What is Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication to prevent the overproduction of stomach acid that can cause ulcers. Omeprazole is used to treat and prevent Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS). Omeprazole dosage for horses comes in three forms with all forms equally as effective:
- Granules or pellets
How does Omeprazole work?
Omeprazole treats ulcers by suppressing the production of stomach acid. It is a proton pump inhibitor medication, meaning that it temporarily reduces the acidity of the stomach. The small intestine is where omeprazole absorbs into the bloodstream after passing through the stomach. Omeprazole for horses dosage must be administered daily in order to have an effect. On-going treatment is necessary to control gastric acid secretion.
By reducing acidity, Omeprazole can support tissue repair and give the stomach mucous lining time to heal.
What is EGUS?
Gastric ulceration is a very painful condition with an extremely high prevalence in pleasure horses.
Up to 90% of performance horses are affected by EGUS.
Ulcers are sores or lesions that develop in the intestinal lining of the horse. They can cause your horses behavior to change. Horses become girthy, difficult to work, kicking out, and generally irritable. When ulcerations develop in the stomach, it is referred to as EGUS.
Common Causes of EGUS
- Diet high in grain and sugar
- Feeding regimen
- Intense training more than 5 days
- Sudden changes to environment
- Travel, herd and general stress
- Overuse of Anti-inflamm. meds (ie NSAIDs)
Majority of horses will show some or all of these ulcers signs. Horses may also have ulcers without displaying any outward signs and symptons.
Signs & Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Rough coat
- Lack of performance
- Kicking out
- Cribbing and weaving
In what part of the horse does an ulcer form?
A horses stomach is divided into two sections:
One: Upper squamous region also known as non- glandular region.
Two: Glandular region, including pyloric and lesser curvature region.
The glandular region produces mucous and bicarbonate which protects the stomach lining by naturally buffering acids.
The upper squamous region does not produce mucous and relies on food and saliva to buffer acids.
Horses that graze throughout the day naturally protect their upper squamous region with saliva and food. This region, however, becomes vulnerable to acidic environments if the horse's stomach is empty.
This can result in painful lesions and sores develop along the wall of the digestive tract.
When ulcers occur in the hindgut, it is referred to as right dorsal colitis and colonic ulcers and is treated with sucralfate.
Affordable Omeprazole Ulcer treatment
The only definitive way to diagnose EGUS is via an endoscope. The procedure often is not available, considered invasive and expensive.
Given the extremely high prevalence of ulcers, when horses display the known symptoms and signs of EGUS, horse owners often make a presumptive diagnosis.
The cost of EGUS treatment can be very high. Since 2008, Abler has provided horse owners with a more affordable alternative omeprazole dosage for horses .
Omeprazole for Horses Dosage
How to Treat Ulcers in Horses
Omeprazole dosage is calculated according to the horses bodyweight. Each once-a-day dose is effective for 24hours.
The recommended omeprazole dosage for horses receiving treatment for gastric ulcers is 4.0mg/kg (1.8mg/lb) of horse's bodyweight.
Recommended length of treatment is 4 weeks with a follow up prevention dose of ½ the treatment dose.
By combining the online dosage calculator with premeasured sachets or scoops, Abler simplifies omeprazole dosage for horses.
How to Prevent Ulcers in Horses
In order to reduce the risk of acid rebound, tapering or weaning off omeprazole is to be done slowly. For horses at a greater risk of squamous ulcers, omeprazole is administered as an ongoing prevention at a much lower dose. Research shows that omeprazole as a lone treatment is not effective in the treatment and healing of glandular ulcers. A two- pronged treatment of both omeprazole and sucralfate is required for healing ulcers of the lower stomach.
Acid rebound after weaning off omeprazole is a major factor in ulcer recurrence. Ultimately, the root cause of the ulcers forming is the best prevention.
Omeprazole is most effective for treating EGUS, however long-term treatment is best discussed with your equine practitioner. It is important for the horse owner to consider dietary and management changes to help reduce the ongoing risks of ulcers and ulcer rebound, together with support of overall digestive health.
If your horse is suffering from EGUS, get the most affordable and best treatment plan for your horse at Abler.