Frequently we are asked whether there are any alternative ways to diagnose gastric ulcers rather than gastroscopy. Gastroscopy of course requires a period of starvation to empty the stomach and then the passing of the endoscope into the stomach to look for the presence or absence of ulcers.
Clearly it would be lovely to have a simple test such as a blood test or a test that could be run on urine or faeces to diagnose ulcers, however unfortunately despite lots of research the only reliable test for ulcers remains gastroscopy.
In addition the advantage of gastroscopy is that it allows us to detect the presence or absence of ulcers and their severity. Certain types of ulcers require different treatments and also may require a longer than average length of time on medication. In addition the aftercare and management varies depending on the type of ulcer and the extent of the ulceration.
Follow up gastroscopy is also necessary to check healing, as some horses may feel better on treatment and appear cured, as the medication will rapidly make them feel more comfortable, but the ulcers may not be fully healed.