Feeding grain, limiting forage, restricting turnout, training, hauling, going to new environments, and competition challenge equine digestive health. Unfortunately, many horses are in a constant state of poor gastrointestinal tract health as a result that affects not only their physical wellness, but behavior and performance, too. Sometimes these conditions are obvious, and sometimes they simmer beneath the surface.
Common digestive problems related to poor gi tract health in horses include:
While treatment and management programs tend to focus on protecting total gastric health, as you can see a wide range of problems also affect the hindgut.
Digestive tract health impacts nearly every aspect of your horse’s health and well-being. The digestive problems described above can cause significant discomfort for your horse, leading to behavioral issues, poor performance and a lower quality of life.
When the digestive tract doesn’t function optimally, horses can’t absorb the nutrients needed to support every other body system. Unbalanced gut microbiota also impairs immune function and increases the risk of harmful pathogens causing infections.
Recent studies also show a link between gut microbiota and the brain. The microbiota can influence mood, and disruptions may contribute to anxiety and depression in horses. In severe cases of gut dysbiosis, horses can also develop life-threatening problems like laminitis.
Providing comprehensive GI tract support for performance horses promotes healthy digestive function and minimizes the risks of digestive problems.
For many horses that have experienced a serious digestive issue, it’s not just a one-time thing. It’s this vicious diagnose-treat-repeat cycle that is often very expensive and potentially life-threatening for your horse.
The problem is that by simply treating a horse’s digestive problem, you aren’t getting to the root of what caused it in the first place.
There are several simple steps you can take in how you feed and manage your horses that will promote digestive wellness and help break this cycle.
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