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Gut Health Plus Explained
The purpose of Gut Health Plus is to allow the horses stomach to function in the normal way.
When we are talking about thoroughbred racehorses – we all know that over 90% of them suffer from EGUS (Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome), the reason for this is because the horse is taken from its natural grazing habits and put into a stable and worked very hard. All other classes of horses, whether it be show jumpers, eventers, dressage horses or other equine athletes all need some form of support to their digestive system to keep it in healthy condition, due to them also not being in their natural environment. There are many digestive issues which negatively affect your horse’s performance & health, including disturbances like gastric ulcers, ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ bacterial imbalances, hindgut acidosis and colic.
HOW THE HORSES STOMACH WORKS
A horse is a grazing animal and normally spends around 22 hours a day with its head down grazing, what this does is creates saliva as it chews all day long. What also happens to a horse is that the proton pump produces stomach acid 24 hours per day, unlike humans who only produce acid on demand. So, with a horse in its normal habitat, because it is chewing grass all day – it creates saliva which balances the pH in the stomach, therefore reducing the acidity in the stomach.
With horses in work, they still produce acid 24 hours per day, but because they are not chewing, they do not produce enough saliva to balance the pH in their stomach and therefore this results in a very high level of acidity in their stomach which in turn leads to stomach ulcers and acid related pain – leading to performance & behavioural issues.
Traditionally most trainers and owners, have been using Omeprazole based products, which is a veterinary only product, what this does is it inhibits the production of stomach acid, which means the stomach has little or no stomach acid.
It must be noted that Omeprazole is extremely effective in treating a horse with severe stomach ulcers, as there is now no acid (or very little acid) in the stomach, therefore the ulcers can heal – and the acid related pain stops. However, this is not a long-term fix and has some negative effects on your horse. The downside of feeding Omeprazole is that there is not enough acid in the stomach to break down the yeast so that the nutrients are unable to be properly absorbed by the Duodenum (hind gut). This has many negative implications as the horse is being fed expensive, high energy feeds and some of the nutrients are not able to be utilized by the body. A horse may struggle to put on condition or may have a performance issue. Naturally – a horse is meant to produce stomach acid continuously – because it needs it continuously.
Here are some signs that your horse may have a gut disturbance:
This includes disturbances like gastric ulcers, ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ bacterial imbalances, hindgut acidosis and colic.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Persistent poor condition
- Dull, rough coats
- Reduced performance and stamina
- Windsucking and crib biting
- Sour behaviour
- Unwillingness to eat hard feed
- Unsettled behaviour
WHAT GUT HEALTH PLUS DOES FOR YOUR HORSE
The modern way of keeping your horses entire digestive system in good health is to allow the stomach to function in the normal way, and not to inhibit the proton pump.(production of stomach acid) GUT HEALTH PLUS does this very well, it does not stop the production of acid, and therefore the horse has acid in its stomach and can break down the yeast and utilize the nutrients in the feed to the maximum. What we find is that a horse will put on condition and its overall health will improve if they are put on GUT HEALTH PLUS. GUT HEALTH PLUS contains Calcium carbonate, Magnesium Hydroxide and calcareous marine algae, which are all alkaline. These both help balance the pH, just like saliva would in the natural habitat. These alkaline salts do not get rid of the acid, but reduce the acidity to a more natural level, this has the effect of reducing acid-related damage to the non-glandular section of the stomach and reduces acid-related stomach pain during performance, but at the same time leaving the acidity in the stomach to do its job of breaking down the food.
A Healthy Gut = A healthy Horse that can perform to its potential.
A healthy Gut supports efficient feed digestion to allow maximum utilisation of feed, helping your horse to maintain or gain weight. It also creates a barrier that protects a horse from disease-causing bacteria, antigens and toxins. A healthy gut also nurtures good bacteria, allowing them to digest fibre, produce vitamins and assist with immune function.
GUT HEALTH PLUS contains a Lucerne leaf meal which means it is very palatable, designed especially for these picky eaters.
GUT HEALTH PLUS then also contains Laminaria Hyperborea (Seaweed Extract) which forms a gel in the presence of Calcium Carbonate and this gel provides a coating which provides additional protection to the upper non glandular portion of the stomach wall.
In addition, the GUT HEALTH PLUS contains Glutamine which is an amino acid to feed intestinal epithelial cells and assist with maintaining a healthy gut wall.
GUT HEALTH PLUS also contains Threonine, which is an essential amino acid to support natural mucous production and help to naturally maintain an intact gut wall.
Most importantly – GUT HEALTH PLUS contains Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) which are prebiotics. This is key to improving overall gut health, efficient digestion in the hindgut and overall health of the animal. This takes about 35 days before the FOS and MOS take effect.
A NOTE ON ACID PUMP INHIBITORS
We are certainly not saying these acid pump inhibitors,(Omeprazole) or your vets advice do not have their place, rather the opposite and that they are a must in chronic cases, where we actually recommend the use of an “omeprazole based” inhibitor with ulcer scores of 3 or 4 until such time as the ulceration is under control, usually 14-28 days at a high dose, thereafter the GUT HEALTH PLUS can maintain and continue the healing process and prevent from relapse.