In the lead up to Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month in May, Merial Animal Health has announced details of this year’s exciting events, and has outlined results from the successful launch of an on-line risk assessment tool developed as part of last year’s GUAM initiative.  

In the lead up to Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month in May, Merial Animal Health has announced details of this year’s exciting events, and has outlined results from the successful launch of an on-line risk assessment tool developed as part of last year’s GUAM initiative.
 
Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month 2010 (May)Merial developed the online questionnaire to enable owners to evaluate their horse(s) risk of ulcers. By logging on to the website, owners, trainers and riders can complete a form which then returns the results via email.
 
Following completion of a simple tick box questionnaire, owners will be immediately emailed with the results. In cases where an animal is considered to be at medium to high risk, owners will be referred to their veterinary practice to discuss the outcome of the assessment and, if necessary, to book an appointment for further investigations.
 

Low Risk 46%
Medium Risk 21%
High Risk 33%

Since May 2009 more than 1,000 horse owners have visited the website and answered the risk assessment questions. Based on the answers received this has identified that 54% of the horses assessed had a medium to high risk of developing ulcers.
 
Merial spokesman Emma Batson said: “Significant progress has been made in developing awareness of equine gastric ulcer syndrome. However there is still more to do. Our goal is to move gastric ulcers further up the diagnostic process, such that the condition is an early consideration for all horses presenting with the vague symptoms associated with ulceration. The percentage of vets considering gastroscopy when presented with the following clinical signs has already dramatically increased.”
 

2008 2009
Poor Performance 23% 71%
Poor Appetite 23% 96%
Weight Loss 25% 90%
Change in behaviour 16% 61%
Poor condition 25% 61%
Recurrent colic 20% 84%

Table 1 (right) shows the percentage of vets that would consider gastroscopy based on presentation of the following clinical signs in 2008 and 2009.
 
Dr Batson said: “This is very encouraging as the resulting increase in the number of horses being diagnosed and treated for the condition can only be good news for horse welfare.”
 
Dr Emma    Batson“The symptoms of gastric ulcers can be vague and vary from one horse to another. While it is generally known that around 90% of racehorses in training have ulcers, it is perhaps less well known that about 60% of performance horses and 40% of leisure horses are also affected.
 
“This initiative has been developed in consultation with practising equine internal medicine specialists. We hope it will highlight more cases and encourage clients into the practice with horses that are at a genuine risk of ulcers. Further diagnosis, treatment and management measures can then be considered in consultation with the client.
 
“The website also has a veterinary page so that follow up information and any gastroscopy results can be recorded by the vet. We hope that this feedback will help generate some valuable data for the industry.”
 
GUAM CPD SEMINAR
A CPD seminar entitled “From the Outside In” is to be held on May 19 at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham. The event will include rafting activities in the afternoon and includes the following presentations:

  • EGUS – more than just racehorses! Diagnosis and treatment of cases from practice
    Dr Tim Brazil BVSc, PhD, Cert EM(Internal Medicine), DECEIM, MRCVS of Equine Medicine on the Move
  • ERU: New treatments for an old disease?
    David Donaldson BVSc(Hons), DipECVO MRCVS, European Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology, Animal Health Trust
  • The worm that turned: small strongyles and drug resistance
    Professor Jacqui Matthews BVMS PhD MRCVS Moredun Chair of Veterinary Immunobiology, University of Edinburgh & The Moredun Research Institute
  • Crusting and scaling skin diseases in the horse
    Andy Durham BSc, BVSc, Cert EP, DEIM, Dip.ECEIM, MRCVS (RCVS & European specialist in Equine Internal Medicine) of Liphook Equine Hospital

For further information on the event please contact Bev Archer at bev.archer@merial.com.
 
GASTROSCOPY TRAINING COURSE
To be held at House and Jackson, Essex on May 6, this practical course aims to teach effective gastroscopy via “hands on” small group instruction (max 4 per group). During the practical sessions you will be coached by three instructors and you will be taught the skills required to perform a through gastroscopy examination. Two lectures over lunch will review the aetiology and treatment of equine gastric ulceration syndrome. The course is suitable for all levels of vets in general and specialist equine practice and failure to reach the pylorus will not be an option. Contact the BEVA office for more details.

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