It is estimated that up to 60% of equines suffer from gastric ulcers, and the percentage can be even higher for horses in certain disciplines like eventing and racing. GastroGard and UlcerGard are the medications of choice to protect horses against ulcers, but the difference between them is often a point of confusion for horse owners. While they have many similarities, there are some key differences between the two products. Both have the same active ingredient, omeprazole, but at different concentrations.
GastroGard is a prescription medication formulated for the treatment of gastric ulcers. A diagnosis of gastric ulcers is made through gastroscopy, which involves guiding a long, flexible camera up the horse’s nostril, through the esophagus, down into the stomach. As this point, the presence or absence of ulcers can be determined. The recommended dose of GastroGard is 1.8mg per pound body weight per day. Syringes of this product are conveniently labeled by body weight for easy administration. An average sized horse will receive approximately one tube of GastroGard per day for one month to treat ulcers. At this point, a recheck gastroscopy should be performed to assess the success of treatment. If the ulcers have resolved, the horse should then be switched to UlcerGard. The cost of GastroGard ranges from $32 – $40 per tube.
UlcerGard is an over-the-counter medication for the prevention of gastric ulcers. The recommended dosage of UlcerGard is .45 mg per pound body weight per day. Syringes of this product are labeled by dose and each syringe contains 4 doses. Horses are often given UlcerGard during stressful situations to help prevent gastric ulcers. The cost of UlcerGard ranges from $33 – $37 per tube.
Equine ulcers can mean great discomfort, poor eating, decreased performance and increased colic risk for your horse. Our veterinarians are happy to help you evaluate and if necessary, treat your horse for this serious condition.