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Equine Vet J Suppl. 2012 Feb;(41):76-9.

Prevalence of gastric and duodenal ulceration in 691 nonsurviving foals (1995-2006).

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  • 1Island Whirl Equine Colic Research Laboratory, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, USA.



Gastric ulcer disease is reported to be a significant cause of morbidity in foals, but the prevalence of ulcers in this population has not recently been evaluated.


To determine the prevalence of gastric and duodenal ulceration in nonsurviving foals, and the association of ulceration with the body system of primary diagnosis. Secondary objectives were to evaluate a potential association between age and ulcer prevalence and to evaluate the use of antacid medication in the neonatal hospital population during the study years.


Necropsy records were searched for all equine accessions from 1995 to 2006. Foals aged from one day to 6 months were included. Year, age, breed, sex, diagnosis and the presence of glandular, nonglandularand/or duodenal ulceration were recorded. Diagnoses were divided into groups based on the body system of primary diagnosis, with multiple diagnoses possible. A computerised database was searched for antacid treatment of all neonatal admissions.


The overall prevalence of ulcers was 22%, with nonglandular ulcers predominating. Ulceration was significantly associated with gastrointestinal disease. There was no significant change in ulcer prevalence over time, although there was a significant decrease in the use of antacid medications in the later study years. Neonatal foals (< 1 month) had a lower ulcer prevalence than olderfoals.


The prevalence of ulcers in foals, although low, has remained stable over time. Gastric or duodenal ulcers are associated with a primary diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease and are less prevalent in neonates.


The prevalence of ulcers in nonsurviving foals is low. Foals with gastrointestinal disease are more likely to have ulcers than foals with other primary diagnoses, and older foals are more likely to have ulceration than neonates. The prevalence of ulceration did not appear to be related to hospital-wide antacid medication use in neonates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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