Horses have evolved as trickle feeders, designed to be eating roughage/fibre for a large portion of their day. Digestion of this fibre occurs through fermentation by healthy bacteria within the hindgut and this process provides the horse with an essential source of slow release energy.
In addition to the digestion of fibre, the healthy bacteria help to keep those bad bacteria at bay, keeping the microbial balance in equilibrium. An imbalance in gut flora caused by too few healthy bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria is known as dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis can cause inflammation and hindgut disturbances, leading to potential clinical problems such as colonic ulceration, diarrhoea, poor body condition, poor performance or behavioural issues.
Unfortunately, there are a number of modern feeding and management practices which can cause dysbiosis and may affect your horse either in the short term or can be on-going. These practices include:
Management changes which can trigger stress
Low forage diet
High cereal diet
Feeding and diet changes
As many of these practices can’t be avoided most owners are constantly looking for ways to support their horse’s gut function to try and keep their horse as healthy as possible.
MSD Animal Health has just launched Coopers® Gut, a whole new range of feed supplements to help do just that. The Coopers Gut range uses a mixture of prebiotics and postbiotics, with the aim of supporting the healthy gut flora and hindgut function keeping the horse healthy from the inside out.
There are three products within the range, Coopers Gut Support: prebiotic and postbiotic pellets to be mixed with feed or fed alone for daily use to help maintain normal gut function and optimum body condition; Coopers Gut Equalise: a prebiotic and postbiotic oral paste to help maintain normal digestive function in foals and adult horses during times of stress or digestive imbalance and Coopers Gut Assist: a prebiotic and postbiotic oral powder for horses enriched with smectite for use during periods of moderate and severe digestive disturbance.
To find out more about this range and if your horse could benefit from one of the products, speak to us at Aldington Equine Vets or visit www.coopers-range.co.uk.
Our vet David will be introducing the product at our Horse Owners Meeting on Wednesday 27th at Mytton Fold, and there will be literature on the product available. The evening is open to everyone to attend and admission is free so come along !