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Approximately 60% of horses and ponies in the UK will have gastric ulceration.

Any horse can be affected by equine gastric ulceration syndrome. Risk factors associated with breed, diet, daytime forage access, intermittent water access, exercise intensity and companionship have all been suggested to play a role in causing gastric ulceration.

Equine Gastric Ulcers

The majority of horses with gastric ulcers do not show any outward clinical signs but may have more subtle symptoms such as:

  • Poor performance
  • Behavioural changes
  • Ridden behaviours such as napping, rearing & bucking
  • Poor body condition or recent weight loss
  • Selective eating or poor appetite
  • Recurrent episodes of colic
  • Poor coat condition

The only reliable method to diagnose equine gastric ulcer syndrome is by performing gastroscopy. A gastroscope is a 3m long endoscopic video camera inserted up the nostril, down the oesophagus and into the stomach.

What to expect…

Before the procedure it is important that your horse is starved overnight in our clinic so the vet can see inside the stomach with a gastroscope.

  • Your horse will be given sedation and stand in the stocks for the procedure.
  • The gastroscope will last approximately 15-20 minutes and is very well tolerated by horses.
  • The gastroscope is a 3m long endoscopic video camera inserted into the nostril, down the oesophagus to view the stomach.
  • There are typically no side effects from the procedure although some horses may experience a slight nose bleed.
  • Once all areas of the stomach have been assessed our vets will thoroughly explain any diagnosis and form a treatment plan.

If you suspect that your horse has gastric ulcer, please contact us.

Demonstration of Gastroscope