Thoroughbred Gut Health & FAQs
Why is gut health a game-changer for Thoroughbreds?
Your horse’s gut has many roles. Including:
- The digestion and absorption of food
- Providing a barrier that will protect your horse from disease causing pathogens, bacteria and toxins; and
- Housing the trillions of bacteria who play important roles in digestion, immune function and behaviour.
The term ‘gut health’ simply refers to how well your horse’s gut is working in these areas.
Your horse’s gut consists of the foregut (oesophagus, stomach and small intestine) and the hindgut (cecum, large colon and small colon). When the digestive tract is working well, we say a horse has a heathy gut.
What happens when Gut Health goes wrong?
Stress, incorrect diet or poor feeding management can cause problems like:
- Gastric ulcers - open wounds in your horse’s stomach
- Hindgut acidosis – too much acid and a low pH in the hindgut
- Imbalance of bacteria – not enough fibre loving ‘good’ bacteria
- Weight loss – without the fibre fermenting bacteria, your horse can’t digest his pasture or hay and will start to lose weight
- Behavioural changes – B-vitamin deficiency and possible hormone balance changes can cause hyperactive or anxious behaviour
- Leaky gut – the gut wall gets damaged and allows bacteria, pathogens and toxins through the gut wall and into your horse’s body, setting up inflammation and disease
Why is this a big deal? Well, the gut is the ‘engine of the horse’. If you want your horse to ‘work well’, you have to look after his gut!
How do these problems show up in your horse?
Part of the problem with recognising compromised gut health as a ‘problem’ for your horse is that symptoms of poor gut health can be very subtle, even when issues are severe. Plus, each horse may show different signs for the same issue. Some common symptoms however include:
- Picky eating or loss of appetite;
- Slow recoveries after racing
- Lack of stamina
- Weight loss or can’t gain weight;
- Dull coat and/or poor hoof quality;
- Uncharacteristically anxious or excitable behaviour or changes in behaviour like cribbing;
- Excessive girthiness;
- Recurrent, mild colic;
- Manure that smells acidic (vomit like) or is softer than normal;
- Scouring; and
- Free fecal water (with water-like manure running out of the anus before, during or after your horse poos);
Why is Gut health important for Thoroughbreds?
Along with being a large immune organ, the gut also houses trillions of microbes that greatly impact on a Thoroughbred’ s optimal growth and performance. A horse’s resident hindgut microbiome are made up of billions of live bacteria and fungi which are in control of many aspects of your horse’s overall health. The microbiome is responsible for fibre digestion, hormone production, immune system functions and vitamin production.
What is unknown to many horse owners, is that the horses hindgut is responsible for creating up to 70% of a horses total energy. This occurs though bacterial fermentation. Fermentation is a process where billions of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi (together known as microbes) digest the fibre in a horse’s diet. Microbes have many functions, including; to produce energy via fermentation that produces Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs), to synthesize B-vitamins, to synthesize hormones and to regulate the immune system.
The key to a horse’s overall health is the health of their hindgut bacteria!
When the hindgut is in balance and dominated by a diverse population of the good fibre fermenting bacteria it can contribute to
- Efficient fibre digestion;
- The constant supply of energy to the muscles;
- An ability to maintain weight;
- Faster recoveries
- Calm, safe behaviour;
- Well-formed manure;
- Vitamin production to support muscle energy generation;
- Good appetite;
- Healthy hooves;
- Strong immune function;
- Normal hormone production; and
- Lower stress.
When the hindgut bacteria are out of balance, and either have low diversity or are dominated by starch or sugar fermenting bacteria (which produce lactic acid) the horse will experience challenges such as:
- Reduced fibre digestion;
- Weight loss and reduced time in training;
- Poor stamina
- Slow recoveries
- Reactive or dangerous behaviour;
- Soft, acidic smelling manure;
- Vitamin deficiency or reduced muscle energy;
- Loss of appetite;
- Poor hoof quality;
- Poor immune function and loss of time in training due to illness;
- Disrupted hormone production;
- Higher stress, anxiety and tying up; and
- Increased risk of colic.
How would improving a Thoroughbred horse's gut health reduce costs?
When we improve a horses gut health and gut bacteria, there are so many benefits including reduced costs. The benefits of good gut health in Thoroughbreds include:
- better feed conversion, so less volume of concentrated feeds required
- improved appetite, so less feed wastage
- less reliance on costly vet medications like ulcer treatment
- less time off training, so a more effective training preparation
- improved post race recovery and less loss of condition
- calmer behaviour making them easier to handle and ride
- improved hoof condition through the production of biotin
- and more!
How can improving gut health make racehorses run faster?
