Prebiotics and Probiotics

Probiotics help improve the digestive health of all ages of horses.

Nutritional supplements are administered for many different reasons. Supplements designed to support digestion are the second most commonly administered type behind joint supplements. BioEquine is an exceptional source of probiotics and contains the right balance of Vitamins C, A, D, E and zinc and natural silica to help promote joint health.

We at BioEquine firmly believe that a horse’s overall health relies upon optimal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. All horse owners know how sensitive a horse’s digestive system can be. We know that a healthy  GI system reduces gas and/or colic, improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, benefits the immune system, protects the horse against infection, minimizes the occurrence of laminitis and other structural problems. Prebiotics and probiotics are some of the most common ingredients in digestive health products.

Prebiotics are food ingredients that stimulate the growth or activity of good bacteria that live in the horses’ gut. They are usually long chains of sugar molecules such as fructooligosaccharides, xylooligosaccharides etc. They are digested by the “good bugs”. BioEquine does not contain prebiotics. We feel they are found in the normal diet and would dilute our concentrated formulation.

Probiotics are the live microorganisms themselves. They must be administered in adequate amounts and be in a stable form to retain potency.  BioEquine contains 15 different highly concentrated strains of probiotics.  BioEquine is so stable, it has a shelf life of 5 years.

Horse owners and veterinarians administer these products to horses primarily for GI-related concerns, to encourage the growth of the good microbes and to minimize the invasion and growth of disease-causing bacteria. For example, antibiotic administration, stress, transport, abrupt dietary changes and Clostridium spp. or Salmonella spp. infections can alter the normal microbe population in a horse’s large intestine. BioEquine is designed to be fed on a daily basis to help prevent any digestive upset, promote optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients thereby benefiting the whole horse in any and all of it’s activities.

What Happens Without Proper Nutrition
Today’s horse lifestyle includes limited grazing access if any, processed feeds, intense training and showing stresses, all which mess with the ability of the horse to maintain a healthy body.  Your horse’s stomach requires digestive enzymes to continue with the process of feed breakdown. The gastric juices start this breakdown, and then the bacteria make the feed into useable, absorbable compounds.  Without the proper digestive enzymes and beneficial intestinal bacterial being in place, the food passes through the system without being “fermented” the way it should, thus the nutrients that are in the feed stays in the feed and lost through the feces. This undigested food can lead to situations such as colic or colic-like symptoms, bloat, founder, and set up ideal parasite conditions. Antibiotics, of course not only destroy the bad bacterial, but also the good bacteria. That is why most times a horse will go “off feed” after antibiotic treatment. The bacteria have been eliminated from the digestive tract, and the only way to “start” the engine is to reintroduce the bacteria through supplementation.

What to watch for when looking for Probiotics for your Horse
When feeding a supplement with probiotic there are some criteria that should be met: first the product must contain LIVE microorganisms – if not, then it is not a probiotic and it will not to anything for your horse’s digestive system.  Some supplements have yeast added which increases the digestible energy content of the feed; however it needs to be live also. There are yeasts on the market that are “dead” and don’t do anything without the addition of live organisms. Also, not all strains of probiotic are created the same, thus your probiotic should have Lactobacillus sp to be effective and there needs to be 10-100 billion CFU/day of an organism to colonize the digestive tract.