite,lethargy, being sensitive to girth up, losing weight, colic (scraping, flank watching/biting) or yawning. Unfortunately the signs can also be very subtile such as: being of colour, losing condition, dullness of the coat, behavioural problems and more.
This condition is quite easily treatable with Omeprazole (for squamous ulcers) and Sucralfate (for glandular ulcers) for usually at least a month. Another important factor is the management of the horse. Reducing stress, giving multiple meals a day, ad libitum hay/haylage and a feed high in protein (13-14 %) are the main changes you can apply.
The horse will be re-scoped in a month's time to check whether the treatment has been success. An update will follow with the results.