Gastric ulceration represents an important health concern to the performance horse industries. Economic impacts of this disease are difficult to quantify but include the costs associated with diagnosis, cost of medication, and labour involved in administering treatment. Perhaps of even greater economic significance are the costs attributable to reduced athletic performance. Superimposed on any economic impacts are the emerging industry concerns regarding the welfare of performance horses. The reported high incidence of disease across the world is of concern given the common lay opinion that peptic ulcer disease in humans is commonly correlated with emotional stress. The focus of this report is to identify specific factors that may be involved in the development and maintenance of gastric ulcers in racing thoroughbreds.
The primary target group of the report is the thoroughbred racing community. It is however likely that risk factors will be common to other industries where animals are performing high levels of exercise. The information will also guide attending veterinarians with respect to identifying horses at risk of ulceration.