Prebiotics and Probiotics for Digestive Health

A healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract is very important for horses and can impact their overall health and performance. Here we discuss the importance of pre and probiotics for your horse.

Healthy Horse

Hindgut Composition

The GI tract can be broken down into sections and the section that we are going to focus on is the hind gut as it makes up 45% of the digestive system. The hindgut comprises of symbiotic microbiota: bacteria, protozoa and fungi. The microbiota’s function is to ensure optimum food absorption for energy and heath. However, these microflorae are very sensitive and digestive issues occur when there is a disturbance or sudden change to the microbiota. The pH of the hindgut is vital for the microbiota live and grow in. Hindgut pH is linked to feeding and diet so any sudden dietary changes can increase the risk of a digestive upset (such as colic or laminitis). Essentially the equine hindgut is a very sensitive organism that needs to be looked after to ensure overall health and wellbeing.


The hindgut microflora can be assisted by two kind of digestive supplementation: probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that assist the growth of the natural micro-organisms within the hindgut. These live yeasts have been proven to aid with nutrient digestibility, with the most well-known yeast being Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Probiotics help to regulate the pH of the hindgut to help the microflora grow and thrive. This in turn increases the optimisation of fibre digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals from the diet.


Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial micro-organisms in the hind gut, allowing them to out-number the detrimental micro-organisms. By limiting the unwanted microflora, the prebiotics help create a positive environment for the natural, symbiotic microflora to thrive. By ensuring healthy, happy microbiota, the pH of the hindgut is regulated leading to better nutrient absorption. Prebiotics, therefore, contribute to a healthy digestive system within the horse.

Gut Balance

Maintaining the balance between probiotic and prebiotic supplementation is important. As previously mentioned, the pH of the hindgut is sensitive and needs to be protected. Equine Gold from NutriScience is a nutritional supplement that contains both pro and prebiotics. Equine Gold contains live yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae to aid nutrient digestibility through enhancing the activity of fibre digesting bacteria in the hind gut. The balanced supplement combination in Equine Gold helps to support a healthy a GI tract and aid digestion within the horse.

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