Equine Stomach Ulcers-A Barrel-Racing Enthusiast Becomes a Believer

When barrel racer Jessica Abel of Holton, Kansas, tried to get her American Quarter Horse Flash N Frenchman ready for a run at the Lincoln Barrel Bash & Hawki Futurity, she was unpleasantly surprised.  “When I went to saddle him before the race on Friday, he was extremely agitated and was kicking and biting at me. His behavior was completely out of character; he just is not that kind of horse,” she says.

When Jessica shared his behavior and other clinical signs with her two veterinarians, they both made the presumptive diagnosis that Flash N Frenchman (also known as “Duke”) could be suffering from equine stomach ulcers.

Because of the travel distance required to have Duke undergo a gastric endoscopic examination, both veterinarians advised Jessica to forego the diagnostic procedure and try treating Duke using Gastrogard (omeprazole), the only FDA-approved product for the treatment of equine stomach ulcers.

“Three-meter endoscopes are expensive investments for veterinarians, so not every practice has one,” says Dr. April Knudson, equine specialist for Merial. “Even without gastric endoscopy, however, it is possible to make a presumptive diagnosis that a horse is likely to be suffering from equine stomach ulcers. By evaluating clinical signs such as a horse’s attitude, behavior, coat condition and eating habits, veterinarians can conclude stomach ulcers might be the problem and recommend treatment accordingly.”

Read the rest of this equine stomach ulcer article on America's Horse Daily.

Photo: Barrel racer Jessica Abel and her horse Flash N Frenchman prevent equine stomach ulcers caused by the stress of training and competing. Photo courtesy of Merial.