Horses are hindgut fermenters that rely on large populations of beneficial microbes to digest their forage-based diets. The hindgut includes the colon and cecum, which house the diverse microbiota responsible for fermenting fiber to produce energy and essential nutrients.
A balanced microbiota is essential for efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. But dietary changes, stress, and other environmental factors in modern horse management often lead to disruptions in the intestinal microbiota.
When populations of beneficial bacteria can’t thrive, the overgrowth of harmful microbes can contribute to poor digestive function. Research suggests that even subtle changes in microbial populations may significantly affect equine health (Kauter et al., 2019).
Many horse owners turn to prebiotics and probiotics to promote a healthy hindgut, but these products alone may not provide adequate support. Keep reading to learn more about prebiotics, probiotics, and how comprehensive nutritional support with SUCCEED can benefit the equine hindgut.
Prebiotic vs. Probiotic
A high-quality, forage-based diet is the best way to support healthy gut microbiota. But performance horses subject to additional stress from training, competition, and confinement and fed grain-based diets may benefit from additional digestive support.
Prebiotics and probiotics are both nutritional supplements used to support microbiota health in horses. Yet these supplements are entirely different products with unique mechanisms of action.
Probiotics for Horses
Probiotics are direct-fed microbials that contain live microorganisms. These supplements claim to support the re-colonization of beneficial microbial populations by introducing additional strains of good bacteria into the digestive tract.
Common probiotic species in equine supplements include Lactobacillus, Bacillus, and Enterococcus bacteria strains. However, the equine microbiota is highly individual. Each horse has a unique bacterial environment, so standard supplementation may not provide any benefit.
Also, research on the effectiveness of equine probiotics is inconclusive. For probiotics to work, the microbes have to reach the hindgut alive—without being degraded in the digestive process. More research is needed to determine if direct-fed microbials in equine products can survive and alter gut microbiota (Cooke et al., 2021).
Prebiotics for Horses
Prebiotics are ingredients that stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Horses can’t digest these ingredients. Instead, they provide food for the good microbes naturally present in the equine hindgut.
Most prebiotics are complex carbohydrates. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and mannooligosaccharides (MOS) are common prebiotics in equine products. Good microorganisms digest these ingredients and use them as energy for activity and reproduction.
Research suggests that prebiotics can help reduce microbial disturbances in the equine hindgut due to external stressors. Prebiotics may also improve tolerance to high-starch diets, with one study observing minimal microbial shifts in horses fed prebiotics on a high-barley diet (Respondek et al., 2008).
Prebiotics may also increase the production of volatile fatty acids (VFAs). Hindgut bacteria ferment fiber to produce VFAs, which horses use as a primary energy source (Berg et al., 2005).
These ingredients may also improve fiber digestibility. One study found prebiotics improved fiber digestion in senior horses that struggled to maintain their weight on a control diet (Heaton et al., 2019).
What is SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program?
SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program is a patented formula that offers comprehensive daily nutritional support for optimal gut function. It is a once-a-day, everyday program for the ongoing management of total gut health. It does contain prebiotic ingredients, but it also does much more.
You should always consult your veterinarian about any equine health concerns. But if your horse has digestive challenges, he may benefit from broader support than just a probiotic or prebiotic. While SUCCEED provides MOS from yeast, it’s much more than just a prebiotic supplement.
Nutrients in SUCCEED
SUCCEED contains vital nutrients that support the entire digestive tract through a targeted, simple nutritional program. The ingredients in SUCCEED support both digestive function and the health of the digestive anatomy in a daily formula that fits readily into your feeding regimen.
Components of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain of yeast included in SUCCEED are a concentrated source of mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) and nucleotides.
MOS is a prebiotic that supports a balanced gut microflora. And nucleotides from yeast help maintain a healthy intestinal tract by supporting cell growth and repair.
SUCCEED features a specialized oat flour that uses the outer hull or bran of the oat, rather than interior starch of the oat found in ordinary baking flour. Oat bran is rich in beta-glucan and low in starch.
Beta-glucan protects digestive health by limiting the adverse effects of starch in the hindgut. This nutrient helps maintain a healthy transit rate of feedstuffs through the GI tract, which allows efficient digestion of sugars in the small intestine.
The oat oil used in SUCCEED is derived from a unique extraction process that retains a greater concentration of polar lipids. These fat molecules have a vital role in normal digestive health and function.
Polar lipids are essential to the structure and function of cellular membranes. In the equine digestive tract, they help maintain the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and promote optimal nutrient absorption.
SUCCEED’s formula contains the amino acids l-glutamine and l-threonine. L-glutamine fuels intestinal epithelial cells, which make up the digestive tract lining. This amino acid also assists with nutrient absorption and strengthens the mucosal barrier.
L-threonine is an essential amino acid with beneficial effects on equine gastrointestinal health. This amino acid contributes to healthy gut function by supporting nutrient absorption and mucus production.
Take the SUCCEED Challenge
Experience the benefits of targeted nutritional support for equine digestive health in just 60 days with SUCCEED.
U.S. horse owners can try SUCCEED risk-free with the SUCCEED Challenge. Customers outside of the U.S. can find out how to buy SUCCEED here.
- Kauter, A. et al. (2019) The gut microbiome of horses: current research on equine enteral microbiota and future perspectives. Anim Microbiome.
- Cooke, C. et al. (2021) The Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Probiotic Bacteria for Equine Use. J Equine Vet Sci.
- Respondek, F. et al. (2008) Effects of dietary short-chain fructooligosaccharides on the intestinal microflora of horses subjected to a sudden change in diet. J Anim Sci.
- Berg, E. et al. (2005) Fructooligosaccharide supplementation in the yearling horse: Effects on fecal pH, microbial content, and volatile fatty acid concentrations. J Anim Sci.
- Heaton, C. et al. (2019) Are prebiotics beneficial for digestion in mature and senior horses? J Equine Vet Sci.