When we improve the horse's gut health, the horse's natural and efficient energy system has a better chance to work. This may mean a delayed lactic acid threshold and may contribute to a power surge home, while reduced inflammation in the 30m gut could lead to less pain, and more ease of movement.
What role do Poseidon's Thoroughbred supplements play in race recovery?
Racing and intense exercise is stressful to a horse's gut. This can show up by a horse going off its feed post race, or having runny manure, or stress-related behaviour. The bad gut bacteria start to outcompete the good gut bacteria. We need to always be thinking about how we can support the right gut bacteria.
Our Stress Paste has a range of ingredients that address the horse's stress response. B vitamins for appetite, magnesium hydroxide and pectins to buffer the acid, betaine for hydration, and amino acids to repair the gut wall.
I’m already getting results so why would I need another supplement?
Things have changed. There is always room for improvement and improving your horse's gut condition with the support of Digestive RP will create so many benefits you will have wished you knew about it years ago.
Please use these links to jump to the product you want to know about:
Are Digestive EQ, Digestive RP And Digestive VM The Same?
No. Digestive EQ and Digestive RP are gut health support supplements. Digestive VM is a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement. Digestive VM has been formulated to compliment the use of Digestive EQ or RP, or be used on its own if your horse doesn’t require gut support. The combination of the two products aim to promote overall health by supporting gut health and providing essential minerals and vitamins required by your horse. They can definitely be fed together safely.
You can feed either EQ or RP and VM separately as they have different roles. BUT, if you are going to just feed RP you will always get the best results if it is fed together with a balanced diet. So while you don’t have to feed VM, you do still need to make sure your horse’s base diet is balanced and meeting all requirements for vitamins and minerals.
What Does EQ Do?
EQ supports gut health and is ideal for spelling, broodmares or OTTs. It contains:
- a marine source of highly bioavailable calcium and magnesium which acts as an immediate pH buffer for the stomach and also provides nutrients which may assist with improving bone density and reducing excitability in horses.
- Added enzymes to aid the digestion of starch from grain based feeds in the small intestine, reducing the likelihood of undigested starch entering the hindgut.
- Amino acids which aid in the protection and strengthening of the gut mucosa.
- The powerful prebiotic and postbiotics feed the fibre ingesting bacteria in the hindgut potentially increasing feed conversion from fibre sources within the diet
- essential amino acids to feed the gut wall and keep it intact;
- digestive enzymes to help cut up (digest) carbohydrates including starch, which gives your horse more nutrients from his feed AND stops starch being dumped in the hindgut where it will feed your horse’s ‘bad’ bacteria;
- toxin binders to bind or destroy harmful mycotoxins commonly found in grains, forages and pasture;
- bioavailable calcium and magnesium to help reduce the negative consequences of too much acidity in the stomach and hindgut;
What Does VM Do?
VM supports overall health. It contains:
- A full spectrum of vitamins and trace minerals. These nutrients are needed by every horse to keep their immune system active, their hooves, joints and muscles strong, their organs in top working order and their coat and skin soft, bright and shiny;
- Antioxidants including organic selenium and natural vitamin E to protect muscles and organs from free-radicle damage;
- Essential amino acids and a small amount of prebiotic to lend a small hand in keeping the gut wall and the good (fibre fermenting) bacteria healthy;
- A small amount of bioavailable calcium and magnesium for bone health and correct nervous system and muscle function.
If I Have To Choose Just One Which Should I Choose?
It depends. If your horse’s diet needs vitamins and minerals added (ie. they are not fed the full amount of a complete feed with vitamins and minerals, or they are not already fed another complete vitamin and mineral supplement), we recommend VM.
If your horse is experiencing gut issues or is under ongoing stress e.g. racing or a high starch/grain diet, and your horse’s diet is already meeting requirements for vitamins and minerals, choose RP. If your horse is mainly on forage then Digestive EQ may be good for gut support.
Doesn’t VM Have Some Gut Health Ingredients Too?
Yes. Because we are committed to promoting gut health at any opportunity, we decided to make sure our vitamin and mineral supplement, provided some extra gut support.
It contains some of our prebiotic (the same as the one in RP and EQ) as well as the essential amino acids needed for equine gut health, but they are only in small amounts compared to the amounts in RP and EQ, which is why it works so well alongside Digestive RP or EQ. So VM will help a little with gut health but the gut health nutrients in VM on their own won’t be enough to have any real effect.
When Would You Recommend I Feed VM?
If your horse’s diet needs vitamins and minerals added we recommend VM. Horses need vitamins and minerals added to their diet when they are fed:
- A forage only diet (like hay or pasture). Forage is WONDERFUL! But, it lacks trace minerals like copper, zinc, selenium and iodine and can often be low in vitamins. Adding Digestive VM will fill all the gaps in your horse’s diet left by his forage.
