War in the Microbiome

If you picture the bacterial community in the horse’s gut you may envision them all working peacefully side by side but nothing could be further from the truth.

The types of organisms in the gut will reflect the diet since the horse’s diet is also what the “bugs” eat! The microbiome of a horse getting a lot of grain will, and should, be different from one on forage alone. However, there are factors other than diet which determine the population.

Every horse has a unique array of organisms in the intestinal microbiome. The foal picks up bacteria from suckling, rooting around in the environment and eating manure. What he eventually starts to eat, how much, and when, also influences the population.

Turns out the bacteria themselves help determine which strains will thrive and which die out. They secrete peptides/proteins call bacteriocins which can kill competing strains of related bacteria. Whichever strain got established first and therefore has higher numbers is likely to win, at least until something changes to favor another strain.

Bacteriocins typically are active against only a limited number of organisms that would directly compete with them for their niche. However, it has been found that bacteriocins can also interact directly with the host animal’s intestinal immune system to ramp up protective cytokine secretion and therefore protect from a broader spectrum of harmful organisms. Some bacteriocins are even anti-inflammatory and being investigated for potential use in inflammatory bowel disease.

Postbiotics, aka fermentation products, have enzymatic and digestive activity. The immune system effects are likely due to bacteriocins. Most probiotics come with their fermentation products so you get the best of both worlds. An example of a pure postbiotic product is Ration Plus.

For a deep dive into the science of bacteriocins and all their properties see this research.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, Maker of CocoSoya, manufactures products that support a healthy Microbiome.

G.U.T. powder and paste support gastric tissue, a healthy GI tract, and normal, healthy digestive and bowel function.  Maintains proper gut flora with pre- and probiotic support. Soothes and protects digestive function with Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, and Aloe Vera Gel Extract. Very palatable for the most sensitive horse or the pickiest eater. Contains no aluminum.

Absorb-All Powder is a high strength digestive formula to support healthy gut and digestive function. Supports the intestinal tract to help maintain healthy gut flora, proper gut pH, and to promote digestion and bowel health. Combines high levels of digestive enzymes, beneficial Probiotics, and microbial fermentation ingredients.

LBC Probiotic paste maintains healthy intestinal bacterial populations for horses that face stressors such as travel, heavy exercise, and diet change.  High potency Probiotic gel in a convenient tube for correct dose and guaranteed consumption, especially for horses that are off feed. Provides high numbers of five Probiotic equine organisms as well as Vitamins A, D and B12.

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.  Uckele is a proud member of the NASC.

Contact: Susan Libby, susan@uckele.com

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