A lot of horses struggle regularly with their intestines. This is not strange at all: their guts are very sensitive. The gastrointestinal system of horses is very complex and this is why sometimes problems arise. But did you know that a properly functioning immune system also has an effect on the guts and intestinal flora? Read this blog to learn all about intestinal flora.
The digestion of horses is very complicated and the most important ‘players’ are the guts and intestinal flora. Horses are true herbivores. The plants will be chewed and swallowed and the saliva help to get the digestion started. The chewed food ends up in the esophagus which transports the food into the stomach. Horses are made to eat all day small amounts because they only have a capacity of 8 to 15 liters in their stomach. This is why you always see horses eat when they are grazing.
Afterward, the food gets into the guts. First in the small intestine, then in the cecum and large intestine, and finally in the rectum. Did you know that the gastrointestinal system of a horse is 40 meters long? While the food is traveling through the system, all the nutrients of the plants will be extracted. Cows are chewing for minutes and also have multiple stomachs to digest the food. Horses don’t have this and that is why the intestinal flora is very important. The intestinal flora helps to digest the food. The intestinal flora, also known as the microbiome, is the complete system of micro-organisms that live in the gastrointestinal system. It consists of billions of yeasts, bacteria, and molds that help to digest the food. The microbiome also helps to take out micro-organisms such as viruses and worms.
It is sometimes said that the basis of a horse’s overall health is based on the intestines. This is not an exaggeration as the intestines are very important for a properly functioning immune system. The better the immune system is working, the better the horse is able to protect itself from disease. A big part of the immune system resides in the intestines. Is the intestinal flora out of balance, or is there a shortage of healthy bacteria in the guts? Then the immune system is less strong and could have nasty consequences.
As we said earlier, the intestinal flora of a horse is very sensitive. There are also other things that could cause a disbalance in the intestinal flora. Think about colic, medication, a change of ration, or a change of ration.
The food has a great influence on the health of the guts and intestinal flora in horses. The ration of most horses is roughly the same: roughage (hay, grass, silage, etc.), and often there will be also given some kind of concentrate. But did you know that wild horses eat a lot more than just what we offer? Wild horses eat up to 80 different plants! Think about different grasses, herbs, flowers, bushes, and even bark. Even though we can’t fully recreate this situation we can try to let our horses eat varied.
Varied food is important to feed the intestinal flora and to keep it this way balanced. Your horse therefore needs different herbs to stimulate the intestinal flora. A simple way to let your horse eat more vegetables and fruits is our Veggie Treat Mix. This delicious snacks are a low-key way to give them different herbs and vegetables.
Om een gezonde bacteriecultuur in de darmen te stimuleren en de darmflora in balans te houden, kan je jouw paard ondersteunen met onze darmkruiden. Deze speciale mix is ontwikkeld in samenwerking met Paard & Voeding en bestaat uit verschillende kruiden en mineralen die een positieve werking hebben op de darmflora van je paard. Hieronder gaan we dieper in op de ingrediënten en hun werkzame stoffen.
To stimulate a healthy bacterial culture, and to keep the intestinal flora balanced, you can give your horse intestinal herbs. This special mix is developed in cooperation with Paard & Voeding and consists of different herbs and minerals that have a positive effect on the intestinal flora of your horse. Below, we will explain the ingredients and its function.
Psyllium seeds: A lot of horses struggle because they eat too much sand in the meadows. When a horse eats too much sand, then it could have consequences in the intestines. Think about sand colic. Psyllium seeds will form a sticky mass in the intestines to which sand adheres. In this way, psyllium seeds contribute to the efficient removal of sand.
Fenugriek: Fenugreek is naturally rich in vitamins A, B, and C but also phosphor and calcic. It stimulates digestion and protects the mucous membranes in the intestines and stomach. Fenugreek also works soothing on the airways.
Sodium chloride: Also minerals, such as sodium chloride, are very important for properly functioning intestines. Minerals help to retain moisture in the body. This is very important for properly functioning intestines and works positively on bowel movements.
Oregano: Oregano is a herb that we all know from the Italian kitchen. Besides, that is smells nice and tastes, it is also very healthy. Oregano supports the intestines and stomach and helps to recover the intestinal flora.
Wormwood: Wormwood is a herb that was also used by the Romans to help during problems with the intestines and stomach. The herb, also known as Artemisia Absinthium, supports the intestines when it is unbalanced and stimulates digestion. Wormwood also keeps off parasites.
Curcuma: Curcuma is especially won out of the specially cultivated Curcuma Longa. The healthy substance in the yellow-orange powder is curcumin, which is an antioxidant. Curcuma also supports the joints, besides that it helps to balance out the intestinal flora.
Marigold: Marigold is a brightly colored orange flower that is naturally in the ration of a horse. This is not so strange as it is very healthy! Marigold also helps to support good blood circulation, and the removal of waste, and it supports the intestines, stomach, liver, and digestion.
Garlic: Garlic is rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, C and sulfur. It also contains various complex carbohydrates, essential oils,, organic sulfur comounds and enzymes. Garlic also has a cleansing function in blood and has a positive effect on the intestinal function, and the immune system.
Cloves: Clove is the dried flower bud of the clove tree. Cloves work anti-inflammatory and provides support against intestinal infections, and helps to sooth when having gastrointestinal complaints in general.
Magnesium citrate: Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important role in the horse’s body. It is mostly known for its effect on the muscles and nervous system, but it also has a great function on the intestines. This mineral holds water, which is important for good bowel movements and healthy dung.
Rosemary: Rosemary is a herb that has many positive effects on the gastrointestinal system. The herb has an antispasmodic effect in the intestines and stomach, and it supports the liver function and bile.
Thyme: Thyme has many healing properties. It cleanses the body from within and it supports the intestinal function and digestion.
Black pepper: Even though most people use it to cook, most people don’t know the healing properties of black pepper. Black pepper contains many antioxidants, works anti-inflammatory and supports the health of the intestines.
In adddition to the herb mix, there are also other supplements could contribute to a better digestion and better intestinal health. For example, boswellia supports the gastrointestinal tract and brewer’s yeast is full of fibers, which are important for healthy intestinal flora and digestion. Do you feel that your horse could really use some support in the intestinal flora? Then consider giving probiotics. This is a tailor-made probiotic consisting of healthy strains of bacteria to optimally support the intestinal flora.
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