Why Use Gastroscopy? Currently, the only accurate and reliable way to diagnose gastric ulceration in horses is by endoscopic examination (gastroscopy). This technique allows examination of the stomach and identification of any ulceration, which can then be graded depending on how deep and how widespread it is.
The Procedure: Gastroscopy is performed under standing sedation and sometimes with the additional use of a twitch. The gastroscope is a 3.3 meter long flexible fibre optic camera that is inserted up one of the nostrils and passed down into the stomach. The stomach is then inflated with air to allow full examination of the different regions of the stomach. The specific model we use is a video scope so we will be able to show you what your horse’s stomach looks like. Some horses find the initial passing of the scope up the nostril a little unpleasant but the procedure itself is usually well-tolerated and takes around 30 – 40 minutes. Horses can travel home once the sedation has begun to wear off (usually after a further 30 minutes).
Treatment Options: If gastric ulcers are present in the stomach we will discuss treatment and management options with you. There is an oral treatment that we can prescribe that blocks acid production in the stomach. During and following treatment, management and feeding regimes must be optimised to prevent recurrence of gastric ulcers. Follow up gastroscopy can be arranged to monitor treatment progress.