What it treats:
GastroGard is made by Merial
and is the first and only FDA-approved equine medication proven to heal and prevent
the recurrence of gastric ulcers, even while horses continue to train.
Symptoms of the disease:
There are many clinical signs and symptoms that are associated with EGUS (Equine
Gastric Ulcer Syndrome); however, it is important to note that many horses with
stomach ulcers do not exhibit any obvious signs. Because the prevalence of stomach
ulcers in horses has only been recently understood, ulcer symptoms can go unrecognized
by trainers, owners and veterinarians. Common causes have been identified as:
In adult horses, common signs of EGUS include:
- infrequent grazing or hay intake
- intense training
- physical stress
- changes in growing foals
- factors such as extended time spent stallbound and certain medications
given in high dosages.
In foals, clinical signs include:
- poor performance
- poor appetite
- attitude changes
- poor body condition
- tucked-up appearance
- a poor coat
Of symptomatic horses, 92 percent were found to have gastric ulcers upon endoscopic
- intermittent diarrhea
- intermittent colic
- rough hair coat
- poor growth
- pendulous abdomen
- teeth grinding
- laying on the back
- frequently interrupted nursing
Endoscopic Views of a Healthy Stomach
and an Ulcerated Stomach
Views inside a healthy horse stomach (left),
and a horse in training with ulcers (right).
(Photos courtesy of MJ Murray.)
What We Sell:
GastroGard Single 6.15g syringes
GastroGard Value Pack of 28 syringes
Each syringe contains 2.28 g of omeprazole (37% w/w), the active ingredient.
Dosing Devices Included:
GastroGard comes in an adjustable-dose
syringe that is packaged and administered like a paste wormer. The dosing device
goes up to 1250 lbs on each syringe.
Form and Palatability:
A flavored paste that is fed orally with a syringe.
Expiration and Storage:
No special shipping requirements apply to this product.
Store below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Transient exposure to temperatures up to
104 degrees F (40 degress C) is permitted.
For treatment of gastric ulcers, GastroGard
Paste should be administered orally once-a-day for 4 weeks at the recommended dosage
of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg). For the prevention of recurrence
of gastric ulcers, continue treatment for at least an additional 4 weeks by administering
it at the recommended daily maintenance dose of .9 mg/lb (2mg/kg).
GastroGard is recommended for
use in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older. For the treatment of equine gastric
ulcers, each syringe will dose up to 1250 lb body weight. It is the only anti-ulcer
medication for horses that elevates stomach pH throughout the 24 hours after dosing,
allowing convenient once-daily dosing (us.merial.com).
Length of treatment:
This is individual to each horse, but treatment is usually at least the 4 week long
initial recommended dosage.
A clinical examination should be performed if ulcers are suspected. A 3-meter (9.8
feet) flexible endoscope is inserted through the horse's esophagus and into his
stomach in order to confirm the existence of stomach ulcers in horses, but endoscopes
of sufficient length to visualize the horse stomach are not always available to
all equine practitioners. Luckily, several clinical signs and symptoms are highly
suggestive of EGUS, making empirical therapy a viable option (gastrogard.com)
Ulcers vary in their location, size, depth, and other characteristics. Often, a
standardized four-point scoring system is used to evaluate healing and to compare
severity of lesions. The higher the score, the more severe the lesion (gastrogard.com)
How does it work?
Omeprazole suppresses acid by shutting down acid production in the stomach, giving
the ulcer time to heal. The cells of the stomach mucosa contain several acid-stimulating
receptors, and when these receptors are activated they switch on the H+,K+ ATPase
acid pump (an enzyme system) to secrete acid into the stomach. Omeprazole inhibits
the acid pump, so when receptors are activated the acid pump does not initiate acid
secretion. Omeprazole is the only medication approved for use in horses that acts
directly on the acid pump, preventing acid secretion no matter what receptor is
activated. Omeprazole was the first acid pump inhibitor to be approved for use in
humans, and is now the first and only acid pump inhibitor approved for the treatment
of stomach ulcers in horses. (gastrogard.com)
GastroGard is indicated for the treatment and prevention of recurrence of gastric
ulcers in horses and foals 4 weeks and older. Gastrogard was well tolerated in controlled
efficacy and safety studies. In dose-confirmation and field trials, no adverse effects
attributable to omeprazole treatment were noted (gastrogard.com).
When used used concomitantly with other therapies, which include anthelmintics,
antibiotics, nonsteroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, diuretics, tranquilizers,and
vaccines, no interactions have been observed (gastrogard.com).