How Bugs In Your Horse’s Droppings Can Tell A Tale

If we as humans eat healthily, then we should have brighter, clearer skin, have more energy, and find it easier to shake off colds, flu, viruses, etc. when they come around. It is just the same with your horse. Whether horse or human, health starts from the inside. Let’s look at how bugs in your horse’s droppings can give a guide as to how the health and how well the gut is working. The biggest part of the horse’s gut is full of bacteria, which can be likened to society in that there are good guys, (lactic acid bacteria) bad guys, (coliforms), and those on the dole (non-lactose fermenters). As in society, to work well, these have to be in balance, not only between each group but also within each sector. Imagine your town had 200 banks and 10 shops, although they are all good guys your town would not be able to survive and grow.

There can be many reasons why there is a bacterial imbalance in the hindgut of the horse, and some problems have actually been at a chronic stage for a long time. Often many of the fecal sample questionnaires that come into the laboratory comment that the loose droppings have been occurring intermittently for years! A significant part of the original creation of this problem, and might still be a factor, is the horse’s diet. A carbohydrate overload is a common finding. This is not just when a horse is given too much hard feed, but when sugars, carbohydrates, or simple starches reach the hindgut without being properly digested in the small intestine and stomach. This may have been caused because the hard feed was fed with little or no cellulitic fiber in the bucket. If the feed has been fed damp then the speed of ingestion increases dramatically, exacerbating the problem.

When this type of undigested food reaches the hindgut, one group of bacteria uses the food to multiply very quickly. These types of bacteria are the lactic acid group, (which we call ‘good guys’). Our description of this situation is when a car factory suddenly has a thousand more door fitters and doors, (these are ‘good guys’), but not a thousand more cars to fit them on. At the end of the week, the door fitters want to pay, which then causes an argument with the management. Generally, the management wins the argument and the factory has to go onto a short time because of the lack of cars. (This means that there is a suppression of all bacteria). Occasionally the trade unions win, which means the explosion of door fitters (‘good guys’), continues. Obviously, the factory (which is the hindgut) does not operate effectively.

The equine specific probiotic containing a herbal selective antimicrobial and the fecal analysis is only available from your veterinary surgeon. Following the fecal analysis a report, written so you can understand it, will be sent to the owner and copied to the vet. Without any allegiance to any feed company, the fecal analysis gives you the opportunity to ensure that your horse is healthy from the inside out.