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Is Equine Obesity caused by Bad Bacteria?


Original story from 2012 Alltech Symposium

At this year’s Alltech Symposium in Lexington Dr Lucy Waldron relayed the findings of a number of studies that found that one bacteria, Fibrobacter succinogenes, was more prevalent in the hindgut of ponies that were good-doers.

The photo below indicates fat deposit areas on a horse:

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This raises the questions of ‘what is the ideal hindgut microflora’ and ‘if we regulate the microflora, will this help to keep good-doers at an ideal weight’?

One study has already found that by adding a prebiotic supplement, horses had less change to their microflora after they underwent a major feed change.

This has led some researchers to believe that the type of microflora in the hindgut could contribute to equine obesity.

As we already know obesity in horses contributes to a number of health problems, including laminitis, DOD (Developmental Orthopedic Disorder), IR (Insulin Resistance), colic and acidosis.

Dr Waldren suggested that supplementing with yeast or a pre- or probiotic could help regulate the microbial population, however more research is required before clear results can be assessed.