Another Route For Ulcer Treatment

Omeprazole paste is the gold standard when it comes to treating equine gastric ulcers syndrome. However, researchers at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine said because of its potency and long-acting effect, an intravenous formulation of omeprazole can be useful for horses with conditions, such as gastric reflux, anterior enteritis, and dysphagia, that can't be given the oral omeprazole paste. Frank M. Andrews, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor of large animal clinical sciences, presented the results of a preliminary study at the 24th Annual American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum held June 3 in Louisville, Ky.

Increased acidity (a low pH) in the horse's stomach can cause gastric ulcers. The lower the pH and the longer it remains at that level, the greater the severity of the ulcers. Andrews and his colleagues found that giving omeprazole IV increased the horse's gastric pH (more than doubled) within one hour after administration, and it remained at that level for at least 24 hours. The study examined six mares for five days that were housed in stalls on a typical diet. Ulcers were visually scored by gastroscopy. Gastric juice pH was also measured before administration and one hour and 24 hours after each administration of omeprazole.

When administered IV, omeprazole quickly increased gastric pH levels in the study horses within an hour, and levels remained steady for at least 24 hours.

"We had a significant increase in pH one hour after administration, and it maintained that pH 24 hours after the forth dose," said Andrews. "After the fifth dose, there was a fairly significant increase in pH to neutral levels."

Premier Pharmacy, in Weeki Wachee, Fla., funded the study.

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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