The Equine OA Newsletter

Gut & Immune Health

 The horse's gut is where the immune system starts, and a range of animal illnesses have been connected to this part of the body. Horses with gastrointestinal problems can exhibit poor appetite, poor body and hair coat condition, recurrent low-grade colic, stomach lesions, and a change in attitude and performance. A weak immune system in horses can lead to hyperpermeability of the gastrointestinal system which can cause inflammation in the gut, allowing for the onset of diseases. Recognizing these symptoms in your horse is one thing, but understanding why these symptoms occur is another. 


The fermentation vat is housed in the hindgut (large intestine) and is the section of the digestive tract which houses trillions of microorganisms that act on ingested plant fibres and release nutrients into the bloodstream. Some species of these microorganisms are referred to as "good bacteria" and “bad bacteria”; however, there is nothing inherently good or bad about bacteria. 

Good bacteria crowd out bad bacteria in order to limit their numbers in the GI tract, as 
bad bacteria waste products can produce disease and discomfort in the body. When the number of bad bacteria increases, the quantity of waste overwhelms the body’s ability to process it and thus causes illness or disease in the animal. This happens when broad spectrum antibiotics are prescribed but the drugs may contribute to a worst case scenario: not only do antibiotics destroy or inhibit the disease causing organisms; they also destroy the good bacteria as well.

In order to replenish this imbalance, it is necessary to increase the number of good bacteria in the digestive tract by supplementing with probiotics. It is optimally beneficial for the horse to consume a variety of living good bacteria species, also referred to as probiotics, to discourage having a monoculture of any bacteria species and thereby maintain a stable and healthy balance.

The use of probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes are beneficial to the horse’s digestive tract health and overall wellbeing by decreasing toxin load to the body, reducing stress levels, preventing illnesses and re-establishing the beneficial flora population in the gut after antibiotics to ensure a happy and healthy horse.

Biotic 8™ Plus is used to change the bacterial flora in the large intestine, and to also promote good digestion and intestinal health. With nine different types of good bacteria, Biotic 8™ Plus ensures a balanced approach to changing the bacterial flora. Each of these bacteria has been shown to help prevent the growth of bad bacteria whose waste may cause chronic health problems.

Optimal digestion is important to ensure the breakdown and utilization of nutrients properly, therefore the digestive tract plays a crucial role in immunity. While a horse's lifestyle factors are important, the health of their immune system could also be based on the health of the gut. When choosing supplements for a horse with gastrointestinal issues or immune deficiencies, be sure to choose products that have been proven safe and efficacious for horses to prevent unwanted side effects.



Biotic 8™ Plus aids the gastrointestinal system, specifically the stomach and hindgut by soothing the gut and by providing natural anti-inflammatory relief (bioflavonoids are used for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits). Biotic 8™ Plus helps to promote a healthy digestive tract and maintain a healthier gut flora as it contains 16.5 billion CFUs* per one scoop. This formula is a source of 9 different types of probiotics (8 species of bacteria and Saccharomyces Boulardii). Biotic 8™ Plus is unique in its delivery mechanism as it ensures survivability of bacteria from stomach acid. It uses GI botanicals (marshmallow root and slippery elm) that soothes and supports the gut, as well as prebiotics that support the helpful bacteria. This formulation also contains enzymes to increase absorption from food nutrients.


The immune system -- the body's defense against disease--is one of the most complex systems in the horse, consisting of an elaborate set of cells and cell mediators that respond to external factors such as stress, exercise, stage of life, and challenges from pathogens. A healthy functioning immune system is important for a horse's overall general health and their demeanor, skin and coat, digestion, etc. can all benefit from maintaining immunity to disease and illness. 

Healthy Horse™ is a 4-in-1 product combination of Hemex™, Immune Plus™, Lung Flush® and Liver Flush® in one convenient formula that may increase energy levels of the horse through aiding the natural detoxification processes, stimulating immune functions and supporting healthy red blood cell (RBC) levels. It also supports normal liver and lung functions. Healthy Horse™ is a unique synergistic formula which contains 26 botanicals that have phytonutrients and trace minerals in order to support the overall health of a horse.

Immune Plus™ is another immune supporting formulation that is an herbal concentrate of: Astragalus, Echinacea, Ashwagandha, Ginseng, and Reishi Mushroom. These herbs are known to support and help increase the number of leukocytes and splenocytes, as well as the activity of granulocytes, T-lymphocyte and phagocytes. The botanicals are used to stimulate the natural killer T cell and interleukin systems, thus increasing the body’s ability to resist and endure environmental stress.

Immunity is best supported as a preventive program dependent on the environment, activity, age and herd immunity status. Whether it is one or a combination of these Omega Alpha® products, they can be used proactively in aiding a horse's digestive pathways and enhancing their natural immune system with the synergistic effects of the botanicals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.