Stress is a term used to describe any activity that disrupts the horse's normal day of standing around in the paddock eating grass and chatting to friends. It includes changing feed, going to shows, having the vet round or even the farrier. It has been shown that any stress can have an effect on the microbiome in the horse's gut leading to changes in the microflora and affecting the health of the horse.
Prebiotics, probiotics and yeasts are direct fed microbials designed to help stabilise the gut, minimise changes to the microflora, prevent proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and importantly, boost the immune function.
There are many different probiotic bacteria which have been studied and used in animals to boost production, help prevent disease and stimulate the immune function.
Equi Minerals Plus equine supplement uses two types of probiotic, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus lichinformis. B.subtilis is a well known species used in all farm animals where it has been shown to block adhesion of pathogenic bacteria and boost immunity. A recent trial in cattle found a daily dose of B. subtilis up or down regulated almost 11,000 genes related to the immune function.
The probiotic B.lichinformis not only affects the immune response, but has been found to stimulate alpha-amylase enzyme production that is used to digest starch in the small intestine. This, in conjunction with the added amylase enzyme, could make the feeding of cereal grains safer and more efficient leading to a decreased risk of hindgut acidosis.
Prebiotic MOS (mannan oligosaccharide) and yeasts work to maintain the hindgut environment and provide optimum conditions for beneficial fibre digesting bacteria along with providing a food source for other beneficial microbes. In addition, MOS has been shown to have a specific binding effect on pathogenic bacteria preventing them from colonising the gut and adhering to the wall of the intestine.
The use of these direct fed microbials has been shown to ameliorate the effects of stress through modulating and stabilising the gut microbiome. By keeping the gut healthy, the horse's recovery time from stress due to exercise, illness, travel or competition is reduced and overall well-being enhanced.