Reasons for performing study: Gastric ulceration is now widely recognised as an important disease in high performance horses. Little is known about gastric histopathology in healthy or diseased animals; a comprehensive assessment would enhance interpretation of gross findings through assessment of their accuracy and allow for identification of lesion variety and pathogenesis in different anatomical regions of the stomach.
Objectives: To investigate the true extent and variety of gastric lesions in a mixed population of mature horses at post mortem.
Methods: Stomachs were removed from a mixed population of 21 horses at post mortem. Mucosal abnormalities were recorded in photographic and written form. Representative samples from all gross lesions were taken for histopathology and processed routinely. Special stains including Gram, PAS and Warthin Starry, were used when appropriate. Pathological classification of lesion type using both gross and histological appearances was performed.
Results: Classification of lesions within the squamous region included hyperkeratosis, punctate scars, diffuse erosions/ulcerations and margo injuria; and within the glandular region, hyperaemia, focal erosions and ulcerations. Glandular metaplasia was recognised for the first time in the equine stomach. No Helicobacter-like organisms were detected in association with lesion development.
Conclusions and potential relevance: This study used gross and histological examination to highlight the large variety of naturally occurring gastric lesions in a mixed population of horses. Analysis of the pathogenesis of lesion development is now possible. Further research regarding the range of pathology in larger, more diverse groups of horses is required.