Maintaining GI health must be prioritized in equine practice.
A horse’s overall health and ability to perform rely on the good health and function of the entire gastrointestinal tract. A healthy gut provides the source of energy required for performance, plus it influences immunity, recovery, body condition, hoof health and even mental focus.
But when the gut is compromised—which is often the case with breeding horses, competition horses, and horses kept stabled and fed grain—it becomes a source of clinically significant and recurring problems such as ulcers and colic. Plus, even subclinical issues can impact the horse’s general wellness, energy, and willingness and ability to perform.
Digestive Problems in Horses are Widespread
We know that poor digestive health is an occupational hazard for performance horses. While practitioners pay much attention to the equine stomach, the hindgut is also significant. With colic the top medical cause of equine morbidity, the extensive use of NSAIds increasing Right Dorsal Colitis risk, and the easily disrupted hindgut microbiota, hindgut conditions may be virtually assured.
Abattoir Incidence of Gastric and Colonic Ulceration
In a study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Dr. Franklin Pellegrini performed necropsies on 180 race, show and performance sport horses. He found:
In continuing (unpublished) research in abattoirs, Dr. Pellegrini found the following incidences of GI lesions.
Current Diagnostic Modalities are Limited
Unfortunately, your ability to visualize and definitely diagnose conditions beyond the stomach is limited.
- Stomach only
- Requires fasting, which has been shown to increase ulcer severity
- Requires sedation
- Able to assess gut wall thickness
- Visualizes only a limited depth of the abdomen
- Limited distance
Clinical signs (Symptomatology)
- May arise too late
- Takes time
A Reliable Diagnostic Method
It’s time to get ahead of managing digestive health in your clients’ horses. No more overlooking issues or identifying them too late. The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test provides a quick, simple, affordable, non-invasive method to identify the presence of pathologies throughout the digestive tract. And it can give some indication of whether problems are affecting the foregut, hindgut or both.
The implications are beneficial to the veterinarian and owner, but most importantly to the horse. The FBT provides accurate, objective information:
- before resorting to other diagnostics,
- without relying on symptoms only,
- before prescribing treatment, and
- any time, allowing for early detection.
Statistical Reliability of the SUCCEED FBT™
The FBT is carefully calibrated to a range reflecting a true pathological condition. It is highly sensitive and reliable for detecting the presence of lesions in the GI tract. However, because the FBT simply detects occult blood loss, it is non-specific and doesn’t differentiate the underlying condition. Further diagnostics are required to diagnose the specific disease once the FBT has identified its presence.
FBT™ Results in the Real World
In practice, we find that approximately 50% of performance horses test positive for albumin, hemoglobin or both.
Major Referral Centers, TX and CA (performance horses)
These horses were presenting for issues OTHER than GI tract conditions. Yet, half the horses were shown to have disease somewhere in the gut and 1 in 12 had some kind of active gastric bleeding. None of these horses were suspected to have GI pathology—how will you know which of yours do or don’t unless you test?
Smaller Practices (primarily non-performance horses)
As expected, incidences were much lower for horses not used in performance. This further emphasizes the necessity of regularly testing the performance horses in your practice.
Applications in Veterinary Practice
- To assess any horse suspected of GI health pathology, to validate your preliminary diagnosis with additional objective data.
- As part of a basic work-up and wellness program.
- As preventive medicine to diagnose and treat conditions before they express as clinical problems.
- To gross screen a large group of horses to identify candidates for further investigation.
- As part of a pre-purchase exam.
Value to Your Practice
The SUCCEED FBT provides your practice with a quick, easy and affordable starting point for diagnosis and improves your diagnostic capabilities in equine GI care.
More targeted treatments equal better, faster outcomes—which, in addition to being best for the horse, strengthens your relationships and increases trust with your owners.
Finally, testing the horses in your practice regularly with the SUCCEED FBT equals good business. Estimates per test kit:
Purchase through your veterinary supply distributor.