KER.com - Full Article
February 1, 2018 By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
Due to the risk of laminitis, horses should not be subjected to abrupt feed changes. The rapid ingestion of unfamiliar concentrates or other feeds high in starch can induce the painful, life-threatening disease, which is characterized by the separation of the hoof wall from the coffin bone.
“Aside from the potential for laminitis, the sudden addition of feeds rich in dietary starch may cause an alteration in the intestinal microbiome,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research.
The microbiome includes bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that help digest fiber and maintain the health of the intestinal tract. That population of microbes forms early in a horse’s life and fluctuates based on diet, transport, stress, exercise, weight loss, and disease state, among other factors.
“In the case of sudden diet changes, that microbiome will also change and not always in a positive way,” Crandell said. “Alterations can adversely affect digestive health and lead to diarrhea, colic, and other forms of intestinal upset...”
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