1 in 3 horses suffer from gastric ulcers

What are equine gastric ulcers?

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome describes the erosion of the horse’s stomach lining, due to prolonged exposure to the acid produced by the stomach1.

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome spans a wide spectrum of severity, from an inflamed but intact stomach lining, through to widespread erosion and bleeding1. In extreme circumstances the condition develops to such an extent that perforation of the stomach can occur, and this can be fatal. Such fatalities most commonly occur in foals, rather than adult horses2.

A 4-point scoring system has been developed by vets to help classify the severity of equine ulcers, in which grades 2 or above are considered clinically significant3.

Ulcer severity scoring for grades 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4
Grade 0 - Stomach lining is intact, and there is no appearance of reddening Grade 0 - Stomach lining is intact, and there is no appearance of reddening Grade 1 - The mucosa is intact but there are areas of hyperaemia Grade 1 - Stomach lining is intact but there are areas of reddening
Grade 2 - Stomach has small single or multiple ulcers Grade 2 - Stomach has small single or multiple ulcers Grade 3 - Stomach has large single or multiple ulcers Grade 3 - Stomach has large single or multiple ulcers
Grade 4 - Stomach has extensive ulceration; often merge to give areas of deep ulceration Grade 4 - Stomach has extensive ulcers; often merge to give areas of deep ulceration