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  • March 31, 2022 2 min read 1 Comment

    There has been a lot of discussion amongst horse owners recently about whether or not to supplement horses with pre and/or probiotics. We know from recent studies involving human medicine, that the gut plays a huge roll in our performance, mental health and of course digestive health; but is this also the case for our horses?

    First, let’s talk about what pre and probiotics are and why they are important, in terms of our horses. Put simply, a probiotic is a live microorganism that colonizes the gut, and a prebiotic is an inactive substance that essentially provides the “food” for the microorganisms and boosts the health of the gut microbes. 

    Live yeast is one of the most commonly used and widely researched probiotics fed to horses, and you will find this added to many manufactured feeds and gut supplements. Yeast helps the functionality of the horse’s gut in a number of ways, including:

    1. Aids in removing excess sugar and starch from the hindgut, which helps to lower lactic acid levels, which leads to a healthier pH balance in the gut;
    2. Helps to boost the number of fibre digesting bacteria; and
    3. Aids in maintaining the normal anaerobic (oxygen free) environment within the gut

    Dead yeast cell walls even act as a prebiotic by stimulating beneficial microbes and helping to excrete harmful bacteria. As mentioned above, prebiotics act as the food for the gut microbes, as they cannot be digested by the horse’s own gut enzymes. The main role of prebiotics is to help flush out harmful bacteria from the horse’s gut. 

    Research has shown that supplementation of pre and probiotics has been beneficial to horses under certain conditions. Situations where it might be beneficial for a horse to receive supplementation include:

    • Horses that are fed high strach and low fibre diets
    • Older horses, especially those with imparied dental function
    • A horse experiencing sudden diet change
    • When a horse has been on a course of antibiotics or a dewormer
    • Horses that are prone to or have been in stressful situations, including performance horses, travel, environmental stress
    • Horses suffering from illness or weight loss
    • Horses not receiving adequate dietary fibre
    • Horses suffering from dehydration
    • Broodmares, lactating mares and growing foals 

    If your horse suffers from any of the above, or it has continued digestive issues, it may be beneficial to consider feeding a gut supplement.



    MacLeod C, 2007, The Truth About Feeding Your Horse, Great Britain, J.A. Allen


    1 Response

    Susannah Thomas
    Susannah Thomas

    October 13, 2022

    Interesting, thanks. The spelling is particularly novel 😂. Typos probably 😁

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