Ongoing studies carried out by Merial Health have found that 76% of elite event horses have gastric ulceration, between 98-100% of racehorses in training are effected and 50% of leisure horses also suffer from the problem.
But with this alarmingly high proportion of competition horses being diagnosed with stress-related gastric ulcers, what are the facts and what is just myth?
• If your horse hasn’t had colic it won’t get stomach ulcers
Fiction: Less than 3% of racehorses with ulceration have had colic.
• Gastroscopy is a non-invasive procedure
Fact: Scoping for stomach ulcers is not difficult or painful. It takes about 10min
and there is very little discomfort for the horse.
• If my horse is turned out regularly it won’t get ulcers
Fiction: A study carried out on racehorses in New Zealand in 2004 showed that those who were trained from pasture still had a high level of ulceration. Also, turning a horse out with gastric ulcers will not cure him. A dramatic change of routine such as this will lead to increased stress.
Video from the equine team at Towcester Veterinary Clinic
For the full article on gastric ulcers, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (7 May, ’09)