Not Your Average Equine Ulcer

Gastric disease develops most commonly in the squamous region, when stomach acid splashes onto that vulnerable area of tissue. Why it develops in the glandular region—and how to prevent and treat it—is less clear. Five researchers discuss what we do know about equine glandular gastric disease.
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Not Your Average Equine Ulcer
While researchers work to pinpoint the exact clinical signs of EGGD, gastroscopy (shown) is the gold-standard diagnostic. | Photo: Courtesy Danny Holbrook

What scientists are learning about the recently defined equine glandular gastric disease

Gastric ulcers are nearly ubiquitous in our domestic equine population. We know they plague anywhere from 50% to 90% of horses, particularly performance horses. But not all ulcers are created equal. In the past few years researchers officially split gastric disease into two categories: squamous, affecting the upper portion of the horse’s stomach, and glandular, a nonulcerative condition affecting the lower. Gastric disease develops most commonly in the squamous region, when stomach acid splashes onto that vulnerable area of tissue. Why it develops in the glandular region—and how to prevent and treat it—is less clear.

At the 2018 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, five researchers discussed what we do know about equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD). Here are their key takeaways.

Signs Your Horse Might Have EGGD

The typical clinical signs of equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD—just remember, S for squamous upper, G for glandular lower) are well-recognized. They include poor performance, attitude changes, weight loss, poor appetite, poor hair coat, and low-grade colic (abdominal pain/discomfort), among others

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Written by:

Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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