Gastritis is the general term used to describe inflammation and/or irritation of the stomach lining. Gastritis is always a symptom of an underlying condition, thus effective management relies on first identifying the underlying pathology.
In horses, gastritis is most commonly attributed to:
Clinical Signs of Gastritis
Symptoms indicative of gastritis in horses may include weight loss, lack of appetite, changes in body condition and hair coat, changes in behavior, difficulty maintaining condition, stereotypies such as cribbing or wood chewing, or underperforming. However, these symptoms may also be attributed to a wide variety of gastrointestinal pathologies affecting the hindgut as well, making differential diagnosis crucial. Visit the section on colitis and colitis pathologies for clinical findings, diagnosis, and treatment for hindgut disease.
Differential Diagnosis for Gastritis
Gastroscopy is the recommended recourse for diagnosing most all pathologies of the equine stomach. With the increasing availability and decreasing cost of endoscopes capable of viewing the full equine stomach, coupled with the high incidence of gastric ulceration in modern horses, this tool becomes essential in any practice.
Treating Gastritis in Horses
Treatments vary based on the underlying disease state causing gastritis. ESGD and EGGD in particular, for example, have dramatically different response to the commonly prescribed omeprazole therapy and thus require different approaches. Read the subsections on EGUS, ESGD, EGGD and gasterophilus parasitism for details on differing presentations, response to treatments, and prevention of pathologies causative in gastritis.