In recent years, it was discovered that many horses have gastric ulcers. It is estimated that up to 90% of racehorses, 60% of competing horses, and 50% of foals have gastric ulcers.
Ulcers are caused by stressful situations, such as:
  • Traveling
  • Competing
  • Weaning
  • Hospitalization
  • Training
  • Exercise
  • Social regrouping
  • Unfamiliar environments
  • An inconsistent feeding schedule
Symptoms of gastric ulcers in horses are:
  • Altered eating / drinking behavior
  • Weight loss
  • Recurrent colic
  • Change in attitude (for the worse)
  • Less-than-optimal performance
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor coat
The only way to definitively diagnose the presence of gastric ulcers in a horse is through a Gastroscopic Examination. A small camera in a flexible cable is passed through the nostril, down the esophagus, and into the stomach to examine the stomach lining to check for the presence of ulcers. The horse must be fasted and sedated for the exam.
Massachusetts Equine Clinic is able to perform Gastroscopic Exams either in the hospital or at your farm. If gastric ulcers are present, the only approved treatment for equine ulcers is Gastrogard, a daily paste. The frequency and duration of treatment is determined based on the severity of the ulcers.
Mass Equine is now offering monthly reduced rate gastroscope clinics every 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call to inquire.