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Equine Stress Awareness Month

Horses experience stress every day

Horses are continually exposed to environmental and situational stressors – ranging from pathogens and parasites to diet and temperature changes. Repeated exposure to any of these everyday stressors can lead to small challenges that, if ignored, can turn into more significant health and performance issues.

Week 4: Environmental and Situational Stress

Environmental and situational stressors include everything from pests and extreme weather to travel, trailering and vet visits. These stress-inducing events can have a large impact on the health and wellbeing of your horse and have a direct impact on gut health and intestinal integrity.

Speaking of environmental stress, let’s talk about the extreme HEAT we are experiencing across the country. Now more than ever, it is extremely important to keep heat stress top of mind. Check out these resources to learn how to protect your horse from environmental and situational stress this season!

EquiSUMMIT Presentation: Heat Stress

Dr. Michael Lindinger

Heat Stress Resource Poster
Chromium, Heat Stress and Your Horse

Week 3: Health and Diet Stress

This week’s focus is health and diet stress. Did you know that simple diet changes can stress your horse, and that the quality of feeds and forages can also make an impact? It’s critical to keep a close eye on what and how you’re feeding in order to mitigate potential negative effects. A high-quality diet that is free from contaminants can help give your horse the nutrients it needs, but also support gut health, immunity, and so much more! 

There are different methods and strategies that you can take to avoid health and diet stress, or to minimize their impact when they do occur. Making sure that you have a balanced, forage-based diet is a very important step in minimizing diet stress. You might also consider feeding a gut health supplement or a probiotic to strengthen the intestinal barrier.

Check out these resources

EquiSUMMIT Presentation: The Importance of a Forage-First Diet

Dr. Stephen Duren

EquiTALK: Eye on High Quality Forages

EquiSUMMIT - Feeding Forages 101
EquiSUMMIT - Ingredients 101

Dealing with Long-Term Storage of Bagged Feed

Millions of dollars in retail profit are lost each year due to returned feed. This is a shame because the two main issues related to bagged feed quality can be avoided with a good mold inhibitor and an effective antioxidant program. Mold and offensive odors are the first indication of poor feed quality. So, how do feed manufacturers ensure their retail partners do not face angry customers with feed quality issues?

Week 2: Metabolic and Performance Stress

Performance and metabolic stress is not something foreign to many horse owners. Whether it is a form of metabolic stress such as obesity, insulin resistance or PPID or a performance-related stressor such as training, injuries or the chaotic schedules for a show horse, stress is inevitable.

Stress has a tremendous impact on the health and performance of the horse. When under stress, horses release cortisol (a stress hormone), which may result in aggressive behavior, suppression of the immune system and increased risk of gastric ulcers, colic or diarrhea from damage to the gut and microbiome. Metabolic disorders such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Cushing's (PPID) put a large amount of stress on the horse as well. 

Metabolic and Performance Stress Resources

EquiSUMMIT Presentation: Equine Metabolic Syndrome and PPID (Cushing)

Dr. Philip Johnson

Horses In The Morning Podcast: Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Cushing (PPID)

KemTRACE Chromium for Equine - Glycogen
The Interconnectivity of Laminitis, Ins...
How Chromium, Stress, Insulin and Lamin...

Week 1: Become Stress Aware

Each week in August, we will be highlighting a new category of equine stressors that should be top of mind for all equine enthusiasts. We'll include information about causes of stress, potential impacts, mitigation strategies and more. Stay tuned to better equip your horse to face the inevitable stressors that occur every day. 

How does stress impact my horse?

Stress can result in damage to the tight junctions of the intestinal lining which are an important barrier between harmful pathogens and the bloodstream. A "leak" into the bloodstream will cause intestinal inflammation, resulting in various systemic problems for your horse.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is one way that stress hurts your horse's health. Stress is often connected to other impactful issues such as inflammation, laminitis, colic and ulcers as well. Check out the resources below to learn about stress and how it could be impacting your horse: 

The Horse: It's All Connected

How Stress and Leaky Gut are Related

Dr. Lance Baumgard

Equine Stress Wheel for Chromiumg

What can you do about stress?

The best way to take a proactive approach or help minimize the impact of stress is through good nutrition, proper management and attention to gut health. Feeding nutrients that support gut health can help mitigate the everyday "slow leak" and improve your horse's health and wellbeing.

Kemin has been a proactive leader within the gut health industry. But using decades of scientific research, thorough testing and customer feedback, Kemin created a product platform to help equine owners support gut health and performance:

ButiPEARL® Z EQ: A combined organic acid and nutrient that promotes intestinal barrier strength

KemTRACE® Chromium: A highly bioavailable, organic source of chromium that helps improve glucose utilization and reduce the negative impacts of stress

CLOSTAT®: Contains PB6, a naturally-occurring probiotic that inhibits pathogen growth and restores microbial balance

Aleta: A 1,3-beta glucan that supports immune function

Buy Now Page


Additional Resources

EquiSUMMIT - Leaky Gut Syndrome
Stress and Cortisol Connection

Alterations in Intestinal Permeability: The Role of the "Leaky Gut" in Health and Disease

Dr. Liara Gonzalez, North Carolina State University

Managing Stress Through Functional Nutrition

Dr. Jyme Nichols, Feed Room Chemist Podcast


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