Science & Equine

  • Logo Mono
Written by Miriam Myrsten
Posted in Nutrition

Image by:

Different diets – different gut microbial communities?

A diverse gut microbial community is important for the wellbeing of a horse, just as it is for humans.  Not only is the community modulating the immune system and providingessential nutrients, it is also responsible for a significant proportion of the animal’s daily energy requirements. 

17 healthy horses participated in the study. Three different diets were tested: hay alone, hay plus a high oil based complementary feed and hay with a cereal starch-rich complementary feed.   All horses received each of the three diets. 

Results were collected by analyzing the core bacterial community in the feces of the horses. Out of the three diets the core associated with the hay only diet was found to be the greatest. Somewhat smaller was the core of the oil diet and much smaller of the starch diet. 

Noticeable was that the average bacterial core was very small in comparison to i.e. the core community of a cow. The presence of such a small core may be one of the explanations  why the horse is so inclined to metabolic dysfunction, such as colic or ulcers. The reduction in size of the already small core by feeding a diet other than only hay may increase the risk for subsequent gastric problems.

> Dougal et al., February 2014, Volume 9, Issue 2, e87424. All rights reserved to 2014 Dougal et al.

Click here for the Pubmed summary
Click here for the full-text

Image by:

About the author of this summary: