Your Equine animal health professional
We are an equine care provider, providing first opinion medicine and ambulatory service to our community across Tauranga and the Western Bay. This growing area of our practice is serviced by Dr Marcus Allan and our in house veterinarians who have a special interest in equine medicine and surgery.
Medical and surgical problems are dealt with in a timely and compassionate way. We use our industry contacts to give you an affordable referral service with access to equine specialists for in-depth treatment.
Preventative health programmes such as wellness, teeth, vaccination and parasitic programs can be tailored to your needs.
Equine health in Tauranga – All your needs are covered
We offer you and your horses:
- Consultations and visits for unwellness, lameness, injuries, colic, vaccinations, worming and referral to specialists when required.
- Routine dentistry
- Health management programs and products
- Vaccination programs and parasite control advice
- Information about equine health
- Lameness and poor performance exams
- Portable digital radiography
- Portable ultrasonography
- Pre-purchase exams
- Reproductive services
- General medicine service
- Access to dedicated equine facilities for safe handling and examination of horses
- Afterhours service
- Close working relationship with referral equine clinic
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome
Two forms of gastric ulceration exist, one occurring within the squamous (non-glandular) portion of the stomach and the other occurring in the glandular portion of the stomach. They may occur independently or concurrently.
Prevalence is between 11-95% of horses depending on discipline and management.
Causes of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome:
• Discontinuous/intermittent feeding.
– Horses are biologically continuous grazers and gastric acid secretors.
• ‘Unused’ free acid in the stomach readily splashes onto the squamous wall of the stomach during exercise causing ‘acid burn’, common in:
– Housed horses.
– Ponies with metabolic syndrome on restricted diets.
• Prolonged courses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone.
Clinical signs seen include:
• Failure to thrive
• Poor coat quality
• Weight loss
• Behavioral changes
• Mild colic
• Exercise intolerance / poor performance
• Wind sucking
Once present, ulcers rarely heal by themselves (<10%). Putting a horse out to pasture without treating its ulcers may not result in resolution.
Be careful of non-approved omeprazole products. They are a recognized cause of treatment failures. These products are seldom formulated correctly nor carry the necessary quality control guarantees. Also beware of unsubstantiated claims on nutraceuticals and other supplements.
• Registered gastric ulcer medication for stomachs in the pre-ulcer phase and for those that have ulceration present (can only be confirmed by gastroscoping).
• If prescribed a registered omeprazole product, administer the treatment at the same time each day, ideally first thing in the morning when gastric fluid pH is at its most acidic, and dose at least 30-60min before feeding.
• Ideally administer a dose of treatment at least 60min prior to exercise.
• Registered gastric ulcer medications (omeprazole) are a restricted veterinary medicine and has to be prescribed by a veterinarian.
• Give a small amount of feed (roughage) prior to exercise – absorbs acid that is splashing around during exercise.
• Reduce the amount of fermentable starch (i.e. grain) in the diet as these are strong promotors of acid secretion.
– Grain can be replaced with omega 3 oils to help maintain caloric requirements.
– Increase access to pasture grazing.
– Always have hay continuously available to the horse.
• Treat horses susceptible to ulcers at times of increased stress or activity (e.g. prolonged transport, competition, heavy training schedule, etc.).
• The bulk of the horse’s diet should be comprised of digestible fiber from grass and hay sources. This will stimulate less acid production in the stomach.
• Lucerne hay has a high concentration of calcium carbonate which helps buffer gastric acid.
• House horse in paddock on pasture or allow continuous access to hay.
• Care with other medications such as phenylbutazone which can cause stomach ulcer development.
• Limit stress as much as possible.