WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY GUT FLORA?


Healthy gut flora (beneficial bacteria) are fundamental for good fibre digestion.

Digestion of fibre occurs through fermentation by healthy (beneficial) bacteria within the gut and this process provides the horse with an essential source of slow release energy. In addition, maintaining high levels of healthy gut flora helps to keep those pathogenic (bad) bacteria at bay keeping the microbial balance in equilibrium. An imbalance in gut flora caused by too few beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria is known as dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis can cause inflammation of the gut leading to clinical problems such as diarrhoea, colonic ulceration and poor body condition. In a large scale study the incidence of colonic ulceration was found to be 44% in leisure horses, increasing to 63% in performance horses. 1



1. Pellegrini, F. Results of a Large-Scale Necropscopic Study of Equine Colonic Ulcers. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science March 2005 (113-117)