Horses are designed to be trickle feeders, chewing high fibre roughage for the majority of the day. Their digestive systems are adapted to efficiently use this fibre for energy, with 60-70% of a horse’s energy requirements coming from the hindgut. The population of micro-organisms in the hindgut ferment the high fibre roughage to slowly release energy in the form of volatile fatty acids. These clever micro-organisms also support the local gut immune system and preventing the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

Stressful lifestyle changes that modern horses encounter, such as seasonal changes in exercise and turnout, transportation and even certain medications can often disrupt the delicate balance of micro-organisms in the hindgut. This can manifest as diarrhoea, weight loss and poor performance.

Supporting your horse’s hindgut

Supplements that go in your horse’s feed are a great way to help your horse’s hindgut through stressful situations. Supplements such as the Coopers® Gut Range include pre and post biotics to help to support the beneficial hindgut bacteria and normal hindgut function.

What are pre- and post-biotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible for the horse but act as food for the healthy bacteria in their gut. Supporting the hindgut through stimulating the growth and activity of the beneficial bacteria.

Postbiotics are by-products produced from the fermentation process which have a positive effect on the beneficial bacteria within the hindgut and are likely to help:

  • Protect the healthy bacteria against pathogenic bacteria

  • Support a healthy intestinal barrier

  • Support the gut’s natural immune system

  • Support healthy bacteria by contributing to the structure of the cell wall

The Coopers® Gut range also contains free amino acids to help horses maintain condition.

The Coopers® Gut Range contains 3 key products to help support your horses hindgut:

  • Coopers® Gut Equalise is ideal for short term use during periods of expected stress and digestive imbalance in adults in foals such as transport or weaning.

  • Coopers® Gut Support is designed for longer term use to help maintain normal gut function. During periods of high energy requirements or during recovery and convalescence Coopers Gut Support can help maintain body condition.

  • Coopers® Gut Assist contains smectite and is designed for short term using where there is digestive disturbance in adults and foals during periods of stress such as turnout.

Written by: MSD (Guest Author)