It’s no secret (or at least it shouldn’t be) that a horse’s expansive gastrointestinal tract has a critical impact on its overall wellness and ability to perform. The equine gut’s structure and function are incredibly sensitive and thus prone to pathological conditions such as ulcers, colic, hindgut acidosis, parasitism, and many others. But problems aren’t constrained to the gut itself; compromised digestive health may also affect a horse’s weight, condition, appetite, nutrition, energy, attitude, behavior, and physical ability – to mention a few.
Because the equine gut has the ability to impact so many other elements of health and can be so easily upset, it is critical to evaluate digestive health as part of regular wellness checks as well as when GI conditions may be suspected.
Hindgut Problems In Horses Widespread
No one will argue that conditions like gastric ulcers and colic are widespread in horses, especially those that compete, live in stalls, and are fed grain-based feeds. Both are well-documented and have been researched for decades.
But in recent years, veterinarians, researchers, and owners alike are beginning to recognize that problems in the equine hindgut are also widespread and varying, though less well-understood.
In our own research, using necropsies of over 1,000 horses, we’ve found that performance horses suffer from colonic ulcers at rates exceeding 60%. Additionally, over half of the horses with gastric ulcers also had accompanying colonic ulcers. And this is just one example of one disease state plaguing a significant portion of performance horses.
FBT™ in the Diagnosis of GI Tract Conditions
Many of the common symptoms that indicate a horse is suffering from a pathological condition of the GI tract could signal problems in the foregut, hindgut, or both: loss of appetite, weight loss or inability to gain weight, poor coat and body condition, lethargy, attitude changes, and performance and training issues. While gastroscopy may identify gastric ulcers, there are few diagnostic tools available to reliably evaluate problems in the rest of the horse’s GI tract. And given the statistics, ruling in gastric ulcers does not rule out an issue elsewhere in the gut.
The SUCCEED FBT detects components of equine blood in a fresh fecal sample, which can indicate whether injury exists in the GI tract and whether it’s in the foregut, hindgut, or both. This data provides the veterinarian with useful objective data to direct further diagnostics and provide a more accurate diagnosis.
Learn more about using the FBT to diagnose GI tract conditions in horses.
FBT™ to Monitor Equine Digestive Wellness
The absence of classic symptoms of poor gut health is an unreliable indicator that all is actually well in the equine gastrointestinal tract. Some horses are asymptomatic when suffering from GI pathologies, while it’s increasingly common to see subclinical issues that impact behavior and performance. As a result, regularly monitoring the heath of the full gastrointestinal tract becomes a critical component of a good wellness plan.
The SUCCEED FBT offers an inexpensive, reliable, and non-invasive tool for monitoring a horse’s digestive health on a regular basis.
Learn more about the benefits of monitoring gut health with the FBT.
FBT™ for Early Detection of GI Tract Conditions in Horses
Because horses may be asymptomatic or suffering from subclinical issues that don’t present with physical symptoms, regularly monitoring GI health with the FBT allows for early detection of gut problems. The earlier issues are caught, the sooner appropriate treatment can begin. This offers a potentially faster, more effective treatment and may also help to stop more serious problems from developing.
Learn more about the benefits of using the SUCCEED FBT for early detection of gut problems in horses.