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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • foal;
  • ulcer;
  • prophylaxis;
  • treatment;
  • omeprazole;
  • intragastric pH

Summary

Reasons for performing the study: Administration of omeprazole paste per os to healthy neonatal foals has been shown to effectively increase intragastric pH, but has not been evaluated in sick neonatal foals.

Objectives: To determine the effect of orally administered omeprazole paste on intragastric pH in clinically ill neonatal foals requiring nasogastric intubation.

Methods: Intragastric pH was measured continuously for 24 h using an indwelling electrode and continuous data recording system in hospitalised neonatal foals age ≤2 days. Intragastric pH was measured for 12 h prior to (pretreatment period) and 12 h following (post treatment period) treatment with omeprazole paste (4 mg/kg bwt per os). All foals displayed periods of acidity (pH <4) prior to treatment. Statistical analysis compared pre- and post treatment mean and median intragastric pH, and percentage of time below pH 4.

Results: Eight foals were evaluated age 1–3 days, a gestational age of at least 320 days or reported to be full term. The mean (3.19 ± 1.50 vs. 6.20 ± 0.93) and median (4.6 ± 1.7 vs. 6.86 ± 0.89) pH were significantly higher and the percentage of time below pH 4 (32.25 vs. 1.1%) was significantly lower in the post treatment compared to the pretreatment period.

Conclusion: Omeprazole paste effectively increases intragastric pH in clinically ill neonatal foals after one dose at 4 mg/kg bwt orally.