Autumn brings with it beautiful colours, cool, crisp mornings and amazing sunrises. The change of season is also a time of transition for your horse – changes in forage, alongside a new routine as we move into autumn and winter. These can all prove challenging to your horse’s digestive and overall health, so it’s important to understand them and be aware of how you can help combat their effects.
In the first part of this two-part Autumnal blog, Lisa Elliott MSc – Equine Nutrition Solutions focuses on how seasonal changes can affect digestive health, and what you can do to minimise their impact and promote a healthy digestive system through the right feeding and management.
Seasonal changes in forage
Whatever the season, forage (grass, hay or haylage) should always be the foundation of the diet, but if your horse is out grazing, it’s good to be aware of the Autumn Flush. Sunny, mild, wet weather at the beginning of autumn can boost growth of Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC) levels of grass. Additionally, sunny days and cold nights, where the temperature drops below 5 degrees and grass cannot grow, means the sugar produced is not used up and accumulates as fructan within the stems.
Higher WSC levels can pose a problem to your horse’s digestive health and are a particular risk to horses and ponies prone to laminitis. Increased levels of WSC, particularly fructan, which cannot be digested by enzymes in the small intestine passes into the hindgut for fermentation by hindgut microbes. Their rapid fermentation by lactic acid producing microbes, causes a significant drop in the hindgut PH and a state of acidosis.
Hindgut acidosis causes the death of beneficial microbes that release toxins when they die. Inflammation and deceased permeability of the gut wall, caused by the acidic conditions, allow the passage of endotoxins and other harmful compounds into the bloodstream. This causes inflammation within the body, loose droppings and diarrhoea and ultimately laminitis.
Combatting the Autumn Flush
Horses and ponies prone to laminitis often need their grazing restricted, and turned out at certain times, for example when the temperature rises above 5 degrees. However, feeding Coligone can also be a key line of defence to minimise the impact of seasonal changes in grazing during autumn.
Coligone has a unique ability to buffer acid and maintain healthy acid levels throughout the digestive tract. Feeding Coligone Liquid or Powder can help mitigate the effects of excess WSC by helping to increase PH within the hindgut and reduce the risk of acidosis and ultimately laminitis.
Coligone also provides key pro and pre-biotics to provide support and stabilisation to the hindgut microbiome. Studies have shown that in times of digestive stress, such as WSC overload, they help mitigate disruptions to the hindgut microbiome, stimulate beneficial microbes and restore a healthy balance.
Supporting the hindgut microbes with Coligone is extremely beneficial in combatting the common effects of an autumn flush like loose droppings and hindgut acidosis and to help maintain optimum digestive health throughout the season.
If you have any questions about creating the best diet for your horse and keeping your horse healthy through the right nutrition, please contact Coligone – 0333 0503785/07986 183616 or email@example.com.