The horses whole digestive tract from mouth to rectum is referred to as the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and comprises the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (or colon), the caecum and the rectum. The large intestine and caecum are often referred to as the hindgut. The term gastric (as in gastric ulcers) refers only to the stomach. Digestion of forage (fibre) takes place in the hindgut by microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa). Horses are often referred to as hindgut fermenters.
When horses get colic, this relates to dysfunction of the large intestine or hindgut. Colic is one of the most common and expensive medical conditions in horses. Loose droppings are a sign of hindgut dysfunction.
Gastric ulcers refer to ulcers only in the stomach. Horses are not considered to get hindgut ulcers but may develop a syndrome similar to irritable bowel syndrome in people where the lining of the lower/hind part of the digestive tract becomes inflamed.
Supplements such as our award winning Gut Balancer which contain both prebiotics (nutrients that encourage growth of “good” bacteria) and probiotics (live organisms such as yeasts which also support the growth of “good” bacteria) help maintain normal function of the hindgut and digestibility. Supplements such as GastroKind which was the winner of the International Innovation Awards 2017 is a natural, nutritional formula developed by the leading veterinary scientists, nutritionists and vets. The unique formula promotes a healthy gastric environment, soothes the stomach walls, helps control acidity and supports the natural anti-inflammatory processes in the gut. In summary, GastroKind works to maintain a healthy stomach and Gut Balancer works to maintain a healthy hindgut and digestion.
We strongly recommend that if you are uncertain about any aspect of your horse or ponies nutrition, diet, health or wellbeing then you call the Nutrition Advice Line on 0345 5046940.
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