When the weather gets hot, we often think about hydration and electrolyte replenishment but how often do we think about gut heath and what is going on in our horse’s gastrointestinal tract? Many people who participate in intense exercise are familiar with runner’s stomach or exercise induced gastrointestinal syndrome (EIGS) that results from impaired gastrointestinal function due to injury to the intestinal cells. The intestines become hyperpermeable and possibly endotoxemia results from the die off of bacteria in the colon. This plays out as cramps, bloating, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Evidence shows that these gastrointestinal issues are exacerbated during exertional-heat stress or undertaking intense exercise during hot weather.
In pigs, heat stress is known to induce inflammation, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and oxidative stress straining intestinal integrity. Longer term heat stress impacts intestinal mechanisms involved in the absorption of nutrients. In Sturgeon fish, heat stress causes systematic damage to the intestines leading to inflammation of the gut wall and proliferation of heat stable intestinal pathogens.
Your horse is not exempt from the impacts of heat stress on gastrointestinal health and function. It’s not uncommon to see horses going off feed in hot weather and loosing weight and this is likely due directly to the negative impacts of heat on their digestive function.
In other livestock species such as lambs, research has shown that feeding bentonite clay during heat stress actually improves weight gain, feed utilization, blood glucose characteristics as well as the structure of the small intestine. Work in pigs has shown that bentonite may reduce the oxidative stress on intestinal tissue. Bentonite is also known to bind toxins preventing them from entering the bloodstream which could be of benefit in the event of endotoxemia.
Did You Know:
One way that bentonite achieves these benefits is by supporting the development of longer villi in the small intestine. Villi are the finger like projections that line the small intestine. They serve to increase the surface area available for the secretion of digestive enzymes and absorption of the end products of the enzymatic digestive processes.
Show Horse Conditioning Salt supports your equine partner in all weathers but in particular during the hot summer months. With the sodium chloride salt, Show Horse Conditioning Salt will help stimulate thirst and keep your horse drinking and hydrated while the human grade bentonite clay supports a robust gastrointestinal lining and protects against the negative impacts of potential toxins. Together these two ingredients work to help your horse handle the stresses associated with the hot summer months and to maintain peak condition while giving you peace of mind.