Reproduction, performance, schedule changes, travel — all can affect a horse’s delicate digestive system. If gut health is an issue for your horse, or if your horse experiences regular stress, adding a probiotic may help support digestion.
What do probiotics do for your horse?
Increasingly, research shows the importance of the microbiome (population of microbes in the gut) to overall health. Life stressors can disrupt the microbiome, which is where probiotics may have benefits for both humans and horses.
“Colic, lack of appetite and a decline in performance are potential problems resulting from digestive issues,” says Dr. Nettie Liburt, PAS Senior Equine Nutrition Manager, Mars Horsecare US. “A consistent diet with the support of probiotics may be useful in reducing the effects of stress on the digestive system.”
What are probiotics?
The World Health Organization defines probiotics as live microorganisms that when administered at adequate concentrations confer a health benefit on the host. You may have heard them referred to as “good bacteria” or “good bugs.”
Another name for probiotics is direct fed microbials (DFMs). DFMs are intended to provide live colonies of lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB), typically found in the intestines of healthy animals1. LAB produce vitamins, enzymes and volatile fatty acids (used in energy production), all of which may aid digestion, provide nutritional value and promote gastrointestinal (GI) health1.
“Common species of LAB include Lactobacilli and Enterococcus, which are added to BUCKEYE™ Nutrition EQ8™ products,” says Dr. Liburt. These species of bacteria are found in healthy equine microbiomes and are believed to help reduce or exclude the growth of potential pathogens.
Application is important
Probiotics are only useful if they’re still active once the horse consumes the feed. They’re heat sensitive, so they need to be added to a feed after processing.
BUCKEYE Nutrition uses trademarked technology to apply probiotics. This process ensures even distribution of live probiotics in the feed, so they remain protected to be beneficially active in the horse’s digestive system.
“Our probiotic application technology separates us from other companies,” says Amber Krotky, MS, PAS, Quality and Product Development Manager, Mars Horsecare US Inc. “It’s our proprietary method of guaranteeing proper application and delivery of live probiotics."
At BUCKEYE Nutrition, we formulate all our feeds based on current scientific research and knowledge of equine nutrition. If you’re looking for a horse feed to support optimal digestion, EQ8™ Gut Health Multi-Textured Feed or EQ8™ Senior Gut Health Multi-Textured Feed might be your answer.
1. National Research Council. 2007. Nutrient Requirements of Horses, 6th Ed. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.