EquiShure® is a time-released buffer targeting the hindgut. Research supports the use of a hindgut buffer in cases of high grain and high fructan intake. 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.
Cause of Subclinical Acidosis
One of the primary signs of subclinical acidosis is inappetence or decreased appetite. A horse is often reported to be “off his feed.”Because the hindgut is overwhelmed with lactic acid when a horse is experiencing acidosis, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and irritated, causing the horse discomfort. The irritation may be severe enough to induce behavior characteristic of colic. Furthermore and perhaps most detrimental to equine athletes is a reduction of feed efficiency. Long-term exposure of the intestinal lining to a low-pH environment may negatively affect the absorptive capacities of these structures, limiting the amount of energy available for performance.
In addition to these health concerns, a link between subclinical acidosis and sterotypies such as wood chewing, weaving, and stall walking has been suggested by researchers.
Because of the precarious nature of the hindgut of a horse afflicted with subclinical acidosis, it is less able to handle metabolic crises that healthy horses may be able to fend off. Hence, horses with subclinical acidosis are more susceptible to colic and laminitis.
EquiShure is recommended for horses:
- On high-grain diets or grazing lush pasture
- With inappetence or weight loss
- With unexplainable behavioral problems
- With digestive upsets resulting in loose manure
- Prone to recurrent mild colic or laminitis
- Sport horses under stress of training
Figure 1. Fecal pH following consumption of a grain meal.
Figure 2. Percent increase in d-lactate concentration following a fructan challenge.
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 (Figure 3). 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 (Figure 4).
Figure 3. Total VFA from fecal samples after exposure to pasture.
Figure 4. Change in fecal lactic acid (d-lactate) after exposure to pasture.