A healthy horse is a happy horse. That is our motto at Natural Equestrians. A balanced gut is a necessary component for every horse and human! Today we will learn about the best prebiotics and probiotics for horses.
Probiotics and prebiotics play an essential role in the gut health of your horse. Not only does the bacteria balance play a role in their digestive health, but studies are showing a connection between the gut, brain, and even immune system.
Who doesn’t want a naturally healthy horse? Come along as we explore how the use of pro and pre-biotics can help your horse be the best it can be!
The Who, What, Where, And Why Of Probiotics
You may wonder why probiotics are necessary, and the answer is quite simple. They can enhance the overall health and performance of your horse.
In recent years, the use of probiotics in humans has become increasingly popular as the body of research has grown. A balanced gut is essential to the overall health of the body, mind, and immune system.
What is a probiotic? In its simplest form, probiotics are live beneficial bacteria. By supplementing good bacteria you can replenish your horse’s digestive tract. It is important that horses have this balance in their hindgut as it promotes healthy formed stools, and reduces the risk of colic and other sicknesses.
Why does your horse need good bacteria? Without good bacteria, bad bacteria can take over. If the bad bacteria overpopulate problems can arise. You might see diarrhea or other conditions. Probiotics are excellent treatment and preventative for horses of all ages.
The Pros Of Using Probiotics For Horses
Probiotics are so beneficial for horse health, that it is difficult to think of negatives. The word, “pro” in probiotics means promoting and biotic means life. In simple terms, probiotics promote life. Horses deserve to feel their best, and probiotics can achieve this.
Probiotics are live good bacteria that can restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. A properly balanced gut is crucial to having an overall healthy horse. A horse that can digest food properly will be better able to absorb the nutrients in the hay, feed, and supplements.
Probiotics are often referred to in terms of CFUs. What is CFU? Well, a CFU is a colony forming unit. When buying a probiotic for your beloved pony, be sure to check the colony forming units. The higher the CFU the more live good bacteria. This means the stronger the probiotic, the better it will be able to populate your horse’s digestive tract.
Top 5 Reasons To Use Probiotics For Horses
- Hard keeper- If your horse is a hard keeper, they can benefit from this supplement. When horses have difficulty digesting food or keeping on weight on it often points to an intestinal flora imbalance. By providing the horse with life promoting bacteria they will be more able to put on and maintain their weight.
- Foal To First Year- Foals can greatly benefit from the inclusion of probiotics. These probiotics will help establish a proper balance of good bacteria in their intestinal tract and give them a very good start.
- Senior Horses- Senior horses have special needs. These horses often need special help to maintain good condition. Their digestive system doesn’t work as well, and can greatly benefit from probiotic supplementation.
- Traveling- If your horses are being trailered or taken to shows this can put a stress on their immune system and digestive tract. Giving these horses probiotics can help reduce gut upset and boost the immune system. Probiotics are highly recommended for horses showing or being trailered.
- Prevention- At Natural Equestrians we highly recommend probiotics for all horses. It is an excellent preventative and can curb digestive problems before they begin. Probiotics promote life for the digestive and immune systems.
Prebiotics- The Beneficial Fiber
Prebiotics are an important part of your horse’s diet. Prebiotics are the beneficial carbohydrates and fibers that feed the live bacteria. Prebiotics also help feed the existing bacteria in your horse’s digestive tract.
Most quality probiotic supplements will contain prebiotics that feeds the beneficial bacteria being given to your horse. The best way to think of prebiotics is food for beneficial bacteria.
There are several natural sources of prebiotic fiber. These sources include chicory root and unsugared beet. These can be very beneficial prebiotics for your horse.
According to Allen and Page, there are two common types of prebiotic fibers. These fibers include Mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). MOS works to eliminate the overgrowth of bad bacteria and feed the good bacteria. FOS provides energy and nutrients for beneficial bacteria.
In our experience, the easiest option is to find a supplement that contains the right balance pre-biotics and probiotics so that the live bacteria can thrive. Our horses deserve the very best, and adding prebiotics can do just that!
A Probiotic A Day Keeps The Vet Away
Have heard the adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?”, we believe that this rings true for the probiotic supplement. While studies are still being done in horses, the evidence is showing the benefit of probiotic supplements.
Many supplements proven to reduce colic include several strains of probiotics. Good gut health is crucial to the overall health of your horse. As equestrians, we want the very best for horses. I believe that the inclusion of a probiotic can enhance the health of horses.
There is such a parallel between horse and human health. Studies are just beginning to show all the wonderful benefits of probiotic supplementation. While there is no one supplement or probiotic that can solve all horse health problems, probiotics can certainly promote the health of your beloved equine friend.
After all, a probiotic a day keeps the vet away.
Probiotics For The Win
Wow! We have just learned a lot about probiotics and prebiotics for horses! At Natural Equestrians we love horses and their riders, and we are always on the lookout for all things that will benefit you and your horse.
Probiotics are an excellent supplement for horses and they can truly make a positive impact on their health. Before starting any supplement, it is always important to consult your veterinarian.
If you would like to learn more about natural horse health please leave a comment below, and feel free to check out our article on apple cider vinegar for horses.
Until we meet again, happy trails!