- Forage plus ingredients you mix yourself like lupins, linseed, beet pulp, cooked grains, sunflower seeds etc. These ingredients are all great, but none will contain enough trace-mineral or vitamins to meet requirements. Adding VM will cover all those bases for your horse.
- Forage plus a complete feed, but at less than the recommended rate. Complete feeds are fortified with vitamins and minerals, but you need to feed them at the manufacturers recommended rate to meet requirements. So for example, if the working horse feed you are feeding has a recommended feeding rate for your horse of 2 kg/day, but you only need to feed 1 kg/day (or else you horse would be the size of a small house!) you have controlled the calorie intake (yay!) but you are only giving your horse half his daily required vitamins and minerals (oh!). In this situation, if you also feed a half dose of Digestive VM you will be very close to meeting vitamin and mineral requirements (depending on how well balanced the feed is that you are using).
If your horse only needs a supplement to meet vitamin and mineral requirements you can just use VM.
When Would You Recommend I Feed EQ?
Digestive EQ can be fed to all horses at any time and will assist with maintaining normal, healthy gut function. It is ideal for spelling, broodmares and OTT. There are situations when we recommend you add EQ to the diet including when your horse has:
- Been competing or under regular performance stress;
- Gastric ulcers or is especially prone to them;
- Pasture like ryegrass, fescue or pastures that are often damp/wet that may contain mycotoxins;
- Been on antibiotic treatment;
- Been off feed for any period of time due to things like long-haul travel, illness or surgery;
- Been fed raw (uncooked) grain like corn or barley for any period of time (e.g. off the track racehorses);
- Trouble maintaining weight despite plenty of feed;
- A poor appetite;
- Girthiness or generally grumpy behaviour;
- Anxious behaviour;
- Commenced a breeding program.
If your horse is on a well-balanced diet that is already meeting vitamin and mineral requirements that you are happy with, but you want to do more to support gut health, then we would tell you to just feed EQ.
Of course, we always recommend a full veterinarian assessment with your horse when you are concerned about their health.
When Would You Recommend I Feed RP?
Digestive RP is ideal for horses who have a higher grain ration in their diet. It is designed to assist with maintaining normal, healthy gut function in race horses and high performance sport horses.
Are your Equine Supplements Safe For Horses That Tie Up?
Yes! And they may even help. VM will make sure that you are meeting requirements for muscle protecting antioxidants including selenium and vitamin E. And for thoroughbreds, where tying up is commonly associated with nervous behaviour, Digestive RP or EQ may help to alleviate behavioural
issues caused by gut pain and imbalances in gut bacteria. Calmer horse = less risk of tying up!
If I Feed Digestive EQ or RP & Digestive VM Is That Too Much Calcium In The Diet?
This greatly depends on your horse’s requirements and what the rest of your horse’s diet consists of including forage type, complete feed (if any) and other supplements used.
Calcium is a pretty safe mineral if fed in excess of your horse’s requirement however it is recommended that you seek nutritional advice from an independent nutritionist or use FeedAssist on our website or FeedXL Horse Nutrition Software to access your horse’s diet.
What is a prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic?
Prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics…. they’re all different things, and they play different roles in gut health.
A prebiotic is referring to food for the microorganisms in the gut, which promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms. These support growth and the development of probiotics during fermentation and allow the production of postbiotics. Prebiotics can also help control diarrhea and tummy upsets.
A probiotic is referring to live microorganisms like yeast or bacteria that are fed to provide benefit to the animal. Probiotics are measured in colony forming units (CFU), which indicate the number of viable cells. Generally this should be somewhere in the realm of 10^9 – 10^11 cfu/g. They can strengthen the gastrointestinal barrier against infection, lower cholesterol levels, block weight gain and have an anti-inflammatory effect, but they need to stay alive during processing and survive the acidic stomach and can also decline during shelf life, as they need to be live in order to have their positive impact, so choosing a product with ‘probiotics’ might not be as effective as you’d hoped.
In contrast, a postbiotic is referring to fermentation by-products. It’s generated when you take a live microorganism, put it in an environment it likes, feed it with specific prebiotics, and let it ferment. The result is all sorts of useful fermentation end products and metabolites, that help boost the immune system, reduce digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, help prevent obesity, reduce inflammation and improve the gut lining. Essentially, a postbiotic is the outcome of: Prebiotic + Probiotic + Fermentation time = Postbiotic.
Some of our products include a generated postbiotic, and others also include postbiotics which have already gone through the process of fermentation and don’t need to be ‘live’ to be effective in the way that probiotics do.
