COVID-19 – The Catalyst for Horse Owners to Improve Preventative Healthcare
When the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) issued new guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic many horse owners found themselves in a situation they had never imagined.
Following advice from the UK government to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, BEVA announced that vets were only able to attend emergencies and that all routine and non-essential work should stop, including vaccinations, poor performance/mild lameness examinations and routine dentistry.
With restrictions in place and with the real prospect that this may not be a one off occurrence we all owe it to our horses to step up preventative healthcare and to reduce the pressure on vets when restrictions are in place. Why wait for your horse to start showing symptoms when you could detect an issue and prevent ill health from ever taking place?
Many horse owners are used to testing their horses for worms with faecal samples and saliva tests and new technology at an affordable price means that a complete health check of the horse’s gut can now be carried out too. The cost of the test that can flag up potential issues is minor in comparison to a vet’s bill if your horse becomes ill.
Leading expert in gut health, EquiBiome, has brought a revolutionary test kit to the market which gives horse owners an accurate insight into the levels of good and bad bacteria in the hind gut.
The EquiBiome test provides a real-time snapshot of the hind gut microbial community to get rid of the guess work and once an individual horse is tested a report is produced which includes advice on practical changes that can be made to diet and routine to improve health and performance.
The bacteria of the hind gut make a huge contribution to the health of your horse, including temperament, energy levels, nutrient availability and vitamin production. Your horse is what he eats and the success of the diet depends first of all on what is going on in the gut.
Scientific research has linked every common gastrointestinal health problem to the gut bacteria. Horses with colitis, colic, inflammation, EMS and laminitis have different gut bacteria than those that are healthy. The ‘biome’ is a ‘whole community’, the bacteria interact with each other, producing benefits and interacting with their host.
Pathogenic bacteria (disease causing ‘bad’ bacteria) can take over the microbiome community if not kept in check by the good gut bacteria. Many pathogenic bacteria can travel from the gut to other parts of the body where they can cause health problems for horses.
Knowing what type and how many of the good and the bad bacteria, gives valuable insight into the type of diet that can help, and the type of pro and prebiotic that will suit the biome. Many of the bacteria within the list of pathogens are linked to gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea, inflammation and discomfort. The EquiBiome Test identifies them all and gives insight into management.
Managing the hind gut has never been possible before the development of next generational sequencing of the bacteria DNA. The test is so accurate that it can identify water contamination (arsenic/nitrate/nitrite), dietary deficiencies, mineral and vitamin imbalances, acidosis, antibiotic resistant bacteria and emerging pathogens. EquiBiome uses Illumina MiSeq to generate the test report, this is the most accurate and up to date technology, preferred by geonomic researchers around the world.
In horses, the knowledge and science relating to the microbiome and its links to health and disease are increasing thanks to EquiBiome as they have the largest library of equine data in the world and they use this information to identify and accurately describe what makes up a healthy biome.
How do I take the EquiBiome Test?
The EquiBiome Test Kit is ordered online at equibiome.org and once it arrives follow the instructions and return your horse’s faecal sample for testing. You will then receive a detailed report with recommendations to improve your horse’s gut health.
With the right management, based on facts not guess work, your horse’s gut health can be improved.
For further information or to order an EquiBiome Test Kit please visit equibiome.org and follow the ‘EquiBiome’ page on Facebook.