Here at Judson we love our horses.
God has blessed us by giving us beautiful horses to ride while we are here at Judson. Part of the responsibility of having these horses is taking care of them and making sure they are healthy. Aside from regular care, good grooming, and proper handling, there are things that have to be done every once in a while to assure that our horses remain healthy. Thursday was one of those days.
Thursday, equine instructors Mrs. Jennifer and Mrs. Janice along with seven students, took four of Judson’s horses to be scoped for gastric ulcers. This is a medical exam that may not be necessary for all horses and is especially not something that needs to be done regularly. It can, however, help you know how to better care for certain horses. The four horses that we took were chosen for different reasons: two because they were suffering from weight problems,one because he had a slight shift in his temperament and finally one because he has had other health and weight problems in the past. It is possible that horses with issues like these may be suffering from gastric ulcers and scoping for them allows us to see how we need to treat them or if that is even the problem at all.
Gastric Ulcers are ulcers that occur in a horse’s stomach. These ulcers are found just above where the bottom portion of the stomach’s lining and the upper portion of the stomach’s lining meet. An exam or scoping for these is done by guiding a long cord with a light and camera in it up the horse’s nose, down his throat and esophagus and finally into the stomach. It is really neat because you can watch, on a monitor, the movement of the camera (or scope)going down into the stomach. Once the scope has arrived in the stomach, the veterinarian pumps air into the stomach to balloon it out. Once the stomach is inflated the vet can move the scope around so you can see the walls of the stomach and examine it for ulcers. Two of the horses we took had a couple of minor ulcers and scarring from older ulcers that had already healed. The two horses that we were pretty certain HAD ulcers were the two that did not have any.
It was a really neat thing to get to go and watch. So, though ulcer scoping may not be routine care for a horse it is definately a good thing to do if you suspect there may be a problem. If your horse does have ulcers it is not a huge deal. Some hoses have them and no one ever knows, but if an ulcer is found there are several treatment methods available or it may be best to just let it heal on its own.