Gastroscopy allows visualization of the esophagus and stomach to check for ulceration. Gastric ulcerations are erosions of the stomach lining due to prolonged exposure to acid produced by the stomach. Gastric ulcers are graded on a scale of 0-4. A grade of 0 is normal, no erosions or ulcerations present where as a grade of 4 is extensive ulceration. Recent research reports that about 75% of competition horses have some grade of ulcers present. Symptoms seen with equine gastric ulcer syndrome are: weight loss, poor appetite especially for grain, intermittent colic, and general unthriftness. Southern Equine Service has a 3 meter gastroscope that attaches to a full screen so both the doctor and client can view the horse's stomach lining. Gastroscopy is a simple procedure, the fasted horse is lightly sedated and the scope is passed through the nasal passage down the esophagus into the stomach.
If you have scheduled a gastroscope with us we have important feeding instructions prior to the scoping because the stomach must be empty so that the lining can be observed. Please take the horse off all feed (grain, hay, grass) 12 hours prior to the scoping. If the horse is prone to eat shavings or straw when hungry please place a muzzle on the horse. If you can not lock the horse up in a stall and it is turned out on grass please place a muzzle on it. Please remove water 3 hours prior to the scoping. If you are trailering in for the appointment please make sure the horse does not eat any hay, grain or treats on the trailer.
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