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New Options for Horses with Stomach UlcersBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 20, 2016

Equine gastric ulcer syndrome, or EGUS, remains a common and important cause of poor performance, dull and lusterless hair coats, and colic. Prevention of and treatment options for EGUS rely heavily on changes in dietary management of affected animals together with the use of FDA-approved omeprazole products.

While many horses respond well to omeprazole, others do not, including those with ulcers of the glandular part of the stomach, rather than the squamous region. Further, only two FDA-approved products, both paste formulations, are currently available in the United States.

Recently, researchers based in Italy put a different type of omeprazole product to the test. In their study*, horses were offered omeprazole in gastro-resistant granules rather than a paste under the impression that different formulations might work better in the gastric region, as previous studies have shown. For example, one group reported large differences in pharmacokinetics (the way the drug is absorbed, distributed, and eliminated) between plain and enteric-coated granules in horses.

In the current study, horses were offered omeprazole in the form of gastro-resistant granules. Dosages were either 4 or 12 mg/kg once daily for 90 days.

Researchers found that the gastro-resistant granules were well tolerated, even at doses up to three times the recommended levels and three times as long as typically recommended. No clinically significant alterations in routine blood parameters (e.g., complete blood cell count, serum biochemistry) occurred, and omeprazole did not accumulate in the horses’ bodies.

While the scientists and pharmaceutical companies continue to explore ulcer-fighting options, consider consulting with a Kentucky Equine Research (KER) nutritionist to ensure your horse’s diet is appropriate. Further, KER offers several products to support gastrointestinal health, including RiteTrac, which quickly neutralizes excessive gastric acid, protecting the stomach lining and restoring the normal gastric environment. In Australia, look for these research-proven products.

*Di Salvo, A., S. Busechian, F. Zappulla, et al. Pharmacokinetics and tolerability of a new formulation of omeprazole in the horse. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. In press.