Many thanks to everyone who came along to our evening Colic talk last night. Our vet Harriet gave a great talk on what to look out for & how to react to Colic, followed by a video showing what is involved in gastroscopy kindly provided by Boehringer who also supplied our lovely food. Lastly we finished the evening with a talk from Brooke, Action For Working Horses and Donkeys who kindly came along to tell us more about the great work they do. Along with a donation from Milbourn Equine Vets and the proceeds from our raffle we are pleased to say we can donate a whopping £369.52 to help towards the great work that Brooke does. Thank you to everyone for all their support.
The only way to definitively diagnose equine gastric ulcers is by gastroscopy.
What is gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is the diagnostic test that involves passing a flexible camera down the horse’s oesophagus and into the stomach. This allows us to see the inside of the horse’s stomach and look for any signs of ulcers.
- Horses are sedated to reduce anxiety and stress
- Takes around 15 – 20 minutes
- Not painful
What are the advantages of gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is the only diagnostic test available that is definitive for equine gastric ulcers.
- Reliable and straightforward test
- Distinguish between squamous and glandular ulcers
It is important to distinguish between squamous and glandular ulcers as the recommended management and treatment is dependent on the location and severity of the ulcers.
Take advantage of our gastroscopy clinic offer!
During our October clinics we will be offering one week’s free treatment for any horse diagnosed with equine gastric ulcers following gastroscopy.
First Timers £150.00 including sedation for horses being scoped for the first time
£200.00 for all other horses
Please note: Any medication or hospitalisation if needed will be extra
Scoping in your yard is also available by appointment – please ring for details
To book your horse in please phone us.
Gastric ulcers affect over 50% of horses1 and can affect any horse at any age. There are two forms of equine gastric ulcers; squamous ulcers and glandular ulcers. These two forms of the disease relate to the two regions of the equine stomach.
The lighter pink, squamous region of the equine stomach sits above the darker pink, acid-producing glandular region. In normal circumstances it does not come into contact with gastric acid and therefore has no natural defences against the erosive effects of the acid.
In some circumstances the squamous region does come into contact with gastric acid. Repeated or prolonged exposure results in the formation of squamous ulcers1.
The underlying cause of glandular ulcers is not well understood and is the focus of much study. They are found in the darker pink, glandular region of the stomach. The glandular region is responsible for the production of gastric acid and therefore has natural defences in place to protect the stomach wall from any damage caused by acid. It is thought that glandular ulcers result from a breakdown in these natural defences, therefore making the stomach lining more susceptible to the erosive effects of gastric acid1.
Do you know the signs?
- Poor performance
- Change in behaviour
- reduced appetite
- Pain on girth tightening
- Poor body condition
- Weight loss
Which horses have an increased risk of gastric ulcers?
Several risk factors have been shown to increase the likelihood of equine gastric ulcers:
- Change of routine
- Intense work2
- Intermittent access to water1
- Erratic feeding and feeding ‘concentrates’1
- Box rest
If your horse experiences any of the factors above, any changes you can make to reduce the impact of these will help reduce their risk of developing gastric ulcers. However, there are some circumstances where one or more of the risk factors are unavoidable, for example travelling to competitions. In these situations please call us to discuss preventative treatments that may be suitable.
What to do if you suspect your horse could have a gastric ulcer.
If you’re worried about gastric ulcers in your horse, please phone us to discuss.
- Sykes BW, et al. ECEIM Consensus Statement – EGUS in Adult Horses. J Vet Intern Med 2015; 29: 1288-1299.
- Lorenzo-Figueras M et al. Effects of exercise on gastric volume and pH in the proximal portion of the stomach of horses. AVJR 2002; 63(11): 1481-1487
- McClure SR et al. Gastric ulcer development in horses in a simulated show or training environment. JAVMA 2005; Vol 227 (5): 775-777
We recommend that all horses undergo a dental examination at least once a year. Some horses such as those expected to perform at a high level and those with specific dental abnormalities might benefit from more frequent examinations.
Our vets have all received full dentistry training during their time at University and are more than happy to carry out dental treatment on your horse. In addition they can also administer drugs such as sedatives, local anaesthetics and pain killer drugs allowing safer more comfortable treatment. Rasping can also be combined with one of our £10 Zone Visits making us very competitively priced as well as additional discounts if your horse is a member of our Equine Healthcare Plan. Why not call us to find out more!
A survey commissioned by the Redwings Horse Sanctuary found that only 13% of yards test for Strangles on arrival of a new horse, but also that 78% of owners would welcome screening of new arrivals.
Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that is commonly seen in the equine world. It is spread by direct contact with an infected horse or by sharing equipment e.g. buckets. The signs of infection are a thick nasal discharge, swollen glands and high temperature. The disease can, although rare, be fatal. Affected yards are recommended to cease movement on and off until the infection has cleared which can take several weeks. A small percentage of horses that contract Strangles can become carriers whereby they show no external symptoms but still harbour the bacteria.
A blood test is available to detect antibodies against Strangles which are made when the body encounters the Strangles bacteria. The main use of this blood test is to screen new arrivals to a yard for Strangles before they come onto the yard. The results will either come back as negative, borderline or positive.
A negative result means the horse is sfae to move but should still be kept in isolation for 2 weeks as the blood test does not detect horses who have been exposed to Strangles within the previous 14 days.
A borderline result would want re-testing in approximately 14 days to see if the result becomes either positive or negative.
A positive result means that the horse has been exposed to Strangles within the past 6 months although it may not be showing clinical symptoms. A horse with a borderline or positive result should not be accepted on to a yard without further investigation. If a horse has a positive result, then this horse should ideally receive an endoscopy to perform a gutteral pouch wash. This samples the back of the throat to check for the Strangles bacteria and is usually found in carrier horses. Carrier horses would require further specialised treatment over several weeks.
We would encourage all yard owners to consider instigating a policy to test new arrivals for strangles on the above basis.
More information Strangles Leaflet
Throughout August we are offering a 20% discount on the cost of Strangles blood testing. This can be done on a Zone Visit and results typically take 2-3 working days to come back.
Looking forward to a great weekend at Chilham on 28th and 29th July. Our Milbourn Equine vets will be there providing their services for the horse trials. Both Milbourn & Cinque Ports Vets will be at their tradestand all weekend so come and see us for lots of freebies! http://ow.ly/TdOW30kvW9g