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Assessment of Gastric Ulceration and Gastrin Response in Horses with History of Crib-Biting

Wickens, Carissa L., McCall, Cynthia A., Bursian, Steve, Hanson, Reid, Heleski, Camie R., Liesman, James S., McElhenney, Wendell H., Trottier, Nathalie L.
Journal of equine veterinary science 2013 v.33 no.9 pp. 739-745
blood serum, diet, feed concentrates, gastric juice, gastrins, horses, hyperkeratosis, mucosa, pH, pastures
It was hypothesized that horses exhibiting crib-biting (CB) have a greater degree of gastric mucosal damage and higher serum gastrin response to concentrate feeding than non-crib-biting (NCB) horses. Eighteen mature horses, 9 CB and 9 NCB, were used to determine prevalence and severity of gastric mucosal damage and effect of concentrate feeding on circulating gastrin. Horses were maintained on pasture with free access to hay and fed a pelleted concentrate diet twice daily. Number of crib-bites and duration of cribbing bouts were recorded in a 24-hour period. Endoscopic examinations (EE) of the squamous mucosa were performed and gastric fluid sampled after 24 to 28 hour feed removal. Following EE, horses were returned to pasture for 72 hours. Blood was collected following 12-hour feed removal (0 minutes), and at 60 and 120 minutes after consuming 1 kg of concentrate. Mean number of crib bites in 24 hours was 1,558 ± 303 with CB peaking prior to and during the afternoon feeding (3:30 PM, P < .05). There were no differences in the number or severity of ulcers, prevalence of hyperkeratosis, or baseline gastric pH between CB and NCB. Serum gastrin concentration at 60 and 120 minutes was greater (P < .05) and tended to be greater (P < .06), respectively, in CB than in NCB horses following feeding of concentrate. Crib-biting behavior in horses maintained on pasture was not associated with gastric mucosal damage; however, consumption of concentrate feed resulted in greater serum gastrin concentration in CB horses.