EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

A new study from the Univer­sity of Helsinki clouds hopes that blood su­crose lev­els will prove use­ful in de­ter­min­ing whether horses have gas­tric ul­cers.

Cur­rently, the only way to defini­tively di­ag­nose gas­tric ul­cers in a horse is gas­troscopy---slid­ing a slen­der tube with a light and a cam­era down his throat and into the stom­ach to look for le­sions. Seek­ing an eco­nom­i­cal and less in­va­sive al­ter­na­tive, re­searchers pos­tu­lated that blood su­crose lev­els may be in­dica­tive of the pres­ence of gas­tric ul­cers: Su­crose mol­e­cules are too large to pass through healthy gut tis­sue but they have been found to cross stom­ach walls dam­aged by ul­cers. Be­cause su­crose is nor­mally ex­creted quickly from the body, an in­creased level in the blood af­ter a horse re­ceives a dose could cor­re­late to the pres­ence of ul­cers, and early stud­ies seemed to sug­gest this was true.

For their study, the Fin­nish re­searchers first per­formed gas­troscopy on 101 clin­i­cally nor­mal horses, look­ing for ul­cers and cat­e­go­riz­ing the

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