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Gastroscopy in the Equine Patient!

Gastroscopy is a procedure that uses a 3 meter endoscope to visualize the horse’s stomach. The long scope is passed through the nose, to the esophagus, and into the stomach. The horse must be fasted 12 hours prior to the procedure to allow complete visualization of the stomach. The procedure is not painful, however mild sedation is usually administered to minimize any stress. The procedure only last approximately 15-20 minutes.

Gastroscopy is the only way to accurately diagnose stomach ulcers. The light and camera on the end of the endoscope allow the veterinarian to observe the stomach lining. Gastic ulcers can form for a variety of reasons. Stress (both environmental and physical) is a major factor correlated with ulcers, along with gastric motility, and chronic administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Weight loss, attitude changes, colic, and poor performance are a few of the common signs of gastric ulcers. However, often horses with gastric ulcers do not show any outward symptoms. 

Parasite infestation can also be seen during a gastroscope procedure.

Inhibiting gastric acid secretion is the mainstay of gastric ulcer treatment. An Omeprazole paste is often prescribed to treat the ulcers. Changing feeding routines and environmental factors also need to be addressed to help prevent ulcers from reoccurring. Limiting stressful situations, frequent feedings and free-choice access to grass or hay is imperative; this provides a constant supply of feed to neutralize the acid and stimulate saliva production.

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  • Penny King, Oblong IL

    I can’t say enough about Dr. Stone & his staff. They go above & beyond & take the extra mile to take care of your horses needs. They really care about what your horse really needs.

    They have been up all night with emergency colic surgery with a positive outcome. They saved a foal that was born three weeks early. I can’t even begin to tell everything we have been thru together. But I can tell you one thing, they don’t come any better than Dr. Stone & his staff. They are like family to our horses & us.”