The signs of gastric ulcers can be very difficult to recognise, but may include one or more of the following:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Poor performance
- Poor condition including dull coat
- Behavioural changes
- Mild or recurrent colic
Foals may also show teeth grinding, excess salivation and excessive lying down as well as infrequent nursing and diarrhoea. Sometimes an owner’s instinctive feelings tell them that their horse is acting out of character - or that something’s just not quite right. As gastric ulcers are a serious condition, contact your vet as soon as possible if you have any concerns.
How does a vet diagnose equine gastric ulcers?
While many signs can point to a horse having gastric ulcers, only a vet can diagnose them officially, using a 3 metre endoscope. If your vet thinks that your horse may have gastric ulcers, they can arrange for an endoscopy to be undertaken. It’s a relatively simple, painless procedure, in which a thin optical cable is passed into a horse’s stomach to check for ulceration.