Gastroscopy - to detect Gastric Ulcers

Gastroscopy involves imaging the inside of the horse’s stomach and is most commonly carried out in order to diagnose equine gastric ulcers. The procedure involves using a 3.5 metre long flexible video endoscope which allows visual examination of the stomach lining. Only sedation is required and most horses tolerate the procedure very well.

Symptoms of gastric ulceration in the horse are often vague and can include:

  • Poor performance
  • Changes in behaviour or grumpy temperament
  • Picky appetite
  • Weight loss/ failure to maintain condition
  • Colic
  • Girthing pain or resistance to girthing
  • Resistance to riding aids
  • Poor Coat condition

It is important to note

  • Horses can display no clinical signs, yet have potentially severe gastric ulcers when confirmed by gastroscope.
  • Clinical signs of stomach ulceration can often be mistaken for other conditions or a behavioural problem.

Gastroscopy can be carried out at our clinic or at your yard. In either case your horse must be starved overnight in order to get a good picture of their stomach lining without it being obscured by food material.

We recommend:

  • Your horse receives their last feed at 6pm the night before
  • They are stabled on inedible bedding (e.g. shavings)
  • Hay and feed buckets are removed after last feed
  • Water is allowed up until 2 hours prior to the exam.
  • No hay net whilst travelling to the clinic.


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