EQUUS - - Eq Medical front -

Re­search from Louisiana State Uni­ver­sity sug­gests that a new sup­ple­ment may help re­duce the re­cur­rence of gas­tric ul­cers among horses that have un­der­gone suc­cess­ful treat­ment with omepra­zole.

Es­ti­mated to af­fect 60 to 90 per­cent of horses, gas­tric ul­cers are ero­sions of the stom­ach lining caused by ex­ces­sive acid pro­duc­tion. Com­pe­ti­tion, in­tense train­ing, trans­port and other stres­sors in­crease a horse’s risk for ul­cers, which of­ten lead to weight loss, poor per­for­mance, a sour at­ti­tude and colic. Di­ag­no­sis is usu­ally made through en­do­scopic0 ex­am­i­na­tion.

A four-week reg­i­men of the omepra­zole (sold un­der the brand name Gas­troGard), which re­duces the pro­duc­tion of stom­ach acid, usu­ally re­solves gas­tric ul­cers. But af­ter­ward some horses ex­pe­ri­ence a re­cur­rence be­cause their acid se­cre­tions re­turn to pre­treat­ment lev­els or even higher, a phe­nom­e­non known as re­bound acid hy­per­secre­tion (RAH). “Omepra­zole treat­ment leads to a de­crease in acid se­cre­tion and, as a re­sult, G-cells of the stom­ach re­lease gas­trin---a hor­mone that stim­u­lates acid se­cre­tion---in the blood,” ex­plains Frank An­drews, DVM, MS, DACVIM. “With drug ces­sa­tion, [acid pro­duc­tion in­creases] lead­ing to acidrelate­d heart­burn, acid re­gur­gi­ta­tion or dys­pep­sia. All this can lead to re­cur­rence of ul­cers in horses.”

To de­ter­mine whether SmartGut Ul­tra, a sup­ple­ment con­tain­ing a pro­pri­etary blend of sea buck­thorn, L-glu­tamine, aloe vera, pectin and lecithin known as Gas­trAvert, can mit­i­gate RAH, An­drews’ team of LSU re­searchers se­lected eight horses with var­i­ous lev­els of gas­tric ul­cer sever­ity. Their study was per­formed over two 42-day pe­ri­ods (a two-pe­riod, two-treat­ment cross-over de­sign). For the first pe­riod, half of the horses re­ceived SmartGut Ul­tra and half re­ceived no treat­ment; for the sec­ond pe­riod, the treat­ment/non­treat­ment groups were swapped so each horse could serve as his own con­trol.

For the first 14 days of the study, all the horses were given omepra­zole. Next, the omepra­zole was halted for two weeks. For seven days af­ter that, the horses were placed on a re­stricted diet to stim­u­late ul­cer for­ma­tion. Then, for the fi­nal seven days of the study, the nor­mal ra­tion was re­sumed. On the first and last days of the study, as well as three times dur­ing it, An­drews’ team ex­am­ined each horse’s stom­ach lining with an en­do­scope to iden­tify and score nong­lan­du­lar ul­cers and mea­sured the pH of their gas­tric juices.

The data showed that at the be­gin­ning of the study ul­cer scores were sim­i­lar, but im­me­di­ately af­ter omepra­zole treat­ment they markedly de­creased to the same de­gree in both groups. How­ever, by the fourth and fifth week of the study, when the omepra­zole was dis­con­tin­ued and af­ter the feed de­pri­va­tion pe­riod, horses fed the sup­ple­ment had sig­nif­i­cantly fewer and less se­vere ul­cers than did the con­trol horses.

Based on this re­search, An­drews ad­vises start­ing horses on the SmartGut Ul­tra sup­ple­ment when they are treated for ul­cers, then con­tin­u­ing to feed it once treat­ment has ended.

Ref­er­ence: “The ef­fect of a sup­ple­ment (SmartGut® Ul­tra) on the non-glan­du­lar gas­tric ul­cer scores and gas­tric juice pH,” Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Equine Prac­ti­tion­ers 60th An­nual Con­ven­tion Pro­ceed­ings, De­cem­ber 2014

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