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    [RC] [Guest] GastroGuard - Ridecamp Moderator

    K S SWIGART  katswig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Since having a horse in my care diagnosed (via endoscope) with
    gastric ulcers (after two episodes of self-resolving colic
    within a two week time frame), we have put the horse on
    GastroGuard in hopes of resolving them.  And we have no reason
    to believe that it won't.

    However, some abnormal behaviour on the part of the horse since
    being on the medication has led us to investigate the
    possibility that some of what we are seeing is a result of the
    medication itself and not necessarily the underlying condition
    of the ulcers and/or some underlying condition of the ulcers
    themselves (still a possibility).

    Omeprazole (the name of the drug in GastroGuard) is a pretty
    common human medication and extensive research into its effects
    and side effects on humans.  These are a couple of lists that I
    came up with:

    Common side effects include:  headache, diarrhea, constipation,
    stomachache, nausea, gas, loss of appetite, and edema. If you
    experience any of these effects, notify your coordinator.

    Rare/less common side effects include: skin rash, back or joint
    pain, nervousness, sleep disturbances, cough, bloody or cloudy
    urine, persistent or recurring sores or ulcers in the mouth,
    painful or very frequent urination, sore throat, fever, unusual
    bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness or tiredness, muscle
    pain, chest pain, loss of hair, ringing in the ears, stomach
    swelling, fatigue, and dizziness.

    Some of the effects/abnormal behaviour we have noticed in this
    horse (that has now been on a daily dose for 3 1/2 weeks)
    include: lethargy (dull eye), fatigue ("I just gotta get off my
    feet"), back pain (maybe), joint pain (maybe), loss of appetite
    (she is eating, but at the same time she just kinda picks at her
    food), difficult and/or frequent urination, dizziness (maybe,
    she sometimes stands with her head cocked to one side and then
    the other, especially right after she has gotten up from lying

    What we don't know is if this is a result of gastric discomfort
    from the ulcers or if it is the medication itself, and we are
    extremely reluctant to take her off the medication, since the
    ulcers (yes plural) were pretty severe, just to see.

    I am fully aware that side effects in humans and side effects in
    horses may not be anything remotely the same, and so am curious
    to know if anybody else has used GastroGuard on their horse,
    whether they observed any similar behaviour, and if so, did it
    go away after the horse was off the medication.

    The horse is going back in for a f/u scope this weekend, and I
    would be interested in knowing of other people's experiences
    with the medication with their horses.

    Because GastroGuard is (extremely) expensive, and hasn't been on
    the market for that long, and because many of the behaviour we
    are seeing in the horse is also behaviour that you might expect
    to see in a horse with mild gastric discomfort.

    However (and to make this relevant to endurance), IF the side
    effects in horses are similar to those in humans and what I am
    observing in the horse I am seeing treated with GastroGuard is a
    side effect of the medication rather than caused by her
    underlying ulcers (which I suspect, since she didn't have these
    symptoms BEFORE she was on the medication, despite the fact that
    she probably had the ulcers for quite a while before she started
    on the medication), then the FEI made a BIG mistake in allowing
    horses to compete on GastroGuard.

    I am interested to know if anybody knows more about the use of
    Omeprazole in horses and just how much is known about possible
    side effects, which if they are the same as those for humans,
    could be very detrimental to the health of in competition,
    especially endurance horses.

    Orange County, Calif.

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