by Robo Hendrickson

Using Probiotics With Antibiotics

Using Probiotics With Antibiotics

The definition of Antibiotic is: a medicine (such as penicillin or its derivatives) that inhibits the growth of, or destroys microorganisms.

And when your horse has a bad or unnatural microorganism (bugs) causing problems (infection) you’re glad that we have discovered antibiotics.

Unless you’re a very new horse owner, chances are that at one point or another, your horse has been on a course of antibiotics.

Simply stated, horses get hurt. They step on nails, rip their skin on branches, fencing and other obstacles and they get bitten by other horses.

And when these things happen, infections can occur. And when infections occur, we reach for antibiotic.

However, this often life-saving miracle does the job without prejudice - it destroys the good and the bad microorganisms. This can throw off the natural balance of the microbiome (Flora) off.

What that means is that an antibiotic doesn’t just target the bacteria that can cause a harmful infection; it can also work against the beneficial bacteria in your horse’s gut.

And a sure sign that the balance between bad and good microbes is off - is diarrhea.

We like to say that if your horse has a good, solid apple, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re healthy, but if they have diarrhea, they damn sure have something bad going on.

That’s when you need probiotic - a substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties (such as those of the intestinal flora).

Modern research methods and more focus on the science of microorganisms are revealing some really amazing things. They’ve discovered that the microbiome, the protective barrier us mammals have floating on top of our skin and in our GI tract, is WAY more important to our overall health than was ever imagined.

In fact, the microbiome in the gut may account for 70% to 80% of our total immune system!

So when the natural balance of your microbiome is thrown off by the use of antibiotics, giving it a boost with probiotics will help decrease the chance of your horse getting diarrhea.

If my horse has been on antibiotic, when should I start using probiotic? 

Most probiotic on the market are bacteria strains. These strains cannot survive during antibiotic use.

FullBucket uses a yeast-based strain called Sacchoromyces boulardii. As yeast, the antibiotic you’re giving your horse does not have an adverse affect on the probiotic.

Not only is this strain the most clinically studied and proven strain of probiotic, but also it’s ability to help fight diarrhea is well documented.

Are probiotics helpful with anything else or just diarrhea caused by antibiotics? 

You’ve probably seen advertisements on television, in magazines or online that tout probiotic yogurt to help with your digestion.

Probiotics work in the same way for your horse.

Probiotics provide a good medium for the helpful bacteria in your horse’s gut. And, it is considerably less hospitable to harmful bacteria growth.

This means that the beneficial bacteria in the hindgut continue to flourish, while the antibiotics continue to work on the harmful bacteria.

Once again S. boulardii, the yeast based strain of probiotic used as our core probiotic, promotes the growth of the positive intestinal tract flora.

This strain of yeast has been studied a lot and has been shown to improve digestion and your horse’s ability to get nutrients out of the expensive feed you’re scooping out.

This yeast is particularly beneficial for senior horses that have lost some of their ability to absorb certain essential nutrients in their large intestine and need additional help with maintaining weight.

Should I use a paste or powder?

It depends on your horse and their eating habits. Some horses, especially when they are sick, either eat less or even go off feed completely.

For these instances you definately want to use the paste. That way you're sure that they are getting the proper dosage.

For horses who are eating well, the granules placed on top of feed work fine

What if the probiotic doesn't help with the diarrhea issues in my horse?

If diarrhea persists, first action is to contact your veterinarian. Make sure that something else isn't going on. It may require lab workup to find out what is happening in the gut, but the peace of mind is worth the small price. 

If the diarrhea is bad, you can also use the Anti-diarrhea drench paste. This product consists of 6 different solutions in one tube. Smectite clay to naturally help remove pathogens, probiotic to help get the GI tract back on track, probiotic to feed the good microbes, L

The Final Word If your horse is on a course of antibiotics, you want to protect the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, so you should offer a probiotic as a supplement.

The probiotic should also be continued once the horse is no longer taking the antibiotic.

For that matter, probiotics can help your horse’s overall health even in less difficult circumstances, but when a course of antibiotics is being administered or has just been discontinued, use of a probiotic supplement is more important than ever. For more information, go to our products page to learn more.


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