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Gastric Ulceration: Risk Factors For Development In The Equine

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Gastric ulceration is a multifactorial disease, and few specific causes have been identified in horses. Although Helicobacter pylori has been identified as a primary pathogenic agent in humans, an infection cause of ulceration has not been identified in horses. Risk factors for horses include stress from illness or hospitalization, NSAID administration, strenuous exercise, and altered eating habits. Horses that are not eating or held off feed have a greater gastric acidity than horses that are fed. In addition, horses that are fed concentrate have a lower gastric pH than horses consuming roughage. Conditions that delay gastric emptying, such as duodenal strictures, may cause severe ulceration of the stomach. Excessive administration of NSAIDS may cause ulceration of the glandular mucosa of the stomach.

Treatment of gastric ulceration includes decreasing gastric acidity, enhancing mucosal protection, and improving gastric emptying. Omeprazole has been used to decrease gastric acidity. Misoprostol and sucralfate are the two primary mucosal protectants. If gastric emptying is delayed, metoclopramide and bethanechol may be beneficial.

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