With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about the products you choose for your animal. It is important to ask questions of the company you’re purchasing from. They should be able to share their evidence and approach with you openly and honestly, and if not, you’ll know they’re not the right choice for you. You can learn more here.
DIGESTIVE RP FAQs
Why Should I feed RP?
Digestive RP was created to provide extra gut support for race horses and high performance sport horses - who often have more challenging than ‘normal’ environments, higher workloads (and often stress levels) and higher grain feeding regimes - maintain normal gut health and function.
Why would I use Digestive RP for my racehorses?
The gut of a racehorse is under heavy pressure. Higher grain, lower forage diets increase the risk of gastric ulceration and hindgut acidosis. Plus they can negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Heavy workloads and racing schedules where long periods of time off feed also increase the risk of stomach ulceration and hindgut disturbances.
And all of these issues WILL affect racing performance. On this, there is no question.
Using Digestive RP together with a diet that uses cooked grains (no uncooked / cracked corn or barley) and ample forage (minimum of 7.5 kg/day for a 500 kg horse) will support your horse’s gut so it can maintain normal function and support your horses maximum ability for speed and stamina.
How does Digestive RP work?
Digestive RP provides next-level gut support for your thoroughbreds. It contains powerful dual buffers to help maintain normal stomach pH and reduce the incidence of squamous gastric ulcers which can cause loss of appetite, poor topline and a rough coat.
Amino acids for gut lining and muscle building
Digestive RP also contains the amino acids glutamine, threonine, proline, serine and leucine – which are building blocks of mucin – a protective substance the stomach secretes to reduce its susceptibility to lesions. In fact, the entire gut lining is constantly regenerating and repairing, and these amino acids are crucial for its integrity. An added bonus is that leucine (found in Digestive RP) is the only amino acid that switches on the muscle building process. Hence, increasing the amount of leucine in your thoroughbreds’ diets may help them build more muscle.
Carbohydrate enzymes to help digest grain safely
Digestive RP contains a blend of carbohydrate enzymes to help your horses digest grain-based feeds effectively – this means achieving desired body condition without having to feed more and more grain.
Postbiotics for better fibre fermentation
Fibre is the mainstay of a Thoroughbred’s diet, so if they can ferment it better, you’ll likely notice a whole range of benefits. The unique postbiotic in Digestive RP supports optimal hindgut health by promoting increased fibre fermentation. With increased fibre fermentation in the hindgut, you’ll likely see improved health overall including maintenance of appetite, increased immunity, good topline, coat shine and improved demeanour.
Also, research on the postbiotic contained in Digestive RP has shown that post-exercise, supplemented horses had reduced whole-body stress as indicated by lower cortisol and serum amyloid A levels, and lower inflammatory markers (Prostaglandin E2) in their joints.
Why is a broodmare's gut health so important?
As well as ensuring that the mare is in prime condition and able to effectively digest and absorb the maximum goodness from her food while gestating, and has her immune system in peak condition, there is a second reason why broodmares gut bacteria should be a prime focus in thoroughbred breeding.
Foals are born without any fibre-digesting bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts, so they will eat their dam's manure to get it. If the broodmare’s gut is healthy and populated by mostly ‘good’ bacteria her manure will provide plenty of ‘good’ bacteria for her foal too. In turn this will populate the foal’s gut with ‘good’ bacteria and set it up for a lifetime of efficient fibre digesting.
In addition to gut health support with Digestive EQ, we recommend providing your broodmares with Digestive VM to ensure they have the full range of required minerals and vitamins available while growing those precious foals.
What Is The Feed Rate, how long will Digestive RP last?
Here are the feeding rates and estimated time a 4 kg tub will last:
- A horse weighing up to 200 kg has a daily serve of 45 gm per day which equates to 89 serves
- 200-400 kg has a daily serve of 95 gm per day (42 serves)
- 400-600 kg has a daily serve of 130 gm per day (31 serves)
- Horses up to 800 kg have a daily serve of 195 gm per day (20.5 serves)
We also stock a 17.5 kg bucket, which is 8% cheaper than our 4 kg tub on a per kg basis.
How Do I Introduce Digestive RP to my horses?
It is best practice to introduce all new feeds and supplements into a horse’s diet over a period of 14 days. This is particularly important for horses prone to digestive disturbances like colic and diarrhoea. What we suggest is:
- Days 1 to 4 - ¼ recommended serve
- Days 5 to 8 – ½ recommended serve
- Days 9 to 12 – ¾ recommended serve
- Day 13 on – full recommended serve
You can also provide extra support when introducing Digestive RP by giving your horse the recommended dose of Stress Paste for the first few days too.
If you feel your horse needs a period of more intensive support, once the full serve has been achieved and your horse is eating it and there have been no unlikely negative changes e.g. loose manure, use the stress serve (listed on label) for 2 weeks (maximum), then return to maintenance serve.
