The Importance of Equine Gut Health

It's well established that a healthy gut leads to a healthier animal. Equine gut health is achieved by understanding the interactions of the gut components and how it relates to strengthening intestinal integrity, diversifying the population of microbes to respond to challenges and reduce inflammation and supporting immune function. Together, these factors create a foundation for optimal health and performance.

Effects of Poor Gut Health in Horses

  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased performance
  • Decreased energy
  • "Bad" behavior
  • Gastrointestinal imbalance
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Gastric ulcerations

Equine Intestinal Integrity

Maintaining equine gut health and intestinal integrity means managing the strength of the intestinal barrier to maximize nutrient absorption, while preventing harmful parasites, pathogens, enzymes, acids and toxins from infecting the body. A horse's gut is lined by a single layer of epithelial cells that serve to facilitate digestion and absorption of nutrients, while also acting as a barrier to invading microorganisms, toxins and dietary antigens. Therefore, an optimal intestinal barrier is vital to achieving long-term equine health and maintenance.1

Tight junction proteins are one of the key components of regulating intestinal permeability. These tight junctions are crucial for the integrity of the epithelial barrier and the separation of these tight junctions leads to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier (i.e. leaky gut), allowing for harmful molecules and compounds to pass through. Using Kemin Gut Health Solutions products like ButiPEARL Z EQ and CLOSTAT® will help promote these functions along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

ButiPEARL Z EQ is an encapsulated source of butyric acid and zinc meant to upregulate the expression of tight junction proteins in the intestines and increase antioxidant levels to improve horse gut health by healing the GI tract. ButiPEARL Z EQ uses the company's proprietary MicroPEARLS® spray freezing technology to encapsulate butyric acid and zinc. Butyric acid and zinc play an important role in key biological processes affecting the health and performance of production animals. Butyric acid plays a pivotal role in many key biological processes, increases microbial diversity and upregulates tight junction proteins in the intestines.2,3 Zinc, an essential nutrient promoting villi growth, improves gut function and helps boost animal performance.

Understanding Microbial Compositions

A microbial balance is diversifying the population of microbes to promote healthy microflora in the GI tract. Many factors impact bacterial populations, which can ultimately cause harm to the host. The intestinal microbiota within a horse contributes to several physiological functions such as digestion and absorption, regulation of energy homeostasis, prevention of mucosal infections and modulation of the immune system. The GI tract microbiota prevents colonization of potentially harmful pathogenic microorganisms, provides energy for the GI tract wall from undigested nutrients and regulates the mucosal immune system by means of immune stimulators.4

Kemin created the gut health product CLOSTAT to better promote microbial compositions and support horse gut health. CLOSTAT contains a proprietary, patented strain of Bacillus subtilis PB6 to help maintain the balance of microflora. PB6 has been proven to help develop a natural defense against harmful bacteria. Kemin identified and selected PB6 as a unique, naturally occurring, spore-forming microorganism that has inhibitory activity against Clostridium spp. and reduces intestinal health issues.5

Protecting Immune Functions to Improve Horse Gut Health

Protecting immune functions involves responding to immunity challenges and reducing inflammation. Up to 70 percent of the immune response resides in the GI tract. Stimulation of the immune system may result in the animal's health potential being reduced. Feeding a diet that fails to provide adequate amounts of these essential nutrients will immune-compromise the animal.

Additional Stressors for a Compromised Gut

There are several stressors in daily life that can compromise equine gut health internally and externally, such as:

  • Infections
  • Forage quality and consistency
  • Feed quality
  • Management and environmental factors
  • Weaning
  • Diets high in grain, not enough forage
  • Stress of training, travel/lodging and showing/eventing
  • Socialization and regrouping
  • Heat stress

Each stressor has an overall total impact on the animal, so it's important to manage these factors efficiently to improve horse gut health.

Kemin Gut Health Solutions for Equine

The overall health and happiness of the animal are indicators of good equine gut health. Kemin works every day to help achieve these goals by creating products and other equine gut health solutions through dedicated research. By working with veterinarians, nutritionists and producers to implement their findings and provide continued support throughout product use, Kemin will continue to make equine gut health a priority.


Kemin Gut Health Solutions: Raising the Bar In Equine Nutrition

Kemin equine is raising the bar in equine nutrition. Since our founding in 1961, Kemin has strived to improve the health and performance of animals worldwide. Kemin brings a spirit of science and innovation to the equine performance market with key products to enhance gut health.

Equine Gut Health: Why is it Important?

There is a general consensus that a healthy gut leads to a healthy animal with optimal performance. Understanding the interactions between these interrelated components of the gut is what cumulatively makes the gut the basis for the health and performance of the horse. This interactive brochure provides a deeper look at gut health in general, its definition, contributing factors and why gut health is vital. For additional information, flip through our interactive brochure below.

Click to Read

Kemin Gut Health Solutions for Equine

Since 2013, the Kemin Gut Health Solutions platform has played a key role and focus has changed the health in many animals worldwide. In 2015, we introduced our platform into the equine industry and continue to be on the forefront of innovative research. For more information, download the PDF.

ButiPEARL Z EQ Mode of Action

ButiPEARL Z EQ is an encapsulated source of butyric acid and zinc. This mode of action will explain key factors impacting gut health and the benefits of having two powerful nutrients as a combination. To learn more about the ButiPEARL Z EQ mode of action, click here.

CLOSTAT® Mode of Action

CLOSTAT is a direct fed microbial containing a proprietary, patented strain of Bacillus subtilis PB6. PB6 is a unique, naturally occurring, spore-forming microorganism. To learn more about how CLOSTAT works, download the mode of action.

Kemin Helps Customers Avoid Risk by Focusing on Traceability, Quality Measures

The Kemin Des Moines, Iowa, manufacturing facility is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) by earning and maintaining the Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC) 22000. For more information, download the PDF.

Commitment to Quality and Food Safety

Since earning the prestigious Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognition at its Des Moines, Iowa, manufacturing facility in February 2013, Kemin Industries remains a leader in the production of safe, quality ingredients. The recognition reinforces the company's investment in human and financial capital to enhance existing conditions and processes, verifying its products are safe, efficient and effective until they reach the end consumer. Kemin also has the FSSC 22000 certification, recognized by GFSI, which is accepted by food manufacturers worldwide.

Contact our Equine Division Sales Manager for pricing or additional product information:

Cody Swan
Equine Division Sales Manager



1Stewart, Amy Stiler, Pratt-Phillips, Shannon, Gonzalez, Liara M. (2017). Alterations of Intestinal Permeability: The Role of the "Leaky Gut" in Health and Disease. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 52(2017):10-22.

2Katouli, M. et al. 1999. The effect of zinc oxide supplementation on the stability of the intestinal flora with special reference to composition of coliforms in weaned pigs. J. of Applied Microbiology. 87:564-573.

3Zhang, B. et al. 2012. Zinc prevents Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-induced loss of intestinal mucosal barrier function in broiler chickens. Avian Pathology. 41:361-367.

4Celi, Pietro. The growing importance of defining gut "health" in animal nutrition and health. J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 94, E-Suppl. 5/J. Dairy Sci. Vol. 99, E-Suppl. 1. 2016.

5U.S. Patent 7,247,299.