Holistic Horsekeeping Newsletter February 2014

February 2014

Holistic Horse Health: Is Your Horse’s Gut a Community or a Slum?

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse.
Volume 19, Number 2


In This Issue:

Holistic Horse Health: Is Your Horse’s Gut a Community or a Slum?


Holistic Horse Health: Is Your Horse’s Gut a Community or a Slum?
I spent 4 days last fall attending a seminar devoted solely to the digestive tract of the horse. There was a small group of us from all over the US as well as a vet from Canada and England. Our goal is to understand the horse gut well enough to prevent, recognize and treat bacterial dysbiosis and the multitude of problems this causes for the horse. Dysbiosis means there is the wrong population of microflora or the right microflora are not behaving in the way they should.

Resident and Transient Bacteria
First, we focused on which bacteria are supposed to live in the gut. These are resident bacteria and the ones we want to support. Transient bacteria are squatters that can pass through the gut but should not live there. Resident and beneficial bacteria can live in a delicate balance with each other but the beneficial bacteria are the population you want to support. Beneficial bacteria produce substances that the body needs and they act as a barrier to toxins and parasites getting through the gut wall.

Community or Slum?
Think of the gut as a neighborhood. Is it a community or a slum? When you have an established population of home owners there is a strong incentive to keep the neighborhood clean and respectable. Yards stay mowed and trash is picked up regularly. If someone moves from the neighborhood and no new homeowner moves in some homeless transients may move in. The homeowners and transients can get along fine as long as the transients take care of the vacant property. Having a homeless person is so much better than vacant homes that could be taken over by drug dealers. The problem is that transients may not be inclined to take as good of care of the property because they don’t plan to stay long and they have few resources.

Too many transient bacteria that decide to stick around can produce substances that are not beneficial to the resident bacteria. The toxic environment breaks down the mucus barrier in the gut wall and the beneficial bacteria have no place to live.

Now you have more transients and maybe a few drug dealers living in the vacant homes and some of the homeowners may start to get discouraged and let their properties fall into disrepair or simply move out leaving more vacant homes.

Natural Solutions
The best way to keep the bad bacteria from sticking around is to make their lives miserable. Beneficial bacteria do this by producing substances that the transient bacteria don’t like. The advantage that transient bacteria have is that they are not picky eaters. Beneficial bacteria have certain food preferences for fats, sugars or proteins. Transients just eat everything and thrive. They are happy to munch down any poorly digested food that is left over.

What if the homeowners set very rigid standards and insist the transients keep up the property they have moved into. Beneficial bacteria do this by producing substances that transients don’t like. You can support beneficial bacteria by feeding good bacteria fermentation products that create a very clean environment conducive to the growth of healthy bacteria. The homeowners could also set up community gardens and only eat quality foods and compost the leftovers. This would leave nothing for the transients to feast on. Nutrient dense foods such as blue green algae and other whole food prebiotics accomplish this outcome.

How to keep your horse’s gut a community:

  • Feed good bacteria fermentation products such as Ration Plus or Probi
  • Feed prebiotic and probiotic combination products such as PrePro or a product that contains 13 types of probiotics, whole food prebiotics plus blue green algae and sprouts

If you think your horse’s gut is already headed toward slum status:
Support the building of a new neighborhood with the products above plus one or more of the following:

Feeding beneficial bacteria fermentation products, probiotics and prebiotics in small amounts on a regular basis will help support and feed the beneficial bacterial populations. In other words, keep homeowners living in the neighborhood. This should be done with any horse that is under stress and before they show gut problems. If you wait until your horse shows gut problems it may be too late to prevent the loss of the healthy bacterial population. The neighborhood may already be falling apart and need stronger support.

You can find a wide range of digestive support products in the digestive section of our store if you are looking for a product not listed in this article.

We also have extensive articles on digestive health and ulcer treatment in our blog.

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