If you find ¼ serve is too much to start with you can begin at one teaspoon per day and gradually increase.
How Soon Will I See A Result From Using Digestive RP?
Horse trainers who are trying Digestive RP are reporting seeing improved behavioural changes in as early as 4-5 days, with horses appearing calmer and more settled. It can help to use Stress Paste for the first few days to fast track your results.
Another noticeable improvement can come in the way of improved consistency of manure. Some horses that have been scouring for months have reportedly formed solid manure within days of using Digestive RP.
In as little as two weeks, horse owners are reporting noticeable changes in coat condition and beginning to see improved top line condition, particularly noticing filling out above the flanks around the loin area.
After 3-4 weeks people are consistently noticing significant behavioural, performance and recovery improvements, as well as improved feed conversion and a noted improved suppleness under saddle.
If you don’t see a result that quickly, don’t panic. Every horse is different with some taking longer to respond due to ongoing repair of mucosa and repopulation of healthy microbes, particularly in their hindgut. If your horse doesn’t have obvious outward symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, positive changes are going to be less obvious but can be as subtle as improved hoof growth and increased immunity.
But remember, seeing the results is just the start. Supporting optimal digestion and the health of your horse’s gastrointestinal tract longer term with the correct diet in combination with Digestive RP will encourage optimal health and performance into the future.
What Does Digestive RP Look Like and How Do I Feed It?
Digestive RP is a powdered feed supplement that is added to your horses normal feed. It is a pale grey green powder. You can mix it with any oils or add to your wet feeds, or mix through your feed and wet down.
Why Did You Create Digestive RP?
The gut of racing and performance horses is put under a lot of pressure. Higher grain, lower forage, meal fed diets, typical of those fed to racing and performance horses are a long way from a horse’s natural diet. And therefore they create challenges we need to manage in order for a horse to maintain normal gut function and be able to race or perform at its best.
Digestive RP has been created to help racing and performance horse’s maintain normal gut health and function. It provides support beyond what our original Digestive EQ product is able to provide to support these horses with their more challenging than ‘normal’ environments, workloads and feeding regimes.
Why is it important to maintain Gut Health in Racing and Performance Horses?
We have known now for decades how important gut health is for performance. Horses can not and will not race or perform to their full potential if things in their gut aren’t right.
The pain, reduced hormone and vitamin production, reduced appetite, feed digestion and supply of energy, leaky gut, systemic inflammation and compromised immune function that occur when gut health is compromised all contribute to horses having poor performance.
And research continues to show us how certain disease states, anxiety and hyperactive behaviour that reduces rider safety and horse welfare are all linked to gut health.
By feeding in a way that supports gut health, we are able to support a horse’s mental and physical wellbeing, behaviour and performance!
What does Digestive RP Contain?
Digestive RP has:
- Dual acid buffering ingredients, with red marine algae and the powerful buffering agent magnesium hydroxide to help maintain normal stomach pH.
- Digestive enzymes to enhance the digestion of starch in the small and maximise muscle energy provided as glucose/glycogen.
- Powerful pre & postbiotic to feed the ‘good’ fibre fermenting bacteria, improve fibre digestion and maintain normal immune function.
- A Postbiotic that assists with controlling stress during exercise
- Digestive RP contains TruEquine ™, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae postbiotic that has been shown in research to:
- Support the hindgut fibre fermenting bacteria, helping them to increase the amount of muscle energy they are able to produce via fibre fermentation.
- Reduce whole-body stress, with horses supplemented having lower serum cortisol and lower serum amyloid A (SAA) after exercise; and
- Support joint health, with supplemented horses having lower Prostaglandin E2 (a biomarker used to assess inflammation) in their joints following exercise.
- Multiple amino acids (threonine, glutamine, leucine, proline, serine) to assist in maintaining normal mucin production and gut mucosa integrity and to support muscle building.
- Mycotoxin binder to reduce the harmful and frequently undiagnosed impact of fungal mycotoxins commonly present in hay, chaff and grains.
- Phytase enzyme to break down phytate. Phytate is the naturally occurring form of phosphorus in all seeds and grains. Phytate is well known to bind to and therefore reduce the digestion of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc and will also reduce the absorption of amino acids. The phytase enzyme in Digestive RP breaks the phytate down, preventing it from negatively impacting the digestion and absorption of other important nutrients.
- Magnesium oxide to keep the products calcium to magnesium ratio balanced to ensure calcium doesn’t negatively affect the digestion, absorption and metabolism of magnesium.
What are the Differences Between Digestive EQ and Digestive RP?
