Keeping the horse digestive tract on track can be challenging. But new research is helping horse owners better understand one aspect of digestion – how specific combinations of prebiotics and probiotics in horse feed can benefit horses. Foremost is the more efficient digestibility of fiber nutrient fractions in the total diet.
Researchers Collaborate to Test Efficacy
Existing research on the effectiveness of prebiotics and probiotics on apparent digestibility of the total diet has been promising, but inconclusive. To further the field of knowledge, Dr. Emily Lamprecht, a Nutrena® feed global equine and pet innovation manager, recently collaborated with Dr. Josie Coverdale of Texas A&M. Together, they conducted a study with the specific purpose of testing the efficacy of a feed additive containing prebiotics and probiotics in mature horses. Horses at all life stages are exposed to various stressors. Whether the stress is due to growth, exercise, transportation, environmental conditions, illness, aging, etc., a properly functioning and balanced gastrointestinal tract can aid the horse in managing the stress and supporting health and performance.
Twenty-seven mature geldings were split into three treatment groups, in a randomized block design. Horses were fed whole oats, pelleted feed, or pelleted feed with a proprietary additive blend containing prebiotics and probiotics, and all treatment groups received the same Coastal Bermuda grass hay to complete their respective diets. The published results:
The overall data supports that horses given the specific additive blend containing prebiotics and probiotics in pelleted concentrate, digested dietary fiber, including that in forage – comprising the bulk of most common equine rations – more efficiently than those eating an unfortified pelleted concentrate plus hay, or whole oats plus hay. This improved efficiency meant that the horses extracted more nutrition from the same relative fiber intake (Coverdale, et. al., 2013).
“Our research confirmed that, while claims about prebiotics and probiotics generally may not be definitive, specific combinations of prebiotics and probiotics can contribute to a discernible and positive difference in horses. These include the more efficient digestibility of fiber from the total diet,” Dr. Lamprecht concluded. “That’s why Nutrena® feed includes prebiotics and probiotics in its SafeChoice® horse feed and continues to invest in even better formulations.”
New Senior Horse Feed Boosts Digestion
The unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics found in all Nutrena® premium feed – including its six SafeChoice® formulas – aids in increasing the level of nutrients absorbed from feed by nurturing the microbial population. In other words, horses can benefit from the ability to more fully convert feedstuffs to nutrients. This is particularly evident in the recently launched SafeChoice® Senior feed, a controlled starch, complete horse feed for senior horses and rehabilitating rescue horses, where weight and muscle loss, waning energy, and coat issues are the biggest concerns.
For More Information
For additional feeding guidelines, special offers — including the SafeChoice® Senior Horse Spa Sweepstakes — and complete details on SafeChoice® horse feed, go to SafeChoiceFeed.com. Also visit “The FeedRoom” blog at HorseFeedBlog.com. It’s an informative community platform that covers a wide range of topics including horse feed, feeding tips, digestive health, and management tips.