DISAPPOINTING RESULTS FOR ULCER BLOOD TEST
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