Equine Choice to help maintain equine digestive systems

Probiotics & Prebiotics

For Product Details
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For Directions of Use, Click HERE

General Overview

Why Use Equine Choice Probiotics?

A horse that is allowed to graze 14-20 hours per day on a good clean healthy pasture, will continually ingest naturally occurring digestive probiotics (bacteria, plant enzymes, yeasts) from the dirt, grass and weeds to keep their digestive systems operating effectively. These naturally occurring probiotics (good bacteria) are the raw material that allows the body to manufacture the gut microbes that the particular animal needs.  Horse grazing on dirt/grass

Some people believe that probiotics do not work for horses and they may have good cause to believe this. Some equine probiotic products do not actually contain true probiotic organisms and probiotic products that are contained in processed feed are often not live - or true probiotics. Many other probiotic products use temperature sensitive ingredients that are not live or reproducible and/or do not survive the stomach acid in significant enough quantities to be effective in a horse’s hind gut. 

The Equine Choice Probiotic and Prebiotic product contains organisms that the horse would get if he were grazing in a natural environment for several hours day and night. They are temperature stable, live, reproducing probiotic organisms that survive stomach acid and can reach the hind gut alive in large enough quantities to make a positive impact on the hind gut microbes.  They are not a drug and do not test.

Research shows that beneficial gut microbes are key players in maintaining healthy mucosal linings throughout the digestive tract. High numbers of these beneficial digestive microbes are important for effective digestion, allowing helpful nutrients to pass through intestinal walls and blocking unwanted substances from passing into the body cavity ( as happens with leaky gut syndrome).  The mucosal lining is an integral part of the body's immune system, is involved with hormone regulation, and plays an important role in hydration, ensuring proper water and electrolyte absorption is happening in the hind gut.

Adequate levels of beneficial gut microbes are also essential for ensuring good quality hind gut fermentation takes place. This is the process that results in volatile fatty acid production and provides 80% of a horses energy. ( Horses use fiber to produce Volatile Fatty Acids for their primary energy source - not carbohydrates like us).   In fact, too many carbohydrates can cause a change in hind gut pH levels resulting in a decrease in the beneficial microbes. 

When the pH levels shift and a more acidic environment develops in the hind gut, hind gut acidosis develops. When this happens, the beneficial microbes are rapidly replaced with harmful microbes. Now, not only is the mucosal lining compromised, but the overgrowth of harmful gut microbes results in unwanted by-products such as gas and endotoxins.   It is believed that a continual leak of endotoxins into the horses system,  can be a contributing factor in non-structural unsoundness problems and can also be a factor to consider in compromised  hoof structure, poor sole quality and an increase in sole abscesses.

Inadequate levels of beneficial digestive microbes can also manifest as poor overall health, loose stools, flatulence, diarrhea, difficulty keeping weight on, picky eaters, prone to colic, pica (wood chewing, dirt and manure ingestion) and vices such as kicking stall wall and biting at flanks.  Many horses that are depleted in beneficial gut microbes exhibit “attitudes" and are mistaken for being cranky and ill mannered especially around the flank, when being brushed, saddled and cinched up(the large colon lies just above where the cinch goes). Some horses  present with low energy, or depressed attitudes and some show high strung, anxious or nervous behaviors.  Many other factors can contribute to these issues of course, (tack, companions, handlers, training... to name a few) but what is being discovered by many of the top trainers is that huge numbers of these ‘behavioural issues’ are frequently due to gut pain (hind gut acidosis, fore and hind gut ulcers, acid splash). to read about more about acid splash click here

We do many things with our horses that create conditions that compromise the beneficial gut microbes on a continual basis.  Horses that are stalled, mentally stressed, given severe or inconsistent exercise, are hauled long distances, have grain or processed feed diets, are on anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics, are all at risk for a depletion of their beneficial gut microbes. Even the chemicals in dewormers can have a negative effect on the microbes in the digestive tract.

