We are now able to offer both field and in-clinic gastroscopies which allow for the visualization of your horse’s esophagus, stomach, and opening to their small intestine. We do these in our clinic on-site to ensure good pre-scoping fasting. Owners need to trailer in the afternoon before 3:30, and the horse will fast until their scoping first thing in the morning. The most common use for this is the diagnosis of gastric ulcers but is also useful in detecting masses or strictures in the esophagus which could lead to choking or other issues.
Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is a very common problem among horses that are stressed while in training or confinement. EGUS develops when there is an imbalance between acid within the stomach and the protective factors such as mucus secretion and bicarbonate.
Clinical signs that your horse may exhibit would include acute or recurrent colic, poor body condition, poor performance, decreased appetite, rough/dull hair coat, teeth grinding, and attitude changes. Severity of the clinical signs does not always correlate with the severity of gastric ulcers, but it is a significant disorder that affects a horse’s performance, appetite, and temperament.
The diagnosis of EGUS is based on the presence of clinical signs and confirmation with endoscopic examination. A presumptive diagnosis can be made by clinical signs and response to treatment, but definitive diagnosis needs to be confirmed with an endoscopic examination. We can perform gastroscopy at your farm or in our clinic. Gastric ulcers are graded 1-4 based on the thickening of the mucosa of the stomach and the size and location of the ulcers.
Dr.Patteson and Dr.Neist performing a gastroscopy
in the field.
Grade 3+ gastric ulcerations on the squamous
A normal stomach