Getting to the Bottom of Equine Stomachaches

When we get stomachaches, they are inconvenient. They can happen frequently, especially depending on what we eat or if we’re stressed out. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat a stomachache, including a cup of chamomile tea, rice water, warm lemon water, fennel seeds, and the old standby (if you’re not going the au natural route) Pepto-Bismol. Horses, however, are not so lucky when it comes to stomachaches; for horses, a stomachache can be fatal.

All over the country and the world, much research is being done regarding stomachaches and horses. The University of Delaware and its Equine Microbiome Project can be considered the leader in this field. According to the UDaily and Amy Biddle, assistant professor of animal and food sciences, “Horses’ digestive systems are very sensitive to changes, stress or diet. And as we’re learning in the human microbiome, there is a constant conversation between the gun microbes and the host but there hasn’t been a large scale effort to understand those conversations and those relationships in horses.”

As any horse owner can tell you, equine stomachaches are a very scary thing and any research that will help us understand that more is good. So far, the Equine Microbiome Project has sent out 36 kits to various states and horse owners so they can send samples of their horses’ DNA. The DNA will be used for sequencing and the Project will then group the horses by age, gender, breed, geographic location, diet, exercise and stress level. With this wealth of information, the Project wants to answer the following question, “What the “normal” gut microbiome is for healthy horses and if the gut microbiome changes as horses age.”

The Equine Microbiome Project is doing good work and Deer Creek Structures supports their research. We must get to the bottom of equine stomachaches.