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Hello everyone and welcome to this guest blog on ulcers in horses. First I'll give a little introduction to myself, my name is Leah Grange and I am an Equine Veterinary nurse based in Somerset with six years of experience working in a large Equine referral hospital. Harry Hall has asked me to write up my experience on Gastric ulcers in horses, following my experiences with horses in the veterinary practice and also with my horse, Colin. At the end of this blog I hope you understand more about ulcers in horses and get a good idea of what’s in involved managing ulcers from a vet nursing and an everyday horse owners view.
What are gastric ulcers in horses; the causes and symptoms explained.
Gastric ulceration is generally caused by overproduction or excess stomach acid causing lesions and ulceration in the horse's stomach, this causes extreme discomfort. Ulcers in horses are graded from one to four with four being the most extreme ulceration. The main and most successful route of diagnosis is to have a Gastroscope procedure. In this procedure, the horse is starved for 12 - 18 hours beforehand, a camera is put down the oesophagus and into the stomach to look at the lining of the stomach including the pylorus which is the opening to the intestine from the stomach.
In my experience, ulcers in horses are usually secondary to another problem and the three main reasons are;
Orthopaedic pain, malnutrition and stress. With my horse Colin. malnutrition was definitely a contributing factor towards his condition as he came to me very unhealthy and undernourished.
Not every horse with ulcers loses weight