Gastroscopy is the only way to definitively tell if a horse has equine gastric ulcer sydrome.
Gastric ulcers have been shown to affect 60% of competition horses and 90% of racehorses. The number of pleasure horses affected is unknown but it is suspected to be around 50%. This means there is a 50/50 chance or greater that your horse is suffering from gastric discomfort of some sort.
The main predisposing factors include stall confinement, stress, withholding of food, a high grain diet and strenuous exercise with an empty stomach.
Many horses affected do not show obvious clinical signs of abdominal pain (ie. colic). The symptoms of EGUS include but are not limited to:
- poor performance
- back pain
- teeth grinding
- preferring to eat hay before grain
Gastroscopy involves passing a thin endoscope down into your horse's stomach after they have been held off food for 12-16 hours. They will be sedated for the procedure. Once in the stomach we can grade the ulcers and decide upon the best course of treatment for your horse specifically.
Upper and lower airway endoscopy helps the doctors investigate upper airway noise (roarers) and respiratory conditions such as Equine Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (bleeders) and equine asthma (heaves).
Problems in the respiratory tract are often a difficult to diagnose source of poor performance.
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