Kentucky Equine Research® Equishure® is a time-released buffer targeting the horse’s hindgut. Research supports the use of a hindgut buffer in cases of high grain and high fructan intake. KER EquiShure’s unique, patent-pending encapsulation technology ensures targeted release directly in the hindgut.
Up to 70% of the horse’s energy is derived from fermentation in the hindgut. The pH of the hindgut varies as bacterial populations increase and decrease in response to dietary modifications. An acidic shift, which can be caused by carbohydrate-rich meals, favors the growth of acid-loving bacteria, while other microbes die in the same conditions.
Changes in the pH of the hindgut due to alterations in the microbial populations and acid profiles cause a condition known as subclinical acidosis, which can put affected horses at a higher than normal risk for colic and laminitis. Other signs of subclinical acidosis include decreased feed intake or complete inappetence in severe cases, mild to moderate colic signs of unexplained origin, poor feed efficiency and subsequent weight loss, loss of performance, and development of certain vices such as wood chewing, weaving and stall walking.
EqiuShure is recommended for horses on high-grain diets or grazing lush pasture or inappetence or weight loss, unexplainable behavioral problems, digestive upsets resulting in loose manure. It’s also appropriate for those prone to recurrent mild colic or laminitis and for sport horses under stress of training. Feed 30 to 180 g of powder daily according to the horse’s size and level of risk for hindgut acidosis. 1.25 kg.
Research trials at Kentucky Equine Research (KER) were designed to test the efficacy of EquiShure on hindgut acidosis in horses fed a high-grain ration. Fecal examination indicated that non-supplemented horses had decreased fecal pH after feeding when compared to horses supplemented with EquiShure hindgut buffer. In addition, EquiShure supplemented horses had significantly lower fecal lactate concentrations, suggesting that lactate was being used by lactic-acid-utilizing bacteria to produce VFA. The VFA are subsequently absorbed by the intestine and are metabolized as an energy source in the liver. These significant results suggest that EquiShure prevented the decrease in pH associated with rapid starch and sugar fermentation after a large grain meal, enabling lactate-utilizing bacteria to thrive and convert lactate into VFA.
Subclinical acidosis can also be caused by pasture grasses rich in fructan. Microbial digestion of fructans results in production of VFA and lactic acid similar to cereal grain digestion in the hindgut. As with large amounts of grain, high fructan intakes overwhelm the hindgut resulting in rapid fermentation, accumulation of lactic acid, and a deleterious decrease in pH. KER therefore tested the efficacy of EquiShure against a challenge of fructan. Results showed that EquiShure-supplemented horses had less fecal lactate when compared to control horses , which, like in the grain study, indicates that lactate is being converted into VFA by lactic-acid-utilizing bacteria. However, both groups of horses exhibited decreased fecal pH. In control horses, both lactic acid and VFA contributed to the acidic conditions, whereas in EquiShure-treated horses, most of the lactic acid was being utilized. Low pH as the result of VFA is less detrimental to hindgut function compared with lactate, which is a much stronger acid.
Another study demonstrated the efficacy of EquiShure given to horses that had been denied access to pasture (for example, due to injury-related stall rest). Horses that had not been turned out on pasture for several weeks were given 24-hour free-choice access to fall pasture. One group of horses was given EquiShure for 1 week prior to turnout and another group served as controls and was given no buffer. Initial pH readings revealed a moderate decrease in pH despite the buffer, but an analysis of VFA proved that the drop in pH was associated with increased VFA production; therefore more were being produced and available to the horse as energy sources. Additional analysis demonstrated that lactic acid was greater in the control group vs. the EquiShure-fed group, which meant EquiShure was effective and the hindgut was functioning optimally.
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