FAQs

Please find a range of FAQs on this page, if your question is not answered do not hesitate to contact us and one of our Technical Advisors will be more than happy to help.

Please email us on info@equinepremium.com or call us on +44 (0) 1460 243 230.


What is a probiotic?

Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

How do probiotics work?

Probiotics have been shown to work by the following mechanisms:

  • Competition for nutrients

Within the gut, beneficial as well as pathogenic microorganisms will be utilising the same types of nutrients. This results in a general competition between microorganisms for these nutrients. When a probiotic is administered there is an overall reduction in nutrients available for pathogenic bacteria and consequently this minimises the levels of pathogenic microorganisms.

  • Competition for adhesion sites

Probiotics can attach to the gut wall and form colonies at various sites throughout the gut. This prevents pathogenic bacteria from gaining a foothold, resulting in their expulsion from the body.

  • Improvement in digestion

Probiotics have been shown to increase the efficiency of digestion.  In horses this centres around the improvement of fibre digestion in the hind gut, which is essential for gastrointestinal and general health.

  • Effect on immunity

Probiotics have been shown to increase the levels of cell-signalling chemicals and the effectiveness of infection-fighting cells (white blood cells).

What makes a good probiotic?

Safety - the microorganism chosen must be non-pathogenic and non-toxic. Within the EU all probiotics must be registered for use in an individual animal species. For example, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (NCYC Sc47) 4b1702 is registered for use in horses.

Viability - the microorganisms within a probiotic product should remain viable during their storage. The probiotics should also be able to pass safely through the stomach so that they can colonise the gut. A good freeze-drying process will enable the product to be stored at room temperature throughout the duration of its shelf life. 

Sufficient numbers - the concentration of a probiotic must be such that inclusion rates provide a beneficial effect.

Quality assurance - when manufacturing probiotic products, high quality standards and processes are imperative. This ensures that the product meets label specifications and is also effective and safe to use.

Do the probiotics survive the very acidic conditions of the stomach?

All Protexin probiotics have been shown to survive the high acidity of stomach acid which allows them to reach the small intestine where they can find sites to grow.

Do your products support the hind gut?

Yes absolutely! The hind gut provides an excellent environment for microorganisms and consequently this is where the microbiota is most highly concentrated. Hind gut conditions, such as acidosis, are closely linked with an