The incidence of equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is steadily increasing and is recognized as a major problem in horses and foals. Approximately 50% of horses with ulcers show no outward signs, despite significant ulceration of their stomach (see above). Clinical signs of EGUS can vary, and range from a mild change in attitude and poor performance to out right colic.

With the increased awareness of EGUS, owners, riders and trainers are picking up on the more subtle signs of their equine companions and investigating what could potentially be a career limiting problem. Here at the South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center, we are happy to perform a gastroscopy on your horse. Suspicion of EGUS as a cause for attitude change, poor performance, poor condition, or chronic colic is an indication for gastroscopy.

The procedure requires that the horse fast for a minimum of 12-16 hours. Often we admit horses into the hospital the night before a scheduled procedure to ensure that they are fasted properly and to eliminate any anxiety over seeing other horses in the barn fed. The owner/trainer, if interested, then comes to the clinic at the scheduled time of the procedure. Prior to the procedure the horse will receive mild sedation. A thin 3 meter long fiberoptic scope is then passed through the nose and into the stomach by way of the esophagus. Our video endoscopic unit allows the image(s) to be viewed by all on a tv monitor. We can visualize the mucosa (inside lining) of both the esophagus and the stomach and detect anything from mild excoriation (grade 1) to deep ulceration (grade 3) (See ‘Ulcer severity scoring’ above). If ulcers are detected in your horse, depending on the severity, specific treatment options are discussed and the appropriate recommendations made.

Click here for a presentation on: Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS)