Monday, January 12, 2015

Good and Bad "Bugs" In the Equine Gut - Full Article

By University of Kentucky College of Ag, Food and Environment
Jan 05, 2015

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have been studying the flora (good and bad bacteria) and colonization of the GI tract of foals and adult horses. In this article, Laurie Lawrence, PhD, of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, and Michael Flythe, PhD, a Research Microbiologist with USDA-ARS at the University of Kentucky, help you understand the "bugs" in the equine GI tract.

In foals the colonization of the GI tract by pathogenic organisms can lead to diarrhea. Considerable research has focused on identifying the organisms responsible for neonatal diarrhea, but less effort has been made to identify the factors that allow the pathogenic organisms to become established. Additionally, very little is known about how or when the normal GI flora becomes established in the foal.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have been studying the development of digestive capacity in foals for several years. An initial project indicated that very young foals have a low capacity for fiber digestion but older foals have a capacity similar to their dams. Because fiber digestion is performed by specific bacteria in the large intestine, these observations suggest that foals develop a normal microbial population in their GI tract by at least 1 or 2 months of age...

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