The Keys to Equine Digestive Health
For horses that regularly graze on live grass or pasture they will get these “three amigos” naturally. But for horses that have little to no graze time or are under higher stresses (performance horses or horses that or ill or injured, horses being hauled for long distances, etc.) these key essentials to equine digestion, will need to be supplemented. To maintain proper digestion horses need prebiotics, equine probiotics, and equine digestive enzymes.
Before we explore the details and benefits of these 3 Amigos To Equine Digestive Health, it's important that you acknowledge and have an awareness of a few other crucial pieces to your horse's digestive wellness. Even the best digestive supplement for horses will be in effective if these critical factor are ignored.
First, is regular dental exams. The feeds that most domestic horses are fed are much less dense and considerably “softer” than what a horse would encounter in the wild. Because your horse has teeth that continuously grow and their diets no longer wear down their teeth properly… it's imperative that your horse have regular dental exams to ensure that they don't have long tips.
If your horse's teeth are wearing unevenly or have protruding tips that need addressed it can cause ulcers within their mouth. Not only do the painful sores put your horse at increased risk for dental disease and infection. It can also reduce your horse's ability to grind their food efficiently. As a result the food matter sent through the digestive system will not be broke down and the accessibility to nutrients from feed can be dramatically decreased.
Sometimes the best digestive aid for horses is found within their care routine. This is especially true when it comes to equine digestive health. The pH of your horse's digestive system is regulated in part by the saliva your horse produces. But your horse only produces saliva in proportion to when they are eating and grinding food.
So if your horse is like that many that experience long fasting periods of 6 to 8 hours or even longer… it's common and likely they they will be at higher risk for stomach problems and other digestive concerns. Utilizing slow feeders or adjusting your horse's feed schedule alone can make all the difference in the health and function of their GI tract.
Does your horse's current diet include support for these essentials to equine digestive health?
Once you've addressed those simple and powerful factors to equine digestive health, you're ready to search out horse digestive supplements. Even the top equine supplements with fall short of delivering long term results if you're not boosting ALL three of the 3 Amigos to Equine Digestive Health.
1. Equine Prebiotic
A prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. It helps maintain a healthy environment for the microbial population that promotes the proper function of the horse's digestive tract. The large intestine of the horse has over 400 different kinds of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. This is one reason it is important to feed an equine digestive supplement that supports this microbial environment.
2. Equine Probiotic
Animals and humans both are full of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that promote health and balance of the body. Probiotics are strains of bacteria that are known to benefit the body. It is best if you can use species specific probiotics when available. There are many supplements that claim to contain probiotics… if you do not see any benefits when adding it to your horse's diet it is a flag that either the supplement does not contain active or optimal probiotic strains or your horse's GI tract needs additional support to balance pH and the environment of the GI tract.
3. Equine Digestive Enzymes
The horse's body is made up of trillions of cells, and there are different cells for different functions. Enzymes are what make chemical reactions in cells happen. They are vital for life and serve a wide range of functions in the body, including aiding in digestion and metabolism. The horse's small intestine utilizes enzymes for digestion, so it is important to supplement equine digestive enzymes. Especially if yours horse does not have regular access to living grass and pasture to graze.
Best Indicators or Times To Support With Equine Probiotics or Digestive Enzymes
- Your horse is expressing high levels of stress. Whether mental, emotional, or physical. Note that even boredom or lack of exercise can increase stress for a horse.
- Your care routine has long fasting periods that are beyond your control.
- Your horse is experiencing an illness or is recovering from injury.
- When infectious sickness or viral conditions are spreading in your area and you want to boost your horse's immune system.
- You plan to vaccinate or chemically de-worm your horse.
If any of the following situations align with your horse's current condition or lifestyle then supporting them with equine digestive enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics is highly recommended.
Don't Allow Dangerous Digestive Problems Linger-
In my content, I share the story of supporting my mare through health concerns, naturally, after traditional methods had failed and euthanasia became the only recommendation veterinarians had for her. Part of our mission has to do with the success I had in helping her, and wanting that for your horse…
The reality is Pokey had been “telling” me for years that there was a concern, but sadly the vets and other equine professionals and mentors I had at the time told me the things I noticed were no big deal! So I created a free pdf guide that shares 10 Tell Tale Signs Your Horse May Be Suffering From Dangerous Digestive Problems. Click Here to download your copy today.
Pokey struggled with #3 on this list for years and yet I was told she was just lazy and it was a training/behavioral problem. Don't let others misguide you or silence what your horse wants you to know. This guide can further support you in deciding if adding equine probiotics and digestive enzymes should be a priority in providing the best care for your horse.
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Life is better when you're horsin’ around!