Most horses will benefit from probiotic supplementation at some point in their life. It may be the old horse with fewer teeth,  the horse in training, the foal being weaned, the horse who just had surgery, or horses being hauled to competitions.  Deciding whether probiotic use is appropriate for a specific horse will depend upon the horses lifestyle, his history, current health and the type and quality of the current feed.  Some hays may contain more natural probiotic elements than others, processed feeds as a rule do not contain true probiotic elements. Most ‘kept’ horses do not have access to sufficient probiotics -remember, in a natural setting they continuously replenish them by ingesting them all day and night while foraging.  

The goal is to be as proactive as possible in protecting the horses digestive tract. As we now know, a healthy digestive tract supports nutrient uptake, immune function, hormone regulation and energy production.  Keeping in mind that the equine digestive system is designed  for ‘trickle foraging” (to ingest small amounts constantly from a variety of plants), Equine Choice believes that the essential components in good horse nutrition are simple and basic; high quality roughage and clean water available 24/7 plus adequate salt and a good vit/mineral supplement. Probiotic supplementation is essential for optimum digestive tract health when the horses lifestyle does not allow a sufficient quantity of digestive probiotics to be ingested from natural sources - or the demands placed on his system exceed the definition of natural activity.


Product Details      (for pdf of product details, click here)

1. What is a probiotic?

A probiotic supplement helps re-populate the beneficial micro flora normally found in the digestive tract.  There are billions of microbes (gut bacteria) in healthy digestive tracts which are continually replenished as a horse grazes on grass 14 -16 hours/day . Penned horses or those engaged in competitive activities have a difficult time accessing sufficient levels of naturally occurring probiotics.  High levels of beneficial gut microbes are important for nutrient uptake and are also key players in strong immune function, hormone regulation, maintenance of proper gut pH levels, protein and vitamin synthesis, water/electrolyte absorption and hind gut fermentation, which provides 80% of a horses energy.

2. Equine Choice Product Format

80 cc. Tube of Oral Paste (approx. 4-5 doses per tube for a 450 kg. horse)

  • Used for situations requiring extremely high levels of enzymes and bacteria to be delivered into the intestinal tract. Common situations would be colic, diarrhea, during antibiotic or anti-inflammatory therapy, chemical de-wormings, new foals, foal heat diarrhea, stressful situations such as weaning, trailering, shows or racing. Normally given at 15 cc/day for 10 days, then onto supplement.
    See the product insert card in brochure to review dosages for specific situations

Feed Supplement  available in: 1.7 kg (30 days) 4.2 kg (90 days) 20 kg

  • Dry granular supplement for top dressing on feed. It contains higher levels of live, protected yeast than the
    paste which assists in maintaining healthier hind gut pH levels.  Maintenance dose is 1 scoop two times /day- using less does not deliver sufficient probiotics to the hind gut.  Use for maintenance on horses difficult to keep weight on due to age or health conditions, horses in training or competition and breeding stock. This supplement can be mixed into dry or wet feed JUST PRIOR TO FEEDING. Do not mix into wet rations ahead of time. If exposed to moisture for a period of time the live yeast will germinate in the bucket instead of in the horses gut! Introduce slowly over a few days so the horse gets used to the taste. It is normally well liked by most horses. 

    See the product insert card in brochure to review dosages for specific situations

3. Directions for feeding

Recommendations for dosing are located in the Equine Choice brochure.  A card with dose directions is also placed into each sealed tub of supplement along with a measuring scoop.  Be aware that the product needs to be given not just to correct the apparent symptom.  It needs to be administered long enough so that the digestive tract is given time to repair itself.   If problematic symptoms are present, give the oral paste for ten days to give the body time to repopulate the digestive tract.  Follow with the granular supplement for at least 30 days to give the digestive tract time to heal itself.  After this period, you need to analyze the individual horses' situation to see if probiotics should be continued.

