A survey relating to the foal gastroduodenal ulcer syndrome was
distributed to 55 equine practices in Ireland and Britain. Respondents had a
annual responsibility for 6650 foals. The occurrence of the syndrome was
confirmed but the incidence was low (0.58%).
Ulceration or erosion of the proventricular mucosa was noted in
173(28.2%) of 614 horses examined at an abattoir. Ulcers were less than
1cm^ in 53(31%) of horses, between 1cm^ and 5 cm^ in 69(40%) of horses,
and greater than 5 cm^ in 51(29%) of horses. Lesions occurred close to the
margo plicatus in the region of the lesser curvature in 89% of horses. In 135
(26%) of horses, verrucose proliferations of the margo plicatus at the lesser
curvature were recorded. Of 271 Thoroughbred horses examined 90(33%)
had ulcerations or erosions but only 43(24%) of 182 ponies examined had
ulcers/erosions, a statistically significant difference (p<0.05).
The prevalence of bots larvae was 43%, Only 60 (37 %) of horses with
ulceration had concurrent bot burdens and no statistical relationship between
bots and the occurrence of ulceration existed.
Stomach tissue samples (largely from the proventricular mucosa) from
121, horses were examined histologically. Epithelial change was characterised
by increased epithelial thickness, increased depth and irregularity of the rete
pegs, hyperkeratosis and hydropic degeneration. Additionally in acute
erosions, reticular degeneration and spongiosis was noted. Acute and
subacute ulcers describe lesions where the deficit extended down to the
lamina propria and in chronic ulcers and erosions fibrosis was a significant
feature. Scarring was characterised by increased corrugations of the
epithelium, fibrosis of the lamina propria and ectopic glands.
Sera from 71 horses, 41 of which had gastric pathology were examined
using an ELISA, for antibody against Helicobacterpy/ori. A statistically
significant difference (p<0.05) in the mean H. pylori optical density values
(OD) between horses with gastric pathology (0.53) and horses with no
pathology (0.375) was noted. There was a overlap between OD values in
horses with gastric pathology ( 0.17-1.11) and normal horses (0.16-0.73).
Serum gastrin levels (n—151) ranged from <20 pg /ml to 96 pg /ml. There
was a statistically significant relationship (p<0.01) between serum gastrin
levels and the weight of gastric contents but no association occurred between
serum gastrin levels and gastric pathology.
Serum pepsinogen levels (n» 85) were not associated with gastric