Holistic Horse Health: The Buzz From the Barn

Madalyn on horseMadalyn Ward, DVM shares her answers to specific holistic horse care questions from clients.

Client #1:

Q – I bought the Probios for my horse as there was no equine-specific product at the health food store. I found a couple of interesting-sounding products online but couldn’t follow the links to order them. I found information saying that the human probiotics contain the wrong micro-organisms to be beneficial in the horse’s gut and in fact may be harmful, in that you are possibly populating the gut with inappropriate bacteria that may compete with the horse’s beneficial bacteria. What are your thoughts on humans and horses needing different probiotics?

A – I am seeing more talk about human probiotics vs equine but I have had amazing results with this brand of probiotics for the last 30 years. As you know, I don’t care for most probiotic formulas on the market as they don’t seem to be very effective. We do have one product that is equine origin. It is the Equiotic but I am suspect of it. I have fed it to mine for a month and don’t see any difference over the New Earth. Their cultures come from slaughterhouse horses, I wonder how healthy that population of horses would be. I would love to see cultures from young horses that have been raised in pasture and never received vaccines or antibiotics. That is a product I would look at. In the meantime I will stick with products I know work such as the New Earth, PrePro, Pro-Bi, Ration Plus and ProbioticWise.

Client #2:

Q – What is a good general supplement for quarter horse mares ages five to twenty? And what is a good salt for them?

A – I would say this powdered algae blend is the best all around supplement for horses. It is a whole food and has a balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients like chlorophyll. You can feed as little as a tsp a day and see benefits. You feed more when horses are in work or stressed. I use a plain white salt block for healthy, non-working horses and the Himalayan salt that comes in the blocks for working horses as it has a better profile of minerals that are available for the horse. I would also consider using an electrolyte formula on days that my horse was sweating a lot. I like the electrolyte products that do not contain much sugar or food colorings. In a pinch you can use an ounce of Morton lite salt but it can irritate the stomach on some horses.

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