4. Storage and handling

Paste and supplement should be kept in cool dry locations. Keep lid tightly closed on supplement to prevent moisture from entering the container. Refrigeration is not necessary. Product ingredients are temperature stable and survive manufacture, transit and storage at a normal ranges of temperature. Freezing does not hurt the supplement, however, paste should not be allowed to freeze or be left in hot temperatures.  Although this does not affect the paste's viability, it makes it difficult to dispense out of the tube.

5. Expiry date

When stored correctly, Equine Choice has a two year expiry date from the time it is manufactured.  The manufactured date listed on the tubes: mo/day/year/batch number.  The manufactured date listed on the supplement: first five numbers is the batch number/day/mo/year.

6. Does this product work in other animals?

Equine Choice is formulated specifically for the equine digestive system.  Animal Pro Products Inc. is the manufacturer of Equine Choice, and also makes Stockmans Choice for cattle, pigs and goats; Dairymans Choice for dairy cows and a specialized sheep product.  They also make a probiotic product specifically formulated for dogs (Resolve & Prevent) which is available in paste and powder formulations.

7. When should a person consider giving probiotics to their horse?

Indications that a horse might benefit from having probiotics added to their diet include underweight, loss of appetite, frequent switching of feeds to combat loose stools, difficult to keep weight on, “hay belly”, gassy or abnormally loose manure/diarrhea, frequent colic, picky eaters, eating dirt, manure or chewing wood (ingesting bacteria to replenish digestive tract imbalances), cribbing, unhealthy hoof or hair quality, or ongoing fungal related hoof or skin problems.  Circumstances that have been shown to cause digestive upset and stress on horses are transporting, intense performance, heat stress and dehydration, changes in feed, increase in work intensity, frequent changes of location and stable mates, chlorinated water, de-worming, antibiotic therapy or ulcer treatment, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, extreme nervousness, and inadequate chewing ability as in aged horses.  Foals have no intestinal micro flora at birth and the paste supports a new foals' digestive system.  Equine Choice paste can help minimize foal scours and is especially important for orphans.  A foal's digestive system cannot properly digest high fiber feeds until approx. 3 months of age.  Paste given at weaning time will improve the digestive system's ability to cope with the feed changes and stressors that occur at this time.

8. Is it available already mixed into feeds?

No.  Processing compromises the shelf life of the probiotic. The supplement is a feed additive (top dressing) to put into the daily feed. This ensures that the amount given is accurately monitored and delivered only to the horses requiring it. It also means that it can be removed from the horses' diet when no longer required.

9. What happens if too much is given to a horse?

The vitamins are non-toxic and over feeding will not cause harm.  The probiotic ingredients only enhance digestion and amounts above what the digestive system can use will be utilized as food.

10. The label reads...

Just so you know, some equine products are registered and some are not, and that creates labeling discrepancies in similar products due to labeling regulations.  Apple to apple comparisons are virtually impossible - especially when you read labels from other countries.  Equine Choice is a registered product in Canada, and labeled in accordance with the Canadian Feed Act.  The Best in Show Pet Probiotic is not registered and is able to list all of it's ingredients on the label, since there are not labeling regulations for non-slaughter animal products. For specific ingredient details, refer to the Equine Choice brochure.

11. Do probiotics help with acid splash?

Probiotics support the body to repair and maintain the digestive tract, but they do not directly address the issue of acid splash or alleviate the discomfort associated with it. Equine Choice ACID FXis specifically formulated to buffer the stomach acid in working or ulcer horses. Go to healthyhorses.ca to learn more about acid splash and how Equine Choice Acid FX can alleviate this painful digestive issue.

12. Company Information

Animal Pro Products, the maker of Equine Choice Probiotics and Prebiotics is a privately owned Canadian company that has been producing animal probiotics in Ontario for over 20 years.   They source their ingredients from trusted and reliable European sources and manufacture the product in Ontario, Canada under strictly controlled laboratory conditions. Their unique approach to animal probiotics put them at the front of probiotic formulation 20 years ago, and continues to keep them there today.

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