Red Marine Algae
Balanced Ca: Mg Ratio
Yes - higher amounts
Does Digestive RP replace Omeprazole?
No. Digestive RP is not designed to increase stomach pH for long enough periods of time to replace the use of Omeprazole with a horse that has been scoped and has ulcers. However! Digestive RP can be used in conjunction with omeprazole to support normal gut function in horses recovering from gastric ulceration.
Should I still use Digestive EQ?
No, Digestive RP should not be used at the same time as Digestive EQ. Each is sufficient on its own, and you should choose one or the other.
DIGESTIVE EQ FAQs
Digestive EQ is best suited for spelling, broodmares and OTTBs. For Racehorses or Yearlings being prepared for training or sales, we recommend Digestive RP. Digestive EQ aims to support optimal digestion by assisting to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Find out more here.
DIGESTIVE VM FAQs
Why Should I Use Digestive VM?
Digestive VM is a comprehensive vitamin, trace mineral and amino acid supplement. It supplies nutrients known to be important for your horse’s everyday functions and health based on established daily requirements.
Digestive VM has been formulated to fill nutrient gaps of forage (pasture or hay) based diets, unfortified grain diets, or diets whereby less than the recommended feeding rate of a commercial feed is being fed.
The yeast derived prebiotic supports the good bacteria in your horse’s hindgut, making fibre digestion more efficient and keeping the good bacteria happy to support overall health. It provides vitamins and minerals in their most bio-available form, including natural Vitamin E, organic selenium and organic chromium.
It does not contain grain, grain by-products or molasses, making it a good option for horses prone to laminitis, diagnosed with PPID (cushings) or PSSM and overweight horses on an energy restricted diet.
What Is In Digestive VM?
Digestive VM is scientifically designed with combination of minerals, essential vitamins and amino acids with an added yeast derived prebiotic.
It contains the macro minerals Calcium, Phosphorous and Magnesium as well as trace minerals Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Iodine and Chromium. A complex vitamin premix including Vitamin E, plus amino acids Threonine, Lysine and Glutamine.
Do I Feed VM Once Or Twice Daily?
The daily dose rate of Digestive VM can be fed in one or more meals per day.
Why Would I Use VM Over Other Vitamin & Mineral Supplements?
Digestive VM is formulated to fill the nutrient gaps in most common forage and unfortified diets, meaning you’ll only need one supplement to meet your horse’s daily nutrient requirements for trace minerals and vitamins. It contains the additional benefit of supplying essential amino acids to build top line, strong hooves and promote gut integrity. Plus it supplies a powerful prebiotic to support a healthy hindgut environment which promotes optimal fibre fermentation to supply your horse with a cool source of energy and production of vitamins including b-group vitamins for calm behaviour.
Can I Use Digestive VM On Laminitic Horses?
Yes – Digestive VM contains no grain or grain by-products or molasses making it an excellent vitamin and mineral supplement choice for laminitic prone horses.
How Long Will A 4kg Sachet Of Digestive VM Last?
Each 4 kg sachet will vary in the time that it lasts your horse. In formulating Digestive VM we have been very specific with the feeding rates for each horse and will vary depending on their body weight, age and exercise workload. All feeding rates are clearly outlined on the label.
What Does Digestive VM Look Like And How Do I Feed It?
Digestive VM is a cold pelleted product that has a lucerne aroma. It is fed in your horse’s daily feed/s and mixed throughout.
What Does Organic And Chelated Mean?
A chelated mineral is one whereby it is attached to an amino acid, also called a proteinate. Chelates are described as organic minerals in contrast to inorganic minerals, those that are not bound to amino acids. Minerals commonly used in horse feeds and supplements in chelated form include iron, selenium, chromium, cobalt, copper, zinc and manganese.
Based on results from other species, it is thought that some chelated minerals are more digestible than non-chelated forms.
If The Pellets Are Cold Pressed Will That Affect Efficacy?
The process of cold pressing a vitamin and mineral supplement into a pellet ensures vitamins are not damaged by heat, as can occur with steam-pressed pelleted supplements. The benefits of pressing a supplement into a convenient tasty pellet is that it minimises the likelihood of your horse sifting out the supplement.
How Can I Be Sure My Horses Diet Is Balanced?
Digestive VM is formulated to fill the nutrient gaps commonly found in many diets, including forage based (hay or pasture) diets with or without unfortified grains and to top up nutrients in situations where less than the recommended rate of a commercial feed is being fed. You can give yourself peace of mind that you’re providing your horse with balanced diet by consulting with an independent nutritionist or using a program such as FeedAssist (available on our website) or FeedXL to assess the diet for yourself.
I’m Using A Feed That Has Vitamins & Minerals In It, So Can I Use Digestive VM?
