lltech Symposium 2012

Marianne Herzberger

In the wake of the discussions re pre|probiotics, here is an interesting read from the Alltech Symposium May 2012:
(Maybe this should be on The Horse's Mouth, but that's Dr Kellon's domain)
Prevention of obesity: potential role of the hindgut microflora in
horses Dr. Lucy Waldron
President and Founder,
LWT Animal Nutrition
years ago the role of hind gut micro-organisms was scarcely taken into account
in non-ruminants in relation to their nutrition and related disorders. Since
then, the role of the hind gut microflora has been of increasing interest and
subject to much research, starting with agricultural species such as pigs and
chickens, and now being applied to pets and horses. From the equine side, the
main focus on the characterisation of hind gut microflora has centred around
its role in laminitis (Milinovich et al., 2005; 2007; 2008a, b), and the
‘triggers’ from feed and/or microbes that release bioactive amines that cause
inflammation and laminitis symptoms (Elliot and Bailey, 2006). However there
are other aspects that are also of importance that have been revealed from
studies with other mammals, and which need to be considered in horses.
the purpose of this paper, we will consider the potential influence of hind gut
bacterial populations on weight gain in horses. Obesity is a major issue for
many horses and ponies, and, whilst being strongly linked to laminitis via
insulin resistance among other aspects (Respondek et al, 2011), it also
poses other major health risks to the animal. Studies have been conducted in other
mammalian species, including mice, chickens and dogs, where the bacterial
profiles of the gut have been elucidated via genetic techniques (Raoult, 2008;
Bermingham, 2009; Apajalahti, 2012). These have shown that the microbial
profile of an obese animal is significantly different from a non-obese animal. So
can we use these findings to extrapolate to horses? As all equine nutritionists
and horse owners know, there are the so-called ‘good doers’ and ‘poor doers’
within the horse population. These sub-groups cannot be directly related to
breed (although some breeds are associated with obesity more than others) or
management strategies. For example, obese thoroughbred and arab horses do
occur, even if they are managed and fed in the same way as their more common
‘poor doer’ counterparts. Research published by Koike et al. (2000)
compared the microflora of native Japanese ponies against throroughbreds and
found that the cellulytic Fibrobacter succinogenes was more dominant in
the ‘good doer’ ponies compared to the lighter breed horses. So, leaving aside
issues such as laminitis, is there a perfect microbial profile for a horse? Is
it possible to influence the microbial profile by nutritional intervention or
the application of specialist feed ingredients to stabilise or promote an
optimal microflora that will ensure that horses are neither too fat or too
thin? We already know that feeding pro or prebiotics or yeast products to
animals can be beneficial, but are normally used within the context of
fattening up an underweight horse. Work conducted with oligosaccharides has
shown that major feed changes, e.g. a high barley diet, showed that horses fed
a prebiotic had fewer changes in microbial population than the control
(Respondek et al., 2008; de Fombelle et al., 2001). Additionally,
the application of Lactobacillus based probiotics can reduce foal
scouring by up to 40% (Lawlor, 2011). In a review by Julliand (2005), it is
again highlighted that the mode of action of both pre and probiotics in horses
is not well characterised, which needs addressing via research. However the
amount of information on bacterial types and levels is improving.
these are some indications out there in the published research – but what can
we do to tie this together to give a clearer picture on combating obesity, with
all its associated disease problems, in a practical manner? Controlled studies
are needed, where the bacterial profiling of fat, thin and ‘normal’ horses are
obtained over a range of feeds (e.g. varying from 100% forage to high
concentrate). Once these profiles have been obtained, further work has to be
done applying feeding strategies and supplements, including pre and probiotics,
yeast preparations and so on, to observe any shifts in population towards the
‘normal’ profile. With suitable funding, it should not be impossible to
formulate a feeding program that will optimise the horse’s hind
gut environment and minimise gastric and obesity issues in future.
J. (2012). Proc of the Aust Poultry Sci Symp, Sydney, Australia
Bermingham, E. et al. (2009)
pers comm.
De Fombelle, A. et al. (2001). J Eq Vet Sci 21 (9): 439-445
De Fombelle, A. et al. (2003). Anim Sci 77: 293-304
J. and Bailey, S.R. (2006). J of Nutr 136 (7): 2103S-2107S
V. (2005) Proceedings of ENUCO, Hannover, Germany
Koike, S. et al. (2000). J Eq Sci 2: 45-50
C. (2011) Online article The Horse Magazine, Australia
Milinovich, G.J. et al. (2005). Env Microbiology 8 (5): 885-898
Milinovich, G.J. et al. (2007). Env Microbiology 9 (8): 2090-2100
Milinovich, G.J. et al. (2008a). Int J of Systemic and Evolutionary
Microbiology 58 (1): 262-266
Milinovich, G.J. et al. (2008b). The ISME Journal, 2:
D. (2008) Euro J of Clin Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 27 (8):
Respondek, F. et al.
(2008) J Anim Sci 86 (2): 316-323
Respondek, F. et al. (2011). J Anim Sci 89: 77-83

Marianne ( *Jannepauli*)
EC June, 2011 - http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/ECHistory5/files/Marianne/
The Netherlands

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