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  • January 25, 2023 2 min read

    Is your horse's gut Microbiome affecting their weight? 

    We know from human medicine that your gut microbiome is essential for the healthy function of your gut and, ultimately, your body. It is not much different for horses; in fact, the gut microbiome is responsible for the digestion of fibre in the diet. What's more, the microbiome can also influence whether or not your horse is a hard or easy keeper. So, if you want to improve your horse's gut function, you will need to feed and encourage a rich microbiome. Let's take a look at some of the steps you can take to make this happen. 

    1. Feed for gut health 

    The first step is an easy one to implement as it involves ensuring that your horse has enough fibre in their diet. If your horse has access to good quality pasture or hay, then all you need to ensure is that they are eating enough. It is recommended that a horse eat 1.5% to 2% of their body weight in hay and/or pasture per day. This means that a 500kg horse should be consuming roughly 10kg per day! 

    But why is fibre so important for the microbiome? Well, it feeds the bacteria in a horse's gut. The bacteria ferment the fibre, turning it into something the horse can use, such as energy. Interestingly, research suggests that horses with a healthy and large microbiome can more easily access nutrients from their diet*. In this study, researchers found that a "reduced bacterial abundance and functionality in hard keepers leads to insufficient nutrient levels to support a healthy microbiome and maintain horse condition.” Hence, if your horse struggles to keep the weight on, it may be worth investing in building up its gut microbiome population. 

    1. Time for a supplement 

    There are various supplements available that can help increase the gut microbiome. Choosing the right supplement will depend on what your horse requires. Below are a few supplements that may be beneficial in growing bacteria populations. 

    • Yea Saac - a yeast culture based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 1026. It promotes greater digestion of fibre and supports fibre digesting bacteria. 
    • Bio Mos - a yeast culture derived from a selected strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. It supports a healthy functioning digestive system and promotes performance. 
    • Digestive EQ - contains digestive enzymes for improved digestion, pre, and probiotics for gut repair and protection, contains added calcium and magnesium, and also has an added mycotoxin binder.
    • EAC Inside Out - contains pre and probiotics to maintain healthy digestive and immune functions 
    • CEN Xtrabalance - promotes digestive and immune functions. Contains pre and pro-biotics, calcium, mycotoxin binder, and gut microbiome modulators.

    The abovementioned products are only a handful of what is available in the current market. If yoy need any assistance in choosing the right one for your horse, then please visit us in store or online. We are always happy to help! 

    *Johnson, A.C.B., and A.S. Biddle. Microbiome effects on metabolic efficiencies in easy and hard keepers. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 76:40.

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