Are you feeding the full recommended feeding rate of a good quality commercial feed according to your horse’s age, workload and body weight? If so, it is unlikely you will need additional vitamins and minerals as supplied by Digestive VM. However, if you’re feeding less than the recommended feeding rate it is likely you’ll need to top up some nutrients to ensure the diet is meeting your horse’s requirements. It will depend on your preferred commercial feed as to how much Digestive VM is required to fill nutrient gaps. Again, consult with an independent nutritionist or use a program such as FeedAssist to assess the diet for yourself.
What Horses Will Best Benefit From Digestive VM?
All horses benefit from a diet which meets their nutritional requirements. So, whether your horse is on a forage only diet or not receiving the full recommended dose of a supplemented feed, Digestive VM will fill common nutrient gaps in these types of diets and have your horse feeling, looking and performing at their best.
Why Does Digestive VM Have B Vitamins In It, When The Bacteria Make B Vitamins In The Hindgut?
While we know microbial fermentation in our horse’s hindgut produces B-vitamins, it is unknown to what extent this process can fulfil their requirement for these vitamins.
Stress Paste FAQs
Why Would My Horse Need Stress Paste?
Stress affects horses in many ways. They stop eating. They stop drinking. Muscles can fatigue quickly with dehydration and reduce nutrients available to support energy production. Competition, strenuous work, transport, long days competing, extreme heat and humidity, extended times off feed or other major changes to your horse’s normal routine and illness or extended times off feed can compromise gut health. Gut bacterial populations can shift. Muscles and organs can be damaged with higher rates of oxidative stress. Behaviour can become anxious and highly strung, and this behaviour then starts the stress cascade all over again. They stop eating. They stop drinking… and so it goes.
Stress Paste is designed to specifically address each of these responses to stress and keep the horse eating and hydrated with well-functioning, well protected muscles. Stress Paste aims to support the gut so it and its bacteria can remain healthy during higher stress periods.
Why Is Each Ingredient Included?
Each ingredient plays a vital role in assisting your horse to cope with the stress they are about to be placed under. These ingredients include:
Yeast Derived Prebiotic – Research has shown that stress during travel can change a horse’s gut bacteria populations. Plus any extended time off feed is going to reduce the supply of fibre that is available to support your horse’s good bacteria. The yeast derived prebiotic is added to assist in supporting the good bacteria through times of stress.
Magnesium Hydroxide – this ingredient is a strong buffer and works within Stress Paste to raise the pH of the fluid in your horse’s stomach to reduce the risk of gastric ulcers. Magnesium hydroxide also provides a source of magnesium to support the expected higher requirement of this mineral during stress.
Natural Betaine – betaine is a naturally occurring osmolyte. Osmolytes love water, meaning betaine is able to help your horse stay hydrated and better able to handle strenuous exercise (both training and competing) and heat stress. Research in other animal species has also shown that natural betaine is able to reduce the damage to the gut caused during heat stress.
B-Vitamins – the B-vitamins are crucial during stress to maintain appetite and support muscle energy generation during exercise. Vitamin B1 is also needed to support normal function of the nervous system.
Natural Vitamin E – natural vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and will help protect your horse’s muscles from the higher levels of free radicals generated during stress and exercise.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and works together with vitamin E to protect your horse from free radical damage. Under normal conditions horses produce their own vitamin C. But research in horses shows that your horse’s natural vitamin C production is reduced during stress. The vitamin C in Stress Paste may support your horse during periods of stress to keep vitamin C at optimal levels.
Pectin – pectin is a sticky substance that is added to coat the upper sections of your horse’s stomach to provide some protection from acid splash during periods of time off feed. Pectin will also feed your horse’s good bacteria.
Amino Acids – threonine, glutamine, proline and serine are four amino acids critical for gut health. These amino acids are used directly by the gut to continuously regenerate and grow new, healthy gut tissue. Plus, they are needed to support the production of the protective mucus in the gut. By adding them to Stress Paste, we give your horse a readily available supply of these amino acids to help the gut stay healthy during periods of stress or time off feed.
Is Stress Paste Swabbable?
No. Our stress paste is a competition safe feed supplement.
Can I Use More Than 2 Tubes Per Day?
2 tubes of Stress Paste per day should cover the majority of horses. However, in extreme circumstances like prolonged travel (e.g. interstate travel lasting more than 8 hours) or prolonged exercise (e.g. during endurance competitions) a third tube may be required. It isn’t recommended to feed 3 tubes of Stress Paste for any longer than two consecutive days.
Will Stress Paste Help My Horse Stay Hydrated?
Stress Paste may also help maintain your horse’s appetite. And when horses eat well, they generally also drink well. So, they stay better hydrated!
