Owners who’ve had horses with gastric ulcers know firsthand how frustrating—and expensive—it is to manage animals with this often chronic condition. And with an estimated 75% of horses suffering from gastric ulcers, it’s no surprise that treatment and prevention of the condition—which is common enough to have its own acronym, EGUS (equine gastric ulcer syndrome)—has become big business.

The array of products, supplements, ingredients, and botanicals touted as the next “big thing” in EGUS management, as well as anecdotal success stories found online, left Frank Andrews, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, and his research team at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine, wondering about the validity of company and consumer claims.

Andrews presented the results of his study, “Effect of a Supplement (SmartGut Ultra) on Gastric Ulcer Scores and Gastric Juice pH,” at the 2013 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, held June 12-15 in Seattle, Wash.

"Many supplements are marketed on the Internet (for treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers in horses), including one I call ‘faith,’ but little is known about their effectiveness,’” Andrews said. “When horse owners feed these advertised antiulcer supplements they’re literally ‘going on faith,’ because there’s very little scientific information available on the efficacy of these products in horses."

The clinical success of the drug omeprazole (marketed as GastroGard) to treat gastric ulcers is well documented in the equine veterinary industry. L