Laminitis is a devastating condition in the equine industry, impacting every breed and gender. No one horse is immune to the condition, but it appears that certain groups of horses are more prone to others. The causes of laminitis can be many and often, the underlying cause can dictate success or failure. If we take certain steps to address the problem on a broader level, then often the condition can be more readily managed for the long term.
Gastrointestinal health and microbial balance has been connected with a host of clinical health problems in both humans and animals, including the horse. The normal gastrointestinal flora is involved in stimulation of the immune system, synthesis of vitamins (B and K), enhancement of GI motility and function, digestion and nutrient absorption, inhibition of pathogens, metabolism of plant and drug compounds and synthesis of short chain fatty acids.1,9,11
Leg swelling in the horse is a common finding, especially in the equine athlete. The most common problem associated with swollen legs is poor circulation, which can be attributed to many underlying problems. In most cases, we refer to this problem as 'stocking up", which is most often seen in the mornings after a horse has been stalled at nite. Usually, this stocking up resolves with increased movement, which signifies circulatory problems, but in other cases, it can be more stubborn, persisting for longer periods of time.
Intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been a recognized condition in humans, often correlated with systemic health conditions ranging from allergies to cancer, and is a common connection with obesity. Intestinal hyperpermeability or leaky gut syndrome, is a primary problem that has been also related to various health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, multi-organ failure, kidney disease, liver ailments and a common consequence to radiation or chemotherapy. The connection between the two is that through the process of increased permeability, bacteria may gain access to the systemic circulation, contributing to organ infection and immune dysfunction. (1,5,6,14)
If you own a horse, especially one that is competing, I don't have to tell you that there are 'gut' problems in the industry. It seems as if almost every horse is on an ulcer medication in some shape or form. Gastrogard® and Ulcergard® tubes seem to be almost a staple in every tack box. We have a problem, but are we addressing it correctly? What are the causes of the GI distress and is there something more we can do to assist our equine companions to adjust? Or are we destined to just continue the expensive dance of anti-ulcer medications? Let's take a different look at the problem and see if we can produce some answers.
Services we provide. Our goal at Secondvet, is to help you to understand the medical or lameness conditions impacting your horse or companion pet, revealing options that may benefit health and soundness... read more >>