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Probiotics Make a Healthy Horse

Jun 18, 2008
There is still much confusion in the world yet about probiotics and how they are useful in maintaining our horse's health. What are probiotics and what do they do?

The term probiotics comes from the Greek word "for life". Thus antibiotics mean "not for life" as anti means "against". Probiotics are living microorganisms, or beneficial bacteria that when ingested help the digestive system maintain a state of balance. Addition of probiotics to your horse's diet results in the promotion of a number of health functions, including enhanced digestive support and reducing colic and parasite infestation.

As far back as Roman times people utilized fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, both as food preservatives to limit spoilage, and to support their intestinal and overall health. These people knew they felt better if they consumed these foods, they just didn't know why or what was in them to improve their health. If the Romans knew what to do, why is it today that people are skeptical of probiotics and their importance in our horse's health (as well as yours)?

The processed feed diets so often fed to horses in most cases can upset the balance of bacteria needed for the support of your digestive tract. Also, many feed products are being pasteurized or have high heat added in the production process, destroying the helpful bacteria your horse needs for promoting good digestive health. Horses are natural grazers, and today most spend their time in a box stall on a feeding schedule and often intense training and showing plans. All these abnormalities to a horse mess with his normal intestinal processes. Maintaining great digestive health is akin to maintaining great overall health. When your horse is in great shape and overall health, your horse will naturally feel better and perform better and live a disease free life.

Did you know?
* About 80% of the immune system resides in your digestive tract.
* 500 species of bacteria, over one trillion live inside the digestive tract
* The weight of this bacteria constitutes about two to three pounds.
* Some of these bacteria are referred to as "good" and some as "bad". The ideal ratio between bacteria is 85% good and 15% bad.

What sorts of factors influence the balance between good and bad bacteria? Diet, geographic location, age, stress, and health issues are some of the key factors. The ration between good bacteria and bad bacteria is one of the most critical factors of optimal horse health. Helpful bacteria prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria by competing for both nutrition and attachment sites in the tissues of the colon.

Therefore, keeping the right balance of bacteria becomes critical in supporting your horse's immune system and keeps the digestive tract functioning smoothly. This reduces the chance of upset stomachs, bellyaches and colic. Probiotics are important and should become an essential part of your daily feeding program.
About the Author
Audra Jensen has 65 head of horse and is concerned about maintaining their health. For more information about probiotics: totalsupplements
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