Vet Center Blog:

Your resource for current, advanced equine GI health diagnostics and management news and research.

Dr David Platt BVSc., PhD., DEO., FRCVS – Equine Veterinarian, Essex, UK

As a busy equine veterinarian I have become increasingly aware of a link between low grade hind gut inflammation and behavioural issues / poor performance in competition horses. Riders will be aware that stomach ulcers can make horses irritable, nappy and difficult to ride. Colonic inflammation, however, whilst being very common, is far less well appreciated as a cause of mild irritation that can induce poor behaviour such as mild bucking, rearing, napping, resistance, not going forward off the leg and reluctance to perform lateral work in competition horses. Neither should it be forgotten that a horse suffering with gastric ulcers may also have concurrent hind gut inflammation.

Over the last twelve months I have been evaluating all horses presenting with mild to severe behavioural issues when ridden, that have no physical evidence of any underlying orthopaedic or other clinical conditions, for the presence of hindgut inflammation, using the SUCCEED faecal blood test (FBT). In many of these cases the FBT results have revealed an increase in albumin loss in the dung consistent with an inflamed hind gut wall. Gastroscopy of most of these horses failed to reveal any evidence of stomach lining ulceration. In all of these cases I removed the cereal content in their diet and started them on SUCCEED Digestive Feed Supplement and the results have been quite startling. Within a few days many of these animals became significantly calmer, less resistant, more forward going and have stopped misbehaving when ridden, much to the relief of their worried riders. Feeding SUCCEED equine nutritional supplement is unlikely to be the panacea for all horses that have behavioural difficulties when ridden but I am convinced that many horses demonstrating such behaviour are avoiding work because they are uncomfortable as a result of reversible low grade hind gut inflammation.

SUCCEED equine nutritional supplement is an excellent product that I now routinely feed as part of my management of all horses demonstrating intestinal disturbances, loss of condition, poor performance or have developed behavioural issues when ridden.

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