Various clinical pictures lead us to consider gastric ulcers in our patients. Some of the most common presentations include recurring mild colic, sensitivity around the girth, flank and abdomen, horses that just don’t seem right and no other obvious cause is identified, poor doing horses, anxious horses, and horses that experience high levels of stress.
Endoscopy is used to visualize all the structures of the proximal gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, the glandular and non-glandular portions of the stomach, the pylorus in the glandular portion of the stomach, and when possible, the proximal duodenum through the pyloric outflow. This allows us to diagnose both glandular and non-glandular ulcers and develop a treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs. Gastric ulcer medications are expensive and diagnosing specifically which medications a patient needs and determining how long to treat with recheck gastroscopy can help us tailor treatment and save owners money and time on unnecessary treatments in addition to providing the best treatment plan for our patient.
In order to get a quality view of the inside of the stomach, horses need to be held off of feed for 24 hours prior to their gastroscopy appointment and held off water 6 hours prior to their appointment. This can be completed at home, or horses can be brought to the clinic for fasting. It is extremely important to pull all feed and not allow horses to be able to even pick up scraps left in a stall. Horses can also be dropped off the day before their appointment to avoid early morning hauling.
We recommend checking with your insurance company if they will cover scoping the stomach and treatment.