Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

By Dr. Garrett Metcalf, DVM

Just about every horse owner has heard of or had to deal with gastric ulcers in a horse. The topic comes up between horse owners and veterinarians almost daily, especially among high performing athletes. Gastric ulcers in horses have long been an underlying performance hindering issue for equine athletes for decades. With more research, different feeding techniques and good treatment options, gastric ulcers can be well managed in the majority of horses.

Gastric ulcers are a very painful sore or erosion of the protective barrier to the very acidic gastric secretions of the stomach. Many people with gastric ulcers experience a prolonged burning sensation in the abdomen especially while eating, decreased appetite, nausea, and bloating. There has been a really well documented link to bacteria called Helicobacter in humans to gastric ulcers, but no such link has been made in horses.

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