Many of us change our horses' routines during the winter months, so they spend more time stabled and less time at pasture. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of colic occurring. Research has repeatedly shown that changes in feeding and management are one of the biggest risk factors for equine colic. 

Horses are hind gut fermenters. A huge population of ‘friendly’ bacteria live in the hind gut, where their job is to ferment (digest) forage such as hay and grass to produce energy for the horse. 

When a horse’s diet is changed these bacteria have to adapt. Sudden dietary changes can upset the ‘good’ bugs and lead to an increase in the ‘bad’ bugs which can lead to digestive upsets and colic.

So, how can you help your horse adapt if you have to make changes to his management?  Nettex Vet Dr Becky Lees advises: “Try to make any changes as gradually as possible, so your horse’s gut has time to adapt. If you do have to make changes, consider feeding a supplement containing pre and probiotics.”

The benefits of pre and probiotics

Probiotics are live ‘friendly’ bacteria that are given orally in a supplement.  The most common equine probiotic is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Probiotics help boost the numbers of ‘friendly’ bacteria and re-balance the gut. 

Prebiotics are substances that are an energy source for the ‘friendly’ bacteria to promote their numbers and growth.  Typical equine prebiotics include Diamond V, mannan & fructo oligosaccharides (FOS and MOS), Brewer’s yeast and psyllium. 

Product spotlight

Nettex Gut Balancer is an advanced pre and probiotic supplement that uses the highest-grade ingredients, including Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Brewer’s yeast, psyllium, FOS & MOS, plus a unique ingredient Diamond V, a concentrated natural yeast product shown to have a positive effect on nutrient digestibility.  

Gut balancer is also blended with an appropriate vitamin & mineral package, whey protein, rice bran oil and selected micro-nutrients to offer overall health and wellbeing.

It is priced from £16.99 for 750g (approx 30 days' supply).

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