Ulcers and Digestive Tract Imbalances in the Off-the-track Thoroughbred
Due to their past lifestyle, the majority of off-the-track Thoroughbreds will have ulcers and some type of digestive imbalance. On the racetrack, Thoroughbreds experience an intense training schedule. Their diets often consist of large amounts of grains that are high in starch and sugar, which can cause the digestive tract to become unhealthy. An unhealthy digestive tract can lead to subtle changes such as sour attitude and poor coat quality or more drastic changes such as weight loss, colic, diarrhea, and laminitis.
Balancing your Thoroughbred’s digestive tract is necessary for overall health. When the GI tract is out of balance, food is not digested properly and key nutrients and energy are not absorbed. If you find your Thoroughbred’s condition and weight diminishing despite being on an appropriate new feeding plan, ulcers and a poorly balanced hindgut could be to blame. Your Thoroughbred’s immunity is also dependent upon digestive tract health. Ulcers and hindgut imbalances can result in a decrease in appetite as well.
Supplementation with gastric buffers and coating agents, probiotics such as Saccharomyces boulardii, and yeasts and fermentation metabolites know as prebiotics will ensure a healthy transition for your Thoroughbred. Each element plays an important role in your Thoroughbred’s digestive tract health. Gastric buffers and coating agents buffer the excess gastric acid and support healing of damaged stomach tissues. The probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii supports complete digestion of starch and sugars in the foregut, healing of stomach and colonic ulceration, and maintains a normal GI tract environment. Prebiotics such as yeast and fermentation metabolites support a robust immune system. They reduce inflammation and support the healing of damaged tissues. They also sustain growth and activity of beneficial bacteria throughout the GI tract. Continued supplementation of these ingredients will ensure that the digestive tract will remain balanced during times of transition and throughout your OTTB’s new career.