Competition horses: the challenges to gut health

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Horses competing at all levels, from Pony Club to the Olympics, can be subject to lifestyle challenges which can negatively affect their gut health.

These include:

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Stress

  • Transport to competitions

  • Management changes

  • Low forage diet

  • High concentrate diet

  • Limited turnout

  • Change of routine when away competing

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These factors can negatively impact the balance of beneficial and pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the hindgut. Imbalance is known as ‘dysbiosis’ and can lead to a decrease in pH causing hindgut acidosis.

This can lead to inflammation of the gut, causing problems such as diarrhoea, behavioural change, weight loss, colonic ulceration, colic and poor performance. 

To help to support healthy gut flora it is a good idea to feed a hindgut supplement. 

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The Coopers Gut range contains a mixture of prebiotics and postbiotics which support the beneficial bacteria and therefore help to maintain normal gut function.

There are approximately 200 types of bacteria/organism in each section of the horse’s gut, all with different functions.

Every horse has its own unique balance of microflora and feeding prebiotics and postbiotics helps to support the horse’s own healthy bacteria.

Find out more about horse gut supplements.