We are excited to bring you all news of a new service offered by our clinic. One of the most common chronic problems many performance horses can have due to the stress of competition is gastric ulceration. According to recent studies using hundreds of horses across the country, a conservative estimate reveals that as many as 60% of horses have gastric ulcers. This estimate gets significantly higher as you look closely at the population of athletic performance horses only.
Treatment of gastric ulcers can be very expensive, it is therefore important for you as an owner to have the correct diagnosis before beginning this treatment process. A months worth of gastrogard is usually prescribed for the treatment of ulcers and can cost upwards of $1,000. The only definitive way to diagnose this disease is by direct visualization of the ulcers inside the stomach along the gastric mucosa. Blood work can sometimes be suggestive of ulcers, but cannot confirm the problem. Seeing as the need to make the correct diagnosis for the best possible treatment is our primary goal at Boulder valley vet, we are proud to announce that we have just invested in a 3.3 meter video endoscope that is ready for use. The scope is fully portable, allowing us to examine your horse on the farm instead of hauling your horse to the nearest referral center. It is also fully digital and allows digital video and picture capture for your records and referral consultation.
to the diagnosis of gastric ulcers, the scope is also instrumental in several other ways. Horses that choke, can often have tearing along their esophagus that will lead to stricture and recurrent choke. The scope will enable us to identify those cases and begin early treatment. Although this particular endoscope is long enough to reach the stomach, standard upper airway exams may still be performed with the added benefit of the digital monitor and video capabilities.
Here are some common presenting complaints for a horse with gastric ulceration: