Prebiotics can Reduce Inflammation in Older Horses
Recent research at the University of Kentucky shows that including prebiotics in a senior horse’s diet significantly reduces the markers for inflammation. Prebiotics support a healthy microbial population in the horse’s hindgut, which in turn sustains a strong immune system. Beneficial prebiotics include fermentation metabolites such as beta-glucans, as well as yeast and MOS.
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I brought home a Fjord gnedilg that is 18 and was maybe a 2 in body score when I got him about 6 weeks ago. I have been feeding him locally mixed food, plenty of hay and a probiotic, daily wormer and minerals. He gets about 4-6 quart of grain spit into 2 feedings, which has a fair amount of corn & oats in it and about a 12% protein. I am hesitent to feed him a higher protien because he has a really loose stool which I was told by the former owner was checked by the vet and this is normal for him. He poops like a cow but I have managed to get it firmer. I find that 2nd cut hay makes him looser, hence the low protein theory. What would you reccomend for a grain for him, I thought maybe a senior feed, but how much, winter is coming fast I live in upstate NY. He goes in at night and right now I don’t blanket him but am considering it. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of energy at all we haven’t hitch him yet because of his condition, he is more a 3 now and but his coat is shaggy and dull. I also just started top dressing with an all fat supplement not sure how that will effect the poop. I haven’t consulted with my vet yet, not sure he would tell me anything new. I am worried about how he will do this winter. If it were summer I think he would have a better chance to get some wight on, now he has to try to stay warm too. Thanks for your adivice.
The first thing we recommend is that you call your vet and talk to him or her about your horse’s issues. It is best to rule out any possible medical problems first. Discuss your current deworming program and have your gelding’s teeth checked as well. In the past few years there has been an uptick in drug-resistant parasites, so your daily dewormer may not be getting the job done any longer. If everything checks out okay then you can start tweaking his feeding program. Feed a well-balanced commercial concentrate and follow the manufacturer’s feeding recommendation. The NRC recommends a protein level of between 10% and 12% for an older horse, so as long as he is getting a good source of protein he should be okay. Weight loss is related to insufficient energy intake. If you are feeding good hay and the recommended amount of concentrate (grain or pellet) then the addition of a fat supplement, such as EndurExtra, is a very appropriate way to increase energy safely. As with any supplement, introduce it slowly to give your horse an opportunity to get used to the new nutrients.