A study in the May 15, 2005, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association details responses of horses to preventative doses of omeprazole (brand name Gastroguard).
Dr. McClure’s group at Iowa State treated a group of horses with confirmed gastric ulcers for 28 days on full-dose omeprazole, then switched to either no treatment or two different low-dose omeprazole protocols. The horses had their stomachs scoped again after 28 days.
Of the horses treated with 1 mg/kg of omeprazole, 79% remained ulcer-free, compared to only 16% of the horses that received no preventative treatment. In the horses that did still show signs of ulceration, the ulcer severity was significantly lower in horses treated with 1 mg/kg of omeprazole compared to no treatment or treatment with 0.5 mg/kg of omeprazole.
The 1 mg/kg preventative dose is one-quarter of the full-therapeutic dose for ulcers. This drug has FDA approval for over-the-counter (OTC) sales (meaning no prescription required) and is Ulcergard.
Cost varies widely for this drug, though, so it pays to shop around. We’ve seen prices vary from $29.88 a tube to $37.95 (see also our March 2005 article on ulcer detection and the usefulness of various other over-the-counter products for ulcer prevention).