Ulcers are a serious clinical condition that can affect your horse's overall health
and well-being. In fact, you're probably already aware of at least one or two
horses in your barn that you think might have an ulcer.
If your horse is a picky eater or doesn't maintain weight, ulcers may be the
underlying cause. Ulcers can affect your horse's attitude and behavior as well.
If your horse is withdrawn in his stall, is "girthy," or rebels in
training, these may be external signs of ulcers. Even the horse's performance
ability can be affected. If a horse does not want to collect for trotting, cantering
or more advanced movements, or is resistant to particular physical movements,
we often accept these as limitations of the horse's natural ability or attitude.
But consider that digestive health may be the true culprit.
Knowing if your horse is suffering is the first step
Recent research showed that 88% of performance horses have stomach ulcers, and
63% have ulcers in the colon. In all, 97% of the horses in the study had some
type of ulcer.* With the incidence of ulcers in horses this high, there's a
good chance that more of your horses are suffering from this condition than
you even realize. Besides, even horses that appear healthy can be affected by
digestive imbalance. And digestive imbalance in your horses can directly impact
you every day.
Knowing if your horse is suffering from ulcers or other digestive tract conditions
is the first step in managing its GI health. The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood
Test™ will help your veterinarian in diagnosing any underlying conditions
or other serious GI health conditions, including both gastric and colonic ulcers.
There are a number of possible causes for excessive occult blood in a horse’s
manure. Knowing it’s there is the first step in identifying the right
Knowing whether the source of the occult blood is in the foregut or the hindgut
can help your veterinarian make a more accurate diagnosis, more quickly. The
SUCCEED FBT is the only reliable method for detecting occult fecal blood from
anywhere along the GI tract, and distinguishing foregut from hindgut sources.
Works with other diagnostic methods
A positive test result with the SUCCEED FBT means an issue has been identified,
either in the foregut, the hindgut or both. The specific condition that produced
the occult blood in the manure may include gastric or colonic ulcers, heavy
parasitism, or lesions caused by hard feed or other objects. Your veterinarian
can use the results of the SUCCEED FBT in conjunction with other diagnostic
methods to make a complete diagnosis.
The SUCCEED FBT may also be a valuable resource to aid in monitoring blood
loss following colic surgery, or as part of a pre-purchase exam.
Unlike other diagnostic methods that require lab work, the SUCCEED FBT tells
you what you need to know on the spot. And it's incredibly easy to use, right
in the barn.
The SUCCEED FBT is a two-part rapid antibody test. Use the provided plastic
container to collect a sample of manure (feces) from the subject horse, using
the provided polyethylene glove. Fill the container with fecal matter to the
Sample Fill Line. Add clean tap water up to the Water Fill Line. Shake thoroughly
to ensure complete mixing, and apply a few drops of the resulting solution to
each well on the test cassette using the provided sample pipette. Test results
should appear in less than ten minutes.
Remember — the SUCCEED FBT is for veterinary use only, for use as a diagnostic
aid. If you have any questions about the test, the results, or the appropriate
course of action based on your particular results, always consult your veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to wait to see a result with the FBT?
Once you apply the fecal solution to the test well on either part of the FBT
test cassette (Test A or Test H), results should appear after five minutes.
However, a control line may be evident in as little as two minutes. Do not read
results after ten minutes.
Is there a time when I shouldn't use this test on my horse?
Any time that the horse may be likely to have blood introduced into the digestive
tract, testing should be avoided. Blood in the horse's manure from any source,
even an external one, will trigger a positive test result. Avoid testing the
horse within 24 hours of racing (particularly bleeders), having its teeth floated
or during ovulation. Avoid testing the horse if there are any bleeding sores
or abrasions around the horse's mouth area that could allow blood to be swallowed
by the horse.
Can I use the test on foals?
The test will detect trace amounts of equine blood. A foal's blood is no different
from an adult horse's. Therefore, the test is reliable in testing foals.
My horse has diarrhea. Can I still use this test on that horse?
Yes. While collecting the fecal sample may be more of a challenge, the test
will work with manure that is in any state or condition, even loose, watery
or particularly dry.
Does a veterinarian have to administer the test?
The test is designed for use by anyone, and there are no regulatory issues requiring
veterinarians to administer the test. However, the test is only available through
veterinarians, so it is up to you and your vet to determine whom should actually
How often should I test my horse?
