Thoroughbreds sought for NZ gastric ulcer study

February 5, 2011

Thoroughbreds with stomach ulcers are wanted for two feeding trials to be conducted near Feilding, north of Palmerston North.

Massey University's Institute for Food, Nutrition and Human Health, in conjunction with LWT Animal Nutrition Limited, are seeking horses for the trial, to investigate potential dietary strategies for healing and preventing gastric ulcers.

Gastric ulcers in racehorses are a leading cause of poor performance.

Ulceration is proven to be prevalent in all horse populations and has a reported incidence of 88 per cent in horses in active training for racing in New Zealand.

Horses must be known to have stomach ulcers or have symptoms or a history of ulceration.

The study may well suit horses earmarked for a spell or retirement from competition, and those that are fed relatively high levels of cereal grain.

All horses will be subjected to a pre-trial gastroscopy performed by a qualified veterinarian before selection to ensure the presence of gastric ulcers.

The first study will be run from March 21 to June 13, and the second from June 20 to September 12.

The trial site is affiliated to Massey University and is run by experienced researchers and technicians. It has a local site veterinarian on call.

Although horses have to be "at rest" for the trial, they will have daily access to an all-weather exercise yard and social contact.

All participating horses will be bedded on soft wood peelings, with free access to clean water via automatic drinkers. They will be fed one of three diets, twice a day.

Owners will receive $7.50 per horse per day as a rental fee for their horse for the study. A signed agreement will be required, including consent to use the horse for the feeding study.