Hindgut Microflora’s Potential Role in Equine Obesity

Researchers now believe the microflora residing in the hindgut could contribute to equine obesity.
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We know that keeping horses’ hindguts healthy helps the digestive tract function properly. But some researchers now believe the microflora residing in the hindgut could contribute to equine obesity.

At the 2012 Alltech Symposium, held May 21-23 in Lexington, Ky., Lucy Waldron, PhD, president and founder of LWT Animal Nutrition in Feilding, New Zealand, discussed what previous research on the subject suggests and where more research is needed to develop practical applications in horses.

A Growing Problem

Waldron relayed that obesity is prevalent in today’s horses and is believed to contribute to a number of other health problems, including laminitis, developmental orthopedic disorders, insulin resistance, colic, and acidosis. And while a restricted diet and additional exercise might help some horses, Waldron cautioned that not all obese horses will respond in the same manner

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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