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No Horsing Around – New Research Shows That Probiotics May Benefit Horses

May 10, 2018

No Horsing Around – New Research Shows That Probiotics May Benefit Horses

We can learn so much from animals, including the effects of certain foods and ingredients on their digestion, and on their general health and well-being. For any animals that are members of our family, we take a very specific and personal interest in making sure they are healthy and happy. Horses are fascinating animals, stoic and magnificent. While many of us may not own horses, let alone race and sports horses, some new studies and information should be of particular interest.


High-performance horses have high-energy demands, and this is often achieved by supplementing their diets with cereal grains. While increasing this concentrate and decreasing forage provides an extremely important source of calories, the addition of these grains can also cause problems. High starch feed ingredients can result in disorders like colic (gut pain) and laminitis, which are thought to be, at least in part, related to changes in the horses gut bacterial population and corresponding changes to the pH of the horses’ guts.

Horses are primarily hindgut fermenters, which means they maximize the digestion of their food by microbial fermentation in their hindgut (large intestine and caecum). Products of this fermentation are then absorbed and used by the animal. Any changes to their natural diet and this microbial population can have a major impact on the horse’s health. The aim of managing optimal feeding, and keeping the horses healthy must include preventing any disturbances to this natural process.


So, the question becomes whether or not a probiotic could help horses? Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that are beneficial to the host and the microbiota (also known as the microbiome). To get some answers, a research team from the University of Kentucky, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Agricultural Research Service partnered with Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition.

Gut bacteria was extracted from horses with no gastrointestinal issues, and it was then incubated with different grains. Corn and wheat especially caused a drop in pH and a significant change in the microbial population. Horse owners take great care of their animal’s nutrition and want to make sure that their horses’ feed is of high quality so this change would be of major concern. Next, they added different probiotic bacteria and showed beneficial results, the probiotics helped reduce the change in pH caused by the corn and wheat and Lactobacillus acidophilus worked well with the addition of oats.


Feeding horses a probiotic supplement may help stabilize the gut population, and Natren’s Equiflora Gel Probiotic can help support your horse’s intestinal health and flora. Natren’s Petbiotics are specially formulated to support the digestive health of cats, dogs, horses, birds, and all show, working, and farm animals. Natren’s Equiflora Probiotic provides two probiotic super strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus NAS and Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415. It is available in convenient syringes, and each 2-gram dose provides 6 billion colony-forming units of powerful probiotics to your horse.

The post No Horsing Around – New Research Shows That Probiotics May Benefit Horses appeared first on Natren Probiotics Blog.

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