Gut Flora

 Microbiology and the Horse 

Gut flora are vitally important for the digestive process and maintaining health




Why is Microbiology so Important?

In short “No Gut No Horse”

I have called this section Microbiology and the horse because it will cover several aspects.

  • The internal microbiome some facts on that and the various influences on the internal landscape ie food and diet, pH in each section of the digestive tract etc
  • External microbiology ie that in soils, those that trans locate through the plant, those that exist on the plant surface.
  • Something about toxins from fungi and /or bacteria and how they affect the horse.
  • Something on gut flora in the horse and how it influences conditions like Laminitis, EMS, Cushings, Adrenals, neurology and much more
  • What can we do to correct imbalances.
  • How food influences he gut flora and how we can start to influence the biodiversity of the gut flora.






Some Facts

15 acetyldeoxynivalenol Fusarium graminearium

Zeaalenone found in corn

Trichithercenes Toxin T-2HT2 found in barley oats

  • Mycotoxins are fungi found in mouldy crops or crops harvested in poor weather conditions, leading to as poor growth, skin allergies and respiratory disease.
  • There are three major mycotoxins and they are: deoxynivalenol found mainly in grains maize oats, 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol found in grasses and rye, and zearalenone found in corn.
  • Most horse feeds were found to be well below the levels which are usually considered as critical or even toxic.
  • The highest T-2/HT-2 toxin concentrations were found in oats,
  • The highest concentration of ergot alkaloids was found in barley.

On Feeding Mycotoxin Binders

  • The horse’s gut also contains a natural fungi population
  • The fungi colonise and their mycelium translocate through  the woody indigestible bits of the food intake. This then further assist the gut bacteria to further degrade this fibre through fermentation.
  • This initial breaking apart action of the fungi, enables the gut bacteria to breakdown cellulose and hemicellulose. If the fungi were not there on the woody bits this fibre would remain undigested.
  • So if these mycotoxin binders prevent the action of fungi, what effect do they have on the beneficial fungi population on the plant?
  • Be aware that gut fungi are very slow growing and take up to 24-35 hours to repopulate , meaning once they are dead they won’t replenish for a day or more.
  • Where as bacteria can double in size in 20 minutes.
  • If you are feeding a natural foraging type of diet, adding a mycotoxin binder may limit or prevent the breakdown of the ‘woody’ stalks, seeds and stems of some plants.
  • Further to this the mycotoxin binder may bind the gut fungi which then robs the horse of the very gastric enzymes which help break down this fibre,
  • The very thing that is given to  improve gastro-intestinal health and provide nutrients from indigestible food stuff may be prevented form doing its beneficial work through the excessive use of toxin binders

Note: I am not suggesting that you give up feeding toxin binders but make sure it is not done throughout the year with out a break





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