Keeping your mare and foal in optimum body condition and digestive health contributes to their general health and wellbeing.
Foals are born with very few bacteria in their gut. When they suckle for the first time, thousands of healthy bacteria in the colostrum (first milk) colonise the gut and the microflora (healthy bacterial population) starts to be established. However, the foal’s environment is full of bacteria, no matter how clean it appears, and if this healthy microflora is not established well and quickly, pathogenic (harmful) bacteria can get into the gut, multiply and cause disease, including diarrhoea or in serious cases, sepsis (blood infection and shock due to infection).
Weaning also affects gut health – when the foal’s nutrition changes from milk to hard feed and grass, the gut bacteria may become imbalanced, and digestive disturbance can result. Stress due to weaning can also upset the balance and cause problems.
How can I help my foal’s gut flora?
Giving your foal Coopers Gut Equalise (after he/she has had their first feed of colostrum) will encourage the healthy bacteria to colonise and establish a thriving microflora. This microflora forms the basis for a foal's general health as a youngster. The Coopers Gut range contains a blend of prebiotics and postbiotics. Prebiotics are substances which provide nutrition and support for the healthy bacteria to grow, and postbiotics mimic the effect of these bacteria, hence providing the right environment in the gut.
By using prebiotics and postbiotics to support the healthy gut flora there is no need to supplement with a probiotic (live bacteria/yeast/organism).
You should also consider giving Coopers Gut Equalise at other times when the gut flora may be disturbed such as foal heat, weaning and any diet or management changes.
How is the gut flora affected in my mare around foaling ?
There are a number of management changes that may occur around the time of foaling and during the postpartum period. These include:
- Moving a mare prior to foaling
- Changes in daily routine and social group
- Change of diet
These factors could lead to an imbalance in hindgut bacteria which can cause inflammation of the gut leading to clinical problems such as diarrhoea, colonic ulceration and poor body condition. This imbalance will decrease the number of beneficial bacteria and will impact the digestion of fibre and therefore the source of slow release energy.
Poor body condition may affect foaling, milk production and the likelihood of conceiving quickly post-foaling.
How can I support my mare to keep her in optimum body condition?
Feeding Coopers Gut Support helps support the healthy bacteria in the hindgut improving digestion and helping to maintain optimum body condition.
The Coopers Gut range contains a mixture of prebiotics and postbiotics which support the beneficial (good) bacteria and therefore support normal gut function, keeping your mare healthy from the inside out. Coopers Gut Support is in a pellet form to be mixed with feed or fed alone. It is also naturally rich in free amino acids and amino acid derivatives which help maintain optimum body condition during periods of high energy requirement such as pregnancy and lactation.
Start supplementing your mare from one month prior to foaling to two months post foaling.