It is up to you and your veterinarian to determine how often you need to test
your horses. You may want to test certain horses that you believe have digestive
tract issues, or you may prefer to test all of them, to ensure the ones you
think are healthy are not suffering from a GI tract condition. You may also
elect to do follow-up tests following treatment of horses that test positive,
to see if the treatment is effective. Discuss your options with your veterinarian.
Do I need to use filtered water to mix with the sample?
No, tap water is perfectly acceptable for mixing with the fecal sample. However,
that water should be fresh - do not use water that has been sitting around and
which may be exposed to potential contaminants.
How clean does the area where I administer the test need to be?
The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ was designed for use right in the
barn. However, some effort should be made to clear an area of debris, or to
work on a clean, flat table top. This will help prevent exposure to other horses'
manure or other contaminants, and will simply make administering the test easier
for you or your veterinarian.
Does the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ diagnose ulcers?
No. The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ is a diagnostic aid that detects
fecal occult blood — trace amounts of blood in manure that may be invisible
to the naked eye — as an indication of ulcers or other GI tract conditions.
You and your veterinarian should combine the SUCCEED test kit results with other
diagnostic methods to arrive at a complete diagnosis.
If my horse has a positive test result, does that mean it has an ulcer?
It means your horse has trace amounts of blood in its manure which may result
from an ulcer in the digestive tract. It may also result from parasites. When
parasites create a blood source in the digestive tract, they can often leave
an open pit or lesion in the mucosal lining, which is a form of ulcer. A positive
test can result from any bleeding lesion anywhere in the GI tract. Because horses,
especially in performance, are prone to gastric and colonic ulcers, ulcers may
be the most likely culprit of any positive test result. However, positive test
results should be combined with other diagnostic methods by your veterinarian
to develop a complete diagnosis.
What does it mean if a horse has a negative test A and positive test H?
Refer to the instructions to understand the meaning of a negative test A and
positive test H result. A positive Test H (bleeding from any location in the
GI tract) combined with a negative Test A (bleeding is NOT in the hindgut) means
your horse has trace amounts of blood in its manure from a source cranial to
the duodenal-jejunal junction, or the foregut (stomach, duodenum, esophagus,
etc.). This may be a result of a bleeding gastric ulcer, for example.
What should I do if my horse has a negative test A and positive test H?
Refer to the instructions to understand the meaning of a negative test A and
positive test H result. Then, speak with your veterinarian to determine the
appropriate course of action. Your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostics
to ensure a complete diagnosis, before initiating a particular treatment.
What does it mean if my horse has both a positive test A and positive test
Refer to the instructions to understand the meaning of a positive test A and
H. Because your horse has a positive Test A, which indicates albumin in the
manure from a source caudal to the proximal small intestine (i.e., the hindgut),
and a positive Test H, which indicates hemoglobin in the manure from a source
anywhere along the GI tract, your horse likely has an issue in the hindgut,
such as colonic ulcers. But your horse may also have a condition in the foregut.
Discuss the results with your veterinarian. Your vet may want to also utilize
gastric endoscopy to confirm if foregut bleeding is also occurring.
What should I do if my horse has both a positive test A and positive test
Refer to the instructions to understand the meaning of a positive test A and
H. Then, speak with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate course of
action. Your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostics to ensure a complete
diagnosis, before initiating a particular treatment.
What if the line on the test cassette is faint?
The SUCCEED test antibodies are highly sensitive, detecting minute amounts of
blood in manure. Any complete line – faint or strong – still should
be read as a positive result. Only a broken line, or the absence of any line,
indicates a negative result.
What's the best treatment for a horse with a positive test result?
Discuss your treatment options with your veterinarian to determine the best
approach for you and your horse.
Can protein from feed sources trigger a positive test result?
No. The blood protein components utilized as antigens in the SUCCEED Equine
Fecal Blood Test™ are highly specific to equine blood.
My foal occasionally eats the mare's manure. Can I still test the foal?
Test the mare first. A positive FBT test result for the mare means trace amounts
of blood have been detected in the mare's manure. If this occurs, avoid testing
the foal. If the foal ingests the feces (sometimes referred to as corprophagy)
of a mare with a positive FBT result, the foal would then also likely register
a positive FBT test result that may or may not be a false positive.
