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Associations between age or sex and prevalence of gastric ulceration in Standardbred racehorses in training

Tara S. RabuffoNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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James A. OrsiniNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Eileen SullivanNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Julie EngilesNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Tracy NormanNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Raymond BostonNew Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine associations between age, sex, or medical treatment and prevalence and severity of gastric ulceration in Standardbred racehorses in training.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—224 Standardbred racehorses in training.

Procedure—Gastroscopy was performed on each horse, and mucosal ulceration was graded from 0 (normal mucosa, no lesions) to 3 (extensive, often coalescing, lesions with areas of deep ulceration). Associations between age, sex, or treatment and prevalence and severity of ulcers were evaluated.

Results—Prevalence of gastric ulceration was 87%. Although there was little association between age and prevalence of ulcers, there was an association between age and severity of ulcers. Most 2-year-old horses (57.7%) had an ulcer score of 0 or 1. In all other age groups, most (58% to 82.61%) of horses had an ulcer score of 2 or 3. Although overall prevalence of ulceration was comparable among sex groups, the relative risk for gastric ulceration increased with age in castrated males, whereas it decreased in females and sexually intact males.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gastric ulceration is common in Standardbred horses in race training. Severity is higher in horses ≥ 3 years of age than in 2-year-old horses. Relative risk for ulceration increases with age in castrated males. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1156–1159)

Abstract

Objective—To determine associations between age, sex, or medical treatment and prevalence and severity of gastric ulceration in Standardbred racehorses in training.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—224 Standardbred racehorses in training.

Procedure—Gastroscopy was performed on each horse, and mucosal ulceration was graded from 0 (normal mucosa, no lesions) to 3 (extensive, often coalescing, lesions with areas of deep ulceration). Associations between age, sex, or treatment and prevalence and severity of ulcers were evaluated.

Results—Prevalence of gastric ulceration was 87%. Although there was little association between age and prevalence of ulcers, there was an association between age and severity of ulcers. Most 2-year-old horses (57.7%) had an ulcer score of 0 or 1. In all other age groups, most (58% to 82.61%) of horses had an ulcer score of 2 or 3. Although overall prevalence of ulceration was comparable among sex groups, the relative risk for gastric ulceration increased with age in castrated males, whereas it decreased in females and sexually intact males.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gastric ulceration is common in Standardbred horses in race training. Severity is higher in horses ≥ 3 years of age than in 2-year-old horses. Relative risk for ulceration increases with age in castrated males. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1156–1159)