Post-Treatment Maintenance for Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS)

Across breeds and disciplines, equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is a common health issue for horses. This uncomfortable and painful condition can lead to severe health issues later on if left untreated. While AbPrazole (Omeprazole) and AbSucralfate (Sucralfate) are the gold standard in equine gastric ulcer treatment, maintenance is critical in order to prevent recurrence. To this end, this blog post will help horse owners and carers better understand post-ulcer treatment maintenance for equine gastric ulcer syndrome to keep your horse happy, healthy, and in peak performance. 


What Is a Gastric Ulcer and How Do Horses Get Them?


Gastric ulcers are lesions that form in the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach lining, mouth, throat, oesophagus, and intestines, due to a build-up of gastric acidic juices. Horses can develop ulcers for a variety of reasons, such as stress, irregular feeding schedules, high-grain diets with low forage, and extensive use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Horses have a unique digestive system best supported by a constant flow of forage. Disruptions to this natural grazing pattern is just one factor which can increase the risk of ulcers.


Clinical Signs of Gastric Ulcers in Horses


The best way to deal with gastric ulcers in horses is by recognising the warning signs early so treatment can begin. If you notice your horse has a poor appetite, recurrent colic, decreased performance, changes in behaviour, and is losing weight, they may be suffering from a gastric ulcer. The signs can be subtle, which is why it is essential for horse owners and carers to be vigilant and seek medical advice early on. 


AbPrazole (Omeprazole) and AbSucralfate (Sucralfate) Treatment


Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is best treated with AbPrazole (Omeprazole), which reduces stomach acid production, and AbSucralfate (Sucralfate), which coats the ulcer site and protects it from further damage. Depending on the severity of the condition, the treatment can range from four to eight weeks, during which it’s crucial to follow the vet’s instructions and attend follow-up appointments to assess the success of the treatment. These medications are incredibly effective. However, maintenance and preventative measures following the treatment are advised to ensure the best outcomes. 

Preventative Maintenance


Because horses are prone to gastric ulcers, treatment is best followed by medical maintenance and preventative measures. On successful completion of the course of AbPrazole (Omeprazole), it is best to follow the treatment at half the daily dose and then slowly ween the horse off the medication. It is best to then have a supply on hand to administer before any upcoming stressful event that may trigger excess acid secretion.

In addition, this ongoing maintenance process is complemented by administering AbSucralfate (Sucralfate) to protect your horse during stressful periods such as events, travel, and lifestyle changes. Sucralfate helps treat hindgut ulcers occurring in right dorsal colitis (RDC).

Additional Gastric Ulcer Prevention Methods


Along with medication, a range of other methods can be used to help prevent ulcers. These methods include limiting the use of NSAIDs, providing supplements that promote gut health, and reducing stress through social interactions with other horses.

Maintaining your horse’s gastric health takes care and attention to detail. By understanding the causes and signs of gastric ulcers, following the prescribed treatment plan, and following through with a maintenance strategy, managing the condition is feasible. The key to preventing gastric ulcers and their recurrence lies in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following the treatment advice of your vet.