What if my horse has an ulcer that isn't bleeding?
Generally speaking, you may detect a non-bleeding ulcer in the colon (resulting
in a positive Test A result only), but are not likely to see a positive test
result for a non-bleeding stomach ulcer with the SUCCEED FBT. Refer to the instructions
for complete details.
In all cases, professionals should take care to use multiple diagnostic indicators,
such as gastric endoscopy, CBCs and gross observation, in conjunction with the
SUCCEED® FBT for a complete and accurate diagnosis. For practitioners experiencing
a positive Test A without a positive Test H, one of the differential diagnoses
should include a protein-losing enteropathy, especially in the presence of hypoproteinemia/hypoalbuminemia
on a CBC/chem profile.
How accurate is the test in detecting GI tract conditions?
The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ is very accurate. In an August 2007
study of 86 horses, the FBT results were compared with visual observation of
gastric and colonic tissue following necropsy. The positive predictive value
of each strip was determined – Test A, detecting equine albumin as an
indicator of colonic ulceration grade 1 or higher – was 95%, while Test
H, detecting equine hemoglobin as an indicator of either gastric or colonic
ulceration grade 2 or higher, was 96%.
How accurate is the test in detecting blood from ulcers vs. from other sources?
The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ is extremely sensitive to equine
blood, detecting even microscopic amounts in a manure sample. Using Test A and
H together can allow you to distinguish foregut from hindgut blood sources.
However, the test cannot distinguish the source of the blood in any other way.
Any source of equine blood at any location in the GI tract will trigger a positive
test result. Your veterinarian should combine SUCCEED FBT results with other
diagnostics for a complete diagnosis of your horse.
How do the FBT Test A and H detect blood from different GI tract locations?
The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ includes proprietary SmartSignal™
Technology to detect trace amounts of blood, invisible to the human eye, in
your horse's manure as a sign of GI tract conditions. This technology utilizes
antibodies to unique components of equine blood proteins to create the results.
Test A utilizes antibodies to equine albumin, which is susceptible to breaking
down in the face of digestive enzymes delivered by the common bile duct in the
duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). A positive Test A indicating
the presence of albumin in your horse’s manure suggests that bleeding
is occurring in the hindgut, past where this enzymatic activity would have occurred
(i.e., caudal to the common bile duct). The blood protein marker detected by
Test H is equine hemoglobin, which is more resistant to these digestive enzymes,
acids and bacteria throughout the GI tract. A positive Test H indicating the
presence of hemoglobin in your horse’s manure could result from bleeding
anywhere in the GI tract.
What is an antibody?
An animal’s immune system produces antibodies, specific blood cells, to
fight foreign bodies that may enter the animal’s system. By design, each
individual antibody relates to a specific foreign body, called the antigen —
that particular foreign body that the particular antibody reacts to. In the
SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™, SmartSignal™ Technology utilizes
specific antibodies to particular equine blood markers (which act as the antigens
to those antibodies) to produce the test results.
What is a blood marker?
Protein components of blood that are utilized as antigens to provide a reaction
on a test. In the SUCCEED FBT, the specific blood components utilized include
albumin in test A, and hemoglobin in test H.
Is the SUCCEED test like the human fecal occult blood tests that were available
a few years ago?
No. The human fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) use guaiac acid to detect occult
blood in feces. Guaiac acid is not utilized in the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood
Test™. The SUCCEED FBT is an antibody test. In fact, the SUCCEED FBT was
evaluated against guaiac acid and the SUCCEED test was found to be more sensitive
and more specific.
What causes the red lines to appear on the test cassette?
At a microscopic level, specific antibodies are combined with a red dye microsphere
and soaked into the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test™ substrate found inside
the test cassette. When the antibodies react to the presence of the appropriate
antigen (albumin in Test A and hemoglobin in Test H), they carry the red dye
microspheres to the TST location on the substrate, appearing as a visible red
line in the cassette window. For a complete view of the test mechanism, .
Why do we mix the fecal sample with water?
Water mixed with manure produces a slurry that provides an easier medium for
utilizing the test. Particles of manure (and any occult blood that may be present)
will be suspended in the resulting liquid slurry, making them more accessible
for the antibodies on the substrate within the test cassette.