BACKGROUND: Gastric ulcers are common in horses and treatment of horses that cannot be administered oral medication can be problematic. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of esomeprazole sodium administered intravenously on gastric juice pH and gastric ulcer scores in horses. ANIMALS: Twelve adult female Quarter Horses. METHODS: Esomeprazole sodium (0.5 mg/kg IV) was administered once daily to 8 horses (treatment group) and saline (5 mL IV) was administered to 4 horses (control group) for 13 consecutive days. Gastroscopy was performed and gastric juice pH and gastric ulcer score were recorded before and 1 hour after the administration of esomeprazole sodium or saline on days 1 and 5, then on day 14, 23 hours after the 13th daily dose of esomeprazole sodium or saline. RESULTS: When compared with values before treatment, gastric juice pH was higher in esomeprazole sodium-treated horses after treatment (4.25 ± 2.39 versus 6.43 ± 1.18; P = .002). Also, gastric juice pH was higher (P = .001) in esomeprazole sodium-treated horses compared with saline-treated control horses on day 5 and on day 14 values. Gastric ulcers were seen in 5/12 (43%) horses in the study. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Esomeprazole sodium shows promise for treatment of gastric ulcers in horses with signs of dysphagia, gastric reflux, or other conditions that restrict oral intake of the current Federal Drug Administration-approved omeprazole paste.
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