With a brand New Year starting 2014 can be a fresh beginning for you and your horse. This is the time to start new regimes for yourself and your horse. This is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese horoscope which is great inspiration to make things extra special for your equine friend
Make this beginning an opportunity to reflect on your past experiences in managing horses. This can be a great start to give your horse the care and attention needed to ensure well being and health is optimum for the years ahead.
Horse & Bugs: Factors That Affect Good Bacteria
The best gift you can give your horse at the start of this year is the gift of health. A healthy gut means that your horse will be feeling well and this means they will perform and work to their best ability.
Here is a brief description on the horse’s digestive system that will help you understand why digestive health is important for these animals.
The horse is a non-ruminant herbivore. This only means that he needs to feed on plants on a regular basis and he does not possess multiple stomachs as cows or sheep do. However, the horse has a cecum. This part of the digestive system is encompassed in the large intestine or the hind-gut. It is where fermentation of feed occurs and it contains billions and billions of protozoa and bacteria. These bacterium are beneficial to the equine digestive system as they breakdown insoluble carbohydrates or fiber, which is used by the horse as their energy source.
On the other hand, soluble carbohydrates (obtained from starches and sugars) need to be digested and this process takes place in the small intestine. Grains and most of the feeds manufactured commercially contain high amounts of this type of carbohydrates. If the horse consumes too much soluble carbohydrates, the feed may be pushed through the small intestine and all the way to the cecum.
When feeds rich in high sugars or starches reach the cecum, they can make the bacteria in that area lose their capability of digesting the feed properly. When this happens, rapid fermentation, which is unnatural, occurs and during this process lactic acid is produced. Keep in mind that fermentation of feed is required for optimum GI function;
Therefore these bacteria are extremely helpful and useful. In addition products of fermentation in the gut include volatile fatty acids required for energy. The microbes also produce vitamins in the process of fermentation, and these are all important for the overall well-being of the animal.
In the event that fermentation in the gut is compromised, lactic acid accumulates and this tends to lower down the pH in the hindgut area, creating an acidic environment (which will result to cecal acidosis). As a result, the good bacteria die off and can release endotoxins into the bloodstream. These toxins may now cause laminitis or colic.
Rapid Changes in Feed can create an acidic environment?
The good bacteria in the cecum should be given enough time to adjust to the new feed. It takes around three weeks for the microbes to totally adjust to the new type of feed and perform optimum digestive functions. This is a reminder that owners who plan to change their type of feed should do it in a gradual manner.
Too Much Grass
Even though it is ideal to allow a horse to feed from a grass pasture too much grass can actually make them sick. When you need to introduce your horse to pasture, you need to do it slowly. The green grass can also disturb the microbial balance in the horse’s cecum. For instance, a horse that is used to feeding dry hay can experience problems when suddenly turned out.
Giving Antibiotics or De-worming Agents
If your horse is given antibiotics or has been wormed, some of the good bacteria population may be killed, especially if these drugs are used in excessive amounts. Giving equine probiotics can help in this situation as it augments the population of good bacteria, therefore restoring their balance.
Other possible problems that can occur in the cecum are usually caused by stress, reactions to vaccines, poor quality of water, sickness, and consuming moldy hay or feed. Anything that can affect a horse in a negative way can also have an effect on the microbial balance in the cecum.
Let your horse experience healthy living every day. Support good digestive health so your horse can perform well; Make sure your horse is able to absorb nutrients from the feed properly and will be well-protected from GI disturbances. Equine probiotics is your ticket to a healthy gut for your horse and you can get them at an affordable price from Abler.
Support the growth of good bacteria in your horse’s cecum. Use horse probiotics from Abler. Making 2014 and every year the year of the healthy horse.l.