When Should I Use The ‘Stress Serve’ Of Digestive EQ And When Should I Use Stress Paste?
Good question! Here are our guidelines:
Use Digestive EQ at the stress dose if your horse has longer term gut health issues. For example, diarrhoea, recovery after oral antibiotics, is a recently off-the-track thoroughbred, a horse losing weight or an aged horse needing support.
Use Stress Paste when your horse is under acute, short term stress. For example, during travel, competition or during and after illness.
If you are looking to feed the stress serve of EQ please make sure your horse has been weaned onto it and is already being fed the normal serve.
Can I Use This Every Day?
Stress Paste won’t cause harm if used every day, but it is not designed to be used every day. For everyday use we recommend you use Digestive EQ.
Stress Paste can be used every day for horses who are unwell and not eating, to help support their gut health and encourage their appetite.
How Many Days In A Row Can I Use This?
Stress Paste can be used for as many days in a row as your horse is under acute levels of stress. If used for more than 5 days in a row we recommend you remove it slowly by reducing to a ½ dose for 2 days and then ¼ dose for 4 days (to allow your horse’s natural vitamin C production and regulation to normalise).
Can It Be Used For Foals And Weanlings?
Yes! And in-fact Stress Paste will do a great job of helping foals and weanlings under stress (for example during travel or weaning). For foals, reduce to ¼ the recommended serve for the foal’s dam, and for weanlings use a half serve.
How Is Stress Paste Different To Other Products On The Market?
Many ‘Calming’ or ‘Stress’ type products contain ingredients that act only on the horse’s nervous system to calm them.
Stress Paste on the other hand is designed to specifically address the many negative responses to stress. Stress Paste may help to keep horses eating and hydrated with well-functioning, well protected muscles. Stress Paste also helps with recovery and most importantly, supports the gut so it, and its bacteria can remain healthy during higher stress periods.
Will Stress Paste Sedate My Horse?
No. Stress Paste is a feed supplement that works by targeting issues your horse may experience under acute stress (like gastric ulceration, dehydration, muscle damage and loss of appetite). In assisting your horse better cope with stress, Stress Paste helps your horse remain calm.
In assisting your horse to better cope with stress by first targeting the effects stress has on the gut, Stress Paste may help your horse to become more calm in these situations too.
Why Isn’t Tryptophan In Stress Paste?
Many pastes include the amino acid, Tryptophan. It is not included in Stress Paste because in some equine sports it is swabbable. Additionally, we can’t find any research that shows it actually works.
Will Stress Paste Assist With Recovery?
The single most important factor for a good recovery is proper hydration. Stress Paste (combined with your chosen electrolyte) may assist keep your horse hydrated. And in doing so, may help speed up recovery.
PLUS, the vitamin C and natural vitamin E antioxidants may protect muscles during exercise so there is less damage to repair, and the B-vitamins may maintain muscle energy production, making for an easier recovery.
Can Stress Paste Assist With My Horse's Gut Health?
Our years of experience and proof from horses across the globe show that Stress Paste may in fact assist with positive horse gut health. In fact, one of its most important functions is to protect gut health during acute stress. With a powerful buffer to reduce the risk of gastric ulceration, pectin to coat the stomach and protect it from acid splash, amino acids to support your horse’s natural processes of gut repair and protection and our powerful, yeast derived prebiotic to support the hindgut’s good bacteria, a large part of what make Stress Paste so effective is the support it provides in the gut!
How Can Stress Paste Help During Travel?
In many ways, including:
- The magnesium hydroxide may assist to buffer your horse’s stomach while your horse is off feed. This buffering action may increase the pH of the fluid in your horse’s stomach and reduce its ability to burn ulcers into the upper part of your horse’s stomach.
- The pectin is a sticky substance that should coat the upper part of the horse’s stomach and help protect it from any acid splash.
- The amino acids may help feed your horse’s gut wall to allow it to continue to repair and regenerate itself and produce its own protective mucous.
- The vitamin C may help maintain vitamin C status and antioxidant protection. Vitamin C has been shown by research to be reduced in horses when they are travelling.
- The prebiotic may help support the good bacteria in your horse’s hindgut. Travel related stress has been shown to alter equine gut bacterial populations.
- The natural betaine may help to keep your horse hydrated on long journeys.
- The B-vitamins may help to maintain your horse’s appetite and energy levels, so when you arrive at your destination your horse will keep eating and feel great!
Should I Preload With Stress Paste?
You can. If you know your horse is going to have a long, high stress day, you can give a dose of Stress Paste the night before.
Can Stress Paste Help With My Horse’s Appetite?
By supporting a more stable gut environment and making sure vitamin B1 requirements are met, Stress Paste is designed to help with appetite (we have had a lot of great feedback that it helps!)