Gastroscopy involves visualisation of the inside of the horse’s stomach and is most commonly carried out in order to diagnose equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS). The procedure involves using an extra long 3 metre flexible video endoscope which allows direct examination of the stomach lining. It is carried out under sedation and is well tolerated by most horses.
Gastric ulcerations are very common. Recent studies have shown approximately 80-90% of racehorses, over 60% in competition horses, up to 50% of leisure horses and 50% of foals are affected with gastric ulcers with a range of severity.
Equine gastric ulcers can be caused by excessive exposure of the mucosal lining of the stomach to acidic gastric juice. This causes erosion of the lining resulting in ulceration and even bleeding . Ulcers are commonly seen in the upper squamous lining as this has limited protection against acid injury.
Symptoms are often vague and can include:
- Poor performance
- Changes in behaviour or grumpy temperament
- Picky appetite
- Weight loss/ failure to maintain condition
- Girthing pain or resistance to girthing
- Resistance to riding aids
- Poor coat condition
It is important to note horses can display no clinical signs, yet have potentially severe gastric ulcers when confirmed by gastroscope. Also clinical signs of stomach ulceration may be vague and can often be mistaken for other conditions or behavioural problems.
Gastric ulcers are graded on severity from 0-4. This allows us to monitor healing and evaluate the efficacy of treatment. Once diagnosed gastric ulcers can be treated quickly and effectively with medication and horses usually return to their former level of performance. We will monitor your horse’s treatment progress with regular visits and gastroscopy and may also suggest management and feeding changes.
Milbourn Equine offer twice monthly gastroscope clinics at Benenden and Ashford (Sevington), where you can book in to bring your horse along for a gastroscope at a reduced price.
How do I arrange for my horse to be Gastroscoped?
Gastroscopy can be carried out at our clinics in Ashford (Sevington) and Benenden. Horses must be starved prior to the procedure in order to ensure that the stomach is empty. In order to facilitate this it is possible to have your horse admitted to the clinic the day before the procedure (Ashford clinic only). To arrange an appointment or to discuss your horse’s symptoms with a vet please contact one of the clinics.
If you decide to admit your horse on the day of the procedure you must:
- Give your horse their last feed at 6pm the night before
- Stabled on inedible bedding
- Remove hay and feed bucket after last feed
- Water must be taken away as early as possible on the morning of the procedure
- No hay net whilst travelling to the clinic
Please remember to bring your horse’s bridle with you when bringing your horse to the clinic.
Benenden Dates 2019:
- 16th January
- 13th February
- 13th March
- 10th April
- 8th May
- 5th June
- 3rd July
- 31st July
Sevington Dates 2019:
- 5th Feb
- 5th March
- 2nd April
- 7th May
- 4th June
- 2nd July
- 6th August
- 3rd September
Clinic Gastroscope Days – Special Offer
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