Ulcers & Omeprazole - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-20-2020, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Ulcers & Omeprazole

This article copied & pasted from FB on a study on importance of diet & the negative effects of omeprazole...


Integral Equine Nutrition
3 hrs

Ulcers are one of the top diet related issues that domestic horses experience, and while veterinary treatement with omeprazole (Gastropell etc) is often necessary, these two recent studies show that it is even MORE important to get the diet right if you want to get on top of this distressing and painful condition!

Study 1 Take Home Message - in a fairly large field trial (almost 100 horses) this study showed that horses treated with omeprazole AND diet change (reduction in starch) maintained improved ulcer scores for up to 10 weeks, while those who did not have any diet change tended to be getting worse lesions by the 10 week mark. This study didn't even address forage consumption (which was low) - so results could be even more obvious with a full diet work up!

Study 2 Take Home Message - one of the first studies to show that omeprazole use in horses does have some less desirable effects, in this case a reduction in calcium absorption.

While omeprazole treatment is still a very good weapon against gastric ulcers, these studies suggest that it should not be relied on as a long term or preventative measure, as on it's own it does not prevent recurrence, and may cause detrimental effects in continued long term.

Get that diet right!
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-20-2020, 09:31 AM
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In humans, Omeprazole use has also been shown to block absorption of Vitamin C, Folic Acid, and B12 along with Calcium. More studies on horses could potentially show the same effects. There is also the issue of rebound acid (over-production) that happens if a dose is missed or the horse is not weaned off slowly (which can cause a recurrence of ulcers or worsening of almost healed ulcers).

My opinion is that ulcers are either an acute health condition (requiring short term treatment, after some stressful event such as a move), or else they are the symptom of a chronic mismanagement problem. In the case of a long term management issue, the horse should not be put on Omeprazole as a preventative, but instead the horse's diet and other management should be changed to prevent the ulcers from recurring.

I agree that Omeprazole should not be used as a long term preventative, but might be useful as a short term preventative, for example a person might dose a horse that is going to a horse show involving a trailer ride, and a stressful situation where the horse might not eat for an extended length of time. I have used Omeprazole as a preventative for a horse that needed a few days of high dose Bute also.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-20-2020, 11:19 AM
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Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor which is going to tell the system to stop producing acid, combine that with anything that's going to neutralize acid you're going to limit the digestion process in the stomach and risk an excess of undigested food ending up in the hind gut which will then cause a 'breeding ground' for ulcers there
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-20-2020, 12:31 PM
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Yeah, it's definitely not good for long-term use. Definitely wouldn't use it as a preventative, I use marshmallow root for that. Omeprazole is good to use for treatment, but that's it.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-20-2020, 04:15 PM
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As with anything, a MEDICATION has the potential for side effects. (even supplements, even herbal ones, can have side effects too)


It always boils down to taking the best routine care of your horse, with the biggest bulk influenced by diet, exercise, and how they are kept (stalls, pasture, turnout, etc).


**Same can be said of humans!! **
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