Effect of omeprazole and sucralfate on gastrointestinal injury in a fasting/NSAID model

Rebecca C. Bishop, Ann M. Kemper, Pamela A. Wilkins, Annette M. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is a common and significant cause of morbidity in horses, with a range of clinical signs, including inappetence, colic and poor performance. Hospitalised horses are exposed to factors that may induce EGUS, including fasting and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administration, and may be at risk for development of squamous (ESGD) and glandular gastric disease (EGGD). Prophylactic anti-ulcer medication is often prescribed for these patients, but drug selection is complicated by different aetiology and response to treatment of ESGD and EGGD. Objectives: To establish the efficacy of sucralfate or omeprazole used prophylactically in horses exposed to a combined feed-fast and NSAID administration EGUS induction protocol. We hypothesised that these drugs would be equally effective for prevention of gastric lesions in the experimental cohort. Study design: Randomised crossover experimental design. Methods: Horses (n = 14) received either omeprazole (1 mg/kg PO q24h) or sucralfate (20 mg/kg PO q8h) while undergoing the feed-fast/NSAID protocol, allowed an 8-week washout period, and then administered the alternate treatment. Serial gastroscopy, ultrasound and haematology documented treatment effects. Results: ESGD and EGGD score increased over time under both treatments. There was a significant effect of treatment on EGGD scores (P <.001), with post-treatment EGGD scores higher for horses receiving sucralfate (median 3; IQR 2.25,3) than omeprazole (1; 1,1). The effect of treatment on ESGD scores just achieved significance (P =.05), with post-treatment ESGD scores higher for sucralfate (4; 3,4) than omeprazole (2; 2,3). Main limitations: This study was performed in healthy horses, and response to treatment may differ in horses with clinical illness. Additional investigation in a larger population may be required to detect significant differences in other clinical parameters. Conclusions: Omeprazole was superior to sucralfate for mitigating gastric lesion severity in healthy horses exposed to a feed-fast/NSAID model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-837
Number of pages9
JournalEquine veterinary journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS)
  • equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD)
  • equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD)
  • gastroprotectant
  • horse
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • proton pump inhibitor (PPI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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