• horse;
  • gastrointestinal tract;
  • gastric ulcers;
  • pathology;
  • risk factors


The present study was performed to estimate retrospectively the prevalence of gastric ulceration in necropsied Swedish horses and to evaluate some potential risk factors. Horses (n = 3715) olderthan age one yearand necropsied 1924–1996 were included. Information about breed, gender, age, season of death, clinical signs of colic, Gasterophilus larvae and documentation of diseases in different organs was recorded. Data on size, number and anatomical distribution of gastric ulcers were also obtained. The cold-blooded horses and the Standardbreds were the 2 most dominating breeds in our material. Gastric ulcers/erosions were seen in 633 (17%) of the horses. The highest prevalence was found in Thoroughbreds (19%) and Standardbreds (19%), whereas only 7% of the cold-blooded horses were affected. The cutaneous region along the margo plicatus was the most commonly affected area (52%). Multiple ulcers were seen in 62% of the horses with gastric ulcers and concurrent ulcers in the oesophagus were reported in 6%. In the bivariate analysis, significant associations were found between gastric ulcers and signs of colic (P<0.001) and gender (P<0.001), as well as between concomitant bowel (P<0.001), liver (P<0.05) and oesophageal (P<0.01) lesions. Using a multivariate logistic regression model, only year of necropsy and breed were found significantly to influence the risk of gastric ulceration by decreasing the Log Likelihood test value. The present study shows clearly that gastric ulceration has been present in Swedish horses throughout the 20th century, which also may be the situation worldwide.