Probiotics for horses
Probiotics are a live microbial feed supplement which can benefit the horse by enhancing and improving the microbial balance within the horses gut, resulting in the improved maintenance of good health and condition. A multi-strain will also promote the efficient digestion of food leading to reduced feed costs and enhance the body's defence mechanism to disease.
A probiotic supplement for horses can help to
· Keep the digestive system in balance.
· Reduce the risk of digestive upset caused by change of diet.
· Promote efficient digestion and reduce feed bills.
· Protect against gastric problems caused by pathogenic bacteria.
· Protect against the effects of stressful situations such as travel, competition, racing, change of environment, illness, weaning etc.
· Reduce unwanted side-effects from antibiotics.
· Keep the immune system boosted.
· Increase milk production from lactating mares and increase early growth in foals.
· Maintain overall good health and condition.
· Reduce the incidence of persistent and sporadic colics.
MICROFLORA AND THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
The horses digestive system has evolved to process large quantities of high fibre forage on an almost continuous basis. Due to the requirements of competition and modern management the horse has to utilise high energy diets. In order to break this down to digestible products it relies on the assistance of billions of beneficial micro-organisms which live in the gut. These micro-organisms produce enzymes that convert food into its basic constituents which can be readily absorbed through the horses gut wall. A probiotic presentation should comprise up to seven strains of naturally occurring micro-organisms including yeasts. These have been chosen to survive the acidity of the stomach and for their ability to multiply rapidly, colonise the gut and replace microflora which has been removed through illness or stress. Probiotics promote efficient digestion and ensures optimum use of the horses feed. Use of a probiotic has been shown to increase digestibility of essential minerals such as calcium and zinc. Elements of the microflora are responsible for the production and bioavailability of B group vitamins.
PROBIOTICS AND THE EFFECTS OF COMPETITION AND TRAVEL
The delicate balance of microflora within the gut can easily be disturbed by stresses such as competition, travel and changes in diet. This will reduce the efficiency of the digestive system and may result in problems such as scouring or invasion by unfavourable bacteria. The feeding of PROBIOTICS ensures that, whenever the balance of the gut might be disturbed, friendly bacteria are available to recolonise available spaces and restart the sequence of events which will lead to a re-establishment of a stable and beneficial microflora.
IMMUNITY AND RESISTANCE TO DISEASE
Illness, antibiotic therapy and worming, can cause a disruption of the gut microflora which may lead to scouring and invasion of the gut by pathogens*. Some of the organisms present in probiotics produce natural anti-microbial products capable of inhibiting the reproduction of invading bacteria. Colonisation of the gut by probiotic bacteria can exclude potential pathogenic bacteria through competition for space and nutrients.
Bacteria present in probiotics can stimulate the horses immune system through the production of immunoglobins and cells (phagocytes) whose role is to destroy invading pathogens*. (* Pathogen - any agent that may cause disease)
A stimulated immune system coupled with the increased production of interferon may protect against some viral infections which could strike performance horses.
PROBIOTICS FOR USE IN STUDS
Pregnant and lactating mares have been shown to benefit from the feeding of probiotics. Improvement in the quality and quantity of milk can increase the early growth of foals. New born foals can be inoculated with a beneficial micro-flora through the use of a probiotic and the incidence of scouring in foals may be reduced.
REGULAR USE OF A PROBIOTIC
The maintenance of a healthy micro-flora in the horses gut will improve general health, appearance, performance and temperament. Efficient hind gut fermentation can help reduce the incidence of laminitis, azotoria, colics and other digestive disturbances.
PROBIOTICS are natural and entirely safe, have no known overdose levels, no unwanted side effects.