Got Ulcers? Free Gastroscopy Event at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital

Horse owners still have an opportunity for a free gastroscopy exam of their horse at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital during the July 15 Merial Animal Health gastroscopy seminar. Merial conducts Gastroscopy seminars throughout the year at equine veterinary practices nationwide providing horse owners with the diagnostic examination for their horse at no charge with medication purchase required only for those patients identified with stomach ulcers. In addition to the free gastroscopy, medication discounts and specials are available to seminar participants.

Standard treatment protocol for horses diagnosed with gastric ulcers is to administer GastroGard orally once daily for 28 days at the rate of one tube per 1,250lbs of body weight. However, individual dosage and treatment recommendations are based on the horse's body weight and severity of ulcer. "I routinely recommend anywhere from 5 to 28 days treatment. I make the treatment recommendation based on the severity, distribution and area affected," reports DVM, MS, manager of Equine Veterinary Services for Merial. "Most non-racehorses get less than 28 days when I scope."

Seminar participants can purchase GastroGard® at the event for the discounted price of $32 per tube. Participants will also receive a $5 Rebate Coupon per tube of GastroGard for every tube purchased up to 28 tubes. An additional special of buy 6 tubes get one free will be offered to seminar participants only for UlcerGard purchases.

Rood & Riddle internal medicine specialists Bonnie Barr, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM; Peter Morresey, BVSc, Dipl. ACT, Dipl. ACVIM; and Steve Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM; along with Merial veterinarian Hoyt Cheramie, DVM, DACVS, will be on hand to perform gastroscopy exams and provide educational commentary to explain the procedure, exam results, and educational information on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers. Anyone interested in learning more about gastric ulcers in horses is welcome to attend the seminar at any time during the day, a horse is not required. Drs. Barr, Morresey, and Reed are available throughout the day to discuss gastric ulcers and answer questions.

Gastric ulcers are a common medical condition in horses and foals. Numerous publications have identified that up to 60% of show horses have ulcers and up to 90% of racehorses may develop gastric ulcers. There are many triggers for stomach ulcer development, and stress is an important factor. Horses may experience stress when exposed to situations that you might think of as normal routine such as training, travel, competition, shows or events, or changes in routine such as lay-up due to sickness or injury.

Clinical signs associated with gastric ulcers are numerous and often vague. Typical symptoms include poor performance, poor hair coat, picky eating, and colic. The diagnosis of gastric ulcers can sometimes be tricky because the signs can be subtle and easy to misinterpret. The gold standard of diagnosis is gastroscopy, which is visualization of the stomach with a 3 meter endoscope.

The primary goal of treatment is suppression of gastric acid which creates an environment conducive for healing. The most commonly used product is omeprazole, which is available under the brand name GastroGard, the only FDA approved treatment. Omeprazole is also available in a lower dose product, UlcerGard, for use as a preventative against recurrence in horses with a history of ulcers, or for use during times of stress.

Owners with horses that travel, compete, train or experience potentially stressful situations regularly, are invited to participate in this gastroscopy event. Gastroscopy appointments can be scheduled with Whitney Mathes at 859/233-0371 or by e-mail to wmathes@roodandriddle.com.

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