Prebiotics and probiotics can be beneficial for horses by promoting a healthy digestive system, improving nutrient absorption, and enhancing overall health and immunity.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to the digestive system. They help to improve the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which can be disrupted by stress, illness, antibiotic use, or other factors. Probiotics can help to improve digestion, reduce the risk of colic, and boost immunity.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for the good bacteria in the gut. They help to stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, which can enhance nutrient absorption and support overall health.
Both prebiotics and probiotics can be given to horses in the form of supplements or added to their feed.
Prebiotics and probiotics can also be helpful for horses with a history of gastric ulcers. See our previous post on the incidence of ulcers on racing and performance horses. (In summary, research shows that racing, endurance and performance horses have incidence of ulcers from 66-100%, whereas pleasure horses that rarely or never compete have an incidence of 11%).
37% of untrained Thoroughbreds have ulcers, but that rate increases to 80-100% within 2-3 months of training.
Prebiotics and probiotics can help horses with a history of gastric ulcers by promoting a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive system and supporting overall digestive health. Here are some ways they can help:
Boosting beneficial bacteria: Probiotics help to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help to improve digestion and reduce inflammation. This can help to prevent the development of gastric ulcers.
Enhancing nutrient absorption: Prebiotics and probiotics can improve nutrient absorption in the digestive system, which can help horses to maintain a healthy weight and overall health. This can help to reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.
Reducing inflammation: Probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the gut. This can be beneficial for horses with gastric ulcers, as inflammation can worsen the condition.
Supporting the healing process: Probiotics can also help to support the healing process of gastric ulcers. They can help to reduce inflammation and improve the balance of bacteria in the gut, which can promote healing.
If your horse currently has ulcers, omeprazole can help to reduce the acute inflammation for squamous ulcers, but we could encourage you to also consider other management practices outlined in the previous post.
If your horse has a history of gastric ulcers, or has ever raced - whether a galloper, pacer, trotter or endurance - or has been a performance horse, we could recommend you consider a prebiotic and/or probiotic for your horse. We have also had a lot of success helping horses with chronic scours (loose stools) - particularly in elderly horses.
We carry one of each: Yea Sacc Probiotic and Bio Mos Prebiotic. These are manufactured by Alltech Liernert - you may recognise the name as the the sponsors of the FEI World Equestrian Games. We sell these two products by the kilo at $35 each. They are natural yeasts and fibres - neither are a chemical or pharma-logical intervention. The dosage is a mere 10 grams per day, making them two of the most cost-effective and simple methods of assisting horses with a history of gastric ulcers or other chronic digestive problems.