How Spring Grass Affects Your Horse’s Hindgut
While we're all doing a happy dance for longer days and warmer weather, sometimes spring grass can be a literal pain in the gut for horses.
An influx of spring grass (and it’s high sugar content) causes rapid fermentation in the horse’s hindgut. This dysbiosis can cause digestive issues like colic and ulcers and systemic issues like laminitis.
It may also cause unusual behaviours like wood chewing and ring barking as the horse seeks to add more fiber to their diet.
Why is green, spring grass such a problem?
As the weather warms up & growing conditions improve, lush spring grass blooms with a much higher sugar and water content.
Green, lush grass also has a lower fiber content than hay or mature, winter grasses.
Delicious as it may be, this combination creates the perfect storm for vulnerable equine digestive systems and the introduction to spring grass should be managed carefully.
In order to safely introduce your horse to the delights of greener grass, here are a few management strategies to implement.
- Gradually increase the amount of turnout each day. Start with 30 minutes on the first day and increase by 30 minutes each day thereafter.
- Generously feed hay prior to turnout. This will help diminish any ravenous ‘gorging’ behaviour. It also has the added benefit of buffering the gut with a lower sugar, higher fibre alternative before the addition of sugary spring grass.
- Continue to offer ample hay during turnout. This will provide the horse with fiber and decrease the likelihood of fibre seeking behaviours like wood chewing.
- Consider medicating with AbSucralfate. This can be especially useful for situations where you may not be able to limit turnout as vigilantly as you might like.
How Can Sucralfate Help Horses With Spring Grass
Sucralfate creates a protective coating along the surface of the hindgut. It is a wonderful way to proactively prevent hindgut acidosis & other gut disturbances caused by microbiome imbalance.
For best results dose 60 minutes prior to turnout. Repeat at 6-8 hour intervals as required.
Shop for AbSucralfate here.