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Despite tremendous research efforts, gastrointestinal (GI) diseases remain a common and top cause of death in horses, second only to advanced age. In many cases, GI diseases are not diagnosed until severe disease is present, making treatment and intervention challenging. To help address this issue, researchers will assess if a fecal-based assay can be used as an easy-to-use and effective diagnostic test for equine glandular gastric disease, a painful condition associated with gastric ulcers. Currently available methods to diagnose this condition are limited to expensive gastroscopy, so many horses are treated presumptively without definitive diagnosis. The problem with this approach is that the treatment of choice is expensive and drug efficacy questionable. The team is specifically looking at the abundance of a bacteria called Sarcina in fecal samples of affected horses that they believe could serve as a biomarker for gastric disease. If successful, this new tool could help inform diagnosis and treatment options for this serious condition in horses. 

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United States