Categories: HAPPA Facts, Latest News552 words2.2 min read



January 5, 2016



What are Gastric Ulcers?
There are two main types; Squamous Ulcers are found in the top white-coloured third of the stomach, they form quickly and are consistently associated with changes in appetite, slowed eating, poor performance and changes in behaviour.
Glandular Ulcers affect the pink bottom two-thirds of the stomach. They form slowly and the physical signs are more variable. Some horses may start to react to the tightening of the girth but signs are not specific.
What are the causes?
Squamous Ulcers- daytime forage deprivation, lack of access to water, high starch diets, pellet feeds, straw feeding, travel or perhaps a change in daily routine.
Glandular ulcers- physical ailments, toxic ingestion, bacterial infections.
Prevention of ulcers
Feeding- roughage is vital-hay/haylage; alfa cubes; chopped hay. Giving multiple forage sources can also help (e.g. hang 2-3 hay nets or several piles with different sources of hay or haylage). Ensure there is a form of roughage added to the feeds to encourage plenty of chewing when eating.
Antacid supplements help to neutralise the acid and can be useful to help prevent recurrence, this will be advised by your Veterinary Surgeon upon diagnosis.
Small amounts of fibre fed 10-15 minutes before exercise helps to stimulate saliva production by chewing, which neutralises the acid plus provides a mat in the stomach to absorb the acid. Oil added to feed twice daily may also help to prevent ulcers in the glandular region.
Case study
HAPPA Cracker
Rescued by HAPPA November 2014 Cracker arrived at the Centre as a Stallion, he had been kept stabled with minimal turnout or socialisation with other equines. He showed signs of aggressive behaviour which improved after gelding. This improved a little more with regular turnout and plenty of roughage. He had a good appetite but variable body condition.
Cracker would also self-traumatise quite badly, biting at his sides and flank, this would happen sporadically and we could not find a reason for this. He could be very reactive to his environment and tended to appear very grumpy.
The Centre team decided to investigate his behaviour as it began to increase in severity. Cracker was  Gastroscoped here at the Centre by a professional in October 2015.
Gastroscopy findings
Cracker was diagnosed with Squamous Mucosa; Grade 3-4 ulcers. The Squamous ulcers were extensive and appeared chronic he was prescribed an oral omeprazole to treat the ulcers.
Cracker received a 4mg/kg (full dose according to bodyweight) of oral omeprazole once daily for 4 weeks this was given on an empty stomach for maximum effect. His normal breakfast was given 10-15 minutes later.
Cracker was re scoped on the 10/11/2015 and the results were amazing his Squamous ulcers had reduced to Grade 1 with good healing of the previous extensive ulcers. His general body condition had improved and his coat was now gleaming.
Cracker’s Future
Although we will have to keep a close eye on Cracker’s behaviour for changes which may indicate a reoccurrence of his ulcers, he is now starting the backing process and seems to enjoy his work. He is managed well by the Equine Care Team, has daily turnout and a bespoke diet to minimise the risk of a reoccurrence. We hope to find Cracker a Forever Home when his rehabilitation journey is complete.