Getting back to basics and simplifying meals might be the key to keeping the horse’s hindgut healthy and functioning properly. Learn more in this article excerpt from the February 2021 issue of The Horse.
Posted by Katie Navarra | Feb 6, 2021
Horses are powerful, athletic animals. Their digestive systems, however, are delicate compared to those of most other types of livestock. Ruminants such as cattle and sheep have multicompartment stomachs. Saliva created by chewing a cud processes food in the front half of ruminants’ digestive tracts. Horses, however, rely on a metabolically complex fermentation process. And because horses only have one stomach, most of that fermentation occurs in the back part or hindgut.
Despite making up the largest portion of a horse’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the hindgut, which includes the cecum and large colon (or large intestine), often receives far less attention from owners than the stomach or small intestine, says Kenneth Kopp, DVM, a consulting veterinarian based in St. Louis, Missouri...