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Gastritis in Horses

Gastritis in Horses

Gastritis is defined as "acute or chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa," and this may be due to a number of causes, such as inadequate food handling, frequent stress, some types of worms, dental dysfunction and even mechanical damage to the stomach wall by ingestion of physically "coarse" foods.
The stomach of the horses physiologically produces Hcl (hydrochloric acid), with the function of chemically digesting the food bolus, which is the food apprehended plus the saliva, chewed and subsequently ingested and directed to the stomach. Also in the stomach mucus is produced with function of protecting the bowel wall from acidic pH of the stomach environment. When we have a problem in some of these steps we may potentially come across gastritis and may develop into ulcers that are characterized by wounds on the wall of the organ.

The gastritis as we saw above can present several causes, but the most common are:
Inadequate food handling, where the animal spends long periods in fasting and in situations that the animal tends to ingest less voluminous and more concentrated;
Frequent stress such as constant travel, training rhythm;
Indiscriminate use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which inhibit the production of protective mucus in the stomach;
Aerophagia, because the animal swallowing air the amount of Hcl in the stomach will be greater than the amount of the bolus aliment and this damages the mucosa;
Verminoses, some worms have part of their life cycle present in the stomach of the equines, as species of the genus Gasterophilus and Habronema, causing irritations and lesions in the organ
Mechanical injuries, when the animal ingests some foreign body or very coarse foods such as hay or very dry grass and with the presence of stems, this can also be due to the lack of efficiency of the animal's teeth in chewing and degrading the food correctly, and this can irritate and injure the mucosa.

Clinical Signs
Clinical signs of gastritis include decreased food intake, weight loss, restlessness, excessive salivation, pain on eating, and signs of colic such as flanking, digging, and lying may also be present.

Prevention and Control
Providing a greater quantity of quality bulky to the animal, more frequently is already a way to greatly reduce the risk of gastritis, as well as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. One can also avoid stress of the animal and take the necessary measures so that the animal is not parasitized by stomach worms, these measures will certainly also contribute to the non-appearance of gastritis.

The diagnosis is made after a clinical examination, based on the clinical signs and the animal's history and confirmed by a gastroscopy examination.


For the treatment we need to identify the main cause of this disease, eliminating it and later entering with an appropriate treatment. This can be done with inhibitors of hydrochloric acid secretion along with gastric mucosal protectors or mucus production stimulants.
We can use the prevention measures ENDOGASTRIN, a supplement that acts to neutralize the hydrochloric acid of the stomach, in addition to its composition vitamins, minerals and amino acids that provide a unique gastric and intestinal safety.

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Postado Por: Jayme Rocha

Jayme Rocha
Horse lover, trainer and student of Veterinary Medicine, currently works in the marketing and customer relationship department at Univittá Saúde Animal.

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