Equine practice are treating more gastric ulcers, according to a new industry survey, but more needs to be done to identify new cases.

Equine practice are successfully diagnosing and treating more gastric ulcers, according to a new industry survey, but more needs to be done to identify new cases.

More practices are scoping for ulcersAccording to animal health company Merial, growing numbers of practitioners are scoping for ulcers, however, numbers of scoped horses are far behind the believed incidence of gastric ulcers.

A survey by the manufacturer revealed:

  • the number of practices owning a scope has more than doubled in the past six years, and half of equine practices now own a scope;
  • over the same period the average number of monthly scopes has risen from 1.5 to 9.25; and
  • referrals from practices without a scope has risen by 65%.

 
“The survey also showed symptom recognition among vets prompting the need for an endoscopy has also risen,” said Merial vet Louise Radford.

“The vast majority of vets now consider changes in behaviour, loss of appetite and poor performance as potential signs. In addition, 100% of those surveyed would consider an endoscopy when presented with the signs of recurring colic.”

She added: “While this is great progress, when diagnosis is compared to the incidence of ulcer, we know more needs to be done. It is believed up to 30% of leisure horses have some degree of gastric ulceration, and this increases in sports horses, yet just a fraction of this figure represents those scoped.”

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