Effect of sea buckthorn berries and pulp in a liquid emulsion on gastric ulcer scores and gastric juice pH in horses

J Vet Intern Med. 2012 Sep-Oct;26(5):1186-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2012.00975.x. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


Background: Sea buckthorn berries (Hippophae rhamnoides) are rich in vitamin C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, fatty acids, plant sterols, lignans, and minerals. A feed supplement containing sea buckthorn berries might have efficacy in treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers in horses.

Objectives: To test the efficacy of a commercially available formulation of sea buckthorn berries and pulp (SeaBuck SBT Gastro-Plus) for treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers in stall-confined horses.

Animals: Eight Thoroughbred and Thoroughbred-cross horses (3-10 years of age, 5 geldings and 3 mares, 380-600 kg body weight).

Methods: This study was a 2-period crossover in which all horses received no treatment (untreated controls; n = 8) and treatment (SeaBuckSBT Gastro-Plus, 4 ounces [35.6 g berries and pulp], twice daily; n = 8) mixed with a pelleted complete feed (18% crude fiber; 9% starch; 14% crude protein). Horses were treated for 4 weeks followed by a 1-week (d28-d35) alternating feed-deprivation period to induce or worsen existing ulcers. Gastroscopic examinations were performed on days 0, 28, and 35. Gastric juice pH was measured and gastric ulcer number and severity scores were assigned by a masked investigator.

Results: Mean nonglandular gastric ulcer scores significantly (P < .05) increased in all horses after day 28, as a result of intermittent feed deprivation. Mean nonglandular gastric ulcer number (P = .84) and severity (P = .51) were not significantly different between SBT-treated and untreated control horses. However, mean glandular ulcer number (P = .02) and glandular ulcer severity (P = .02) were significantly lower in the SBT-treated horses compared with the untreated control at week 5.

Conclusions and clinical importance: SeaBuck SBT Gastro-Plus liquid fed to horses did not show efficacy in treatment or prevention of naturally occurring nonglandular ulcers in horses; however, glandular ulcer scores were significantly lower in SBT-treated horses after feed deprivation. Thus, SBT might have efficacy in prevention of glandular ulcers in horses housed in stalls and undergoing intermittent feeding.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Gastric Juice / metabolism
  • Gastroscopy / veterinary
  • Hippophae*
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horse Diseases / metabolism
  • Horse Diseases / pathology
  • Horses
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy / veterinary*
  • Seasons
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Stomach Ulcer / metabolism
  • Stomach Ulcer / pathology
  • Stomach Ulcer / veterinary*