Evaluation of urine sucrose concentration for detection of gastric ulcers in horses.
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the use of sucrose permeability testing to detect ulcers in the gastric squamous mucosa of horses. ANIMALS: 13 adult horses ranging from 5 to 19 years of age. PROCEDURE: Following induction of gastric ulcers by intermittent feed deprivation, horses underwent sucrose permeability testing (administration of sucrose by nasogastric intubation followed by collection of urine at 2 and 4 hours after intubation) and gastric endoscopy. Squamous ulcers were assigned a severity score (range, 0 to 3) by use of an established scoring system. Horses were subsequently administered omeprazole for 21 days, and sucrose testing and endoscopy were repeated. Pair-wise comparisons of urine sucrose concentration were made between horses with induced ulcers before and after omeprazole treatment. Urine sucrose concentrations also were compared on the basis of ulcer severity score. RESULTS: Urine sucrose concentrations and ulcer severity scores were significantly higher in horses with induced ulcers before omeprazole treatment than after treatment. Urine sucrose concentrations were significantly higher for horses with ulcer severity scores > 1. Use of a cut-point value of 0.7 mg/mL revealed that the apparent sensitivity and specificity of sucrose permeability testing to detect ulcers with severity scores > 1 was 83% and 90%, respectively. Results were similar after adjusting sucrose concentrations for urine osmolality. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Urine sucrose concentration appears to be a reliable but imperfect indicator of gastric squamous ulcers in horses. Sucrose permeability testing may provide a simple, noninvasive test to detect and monitor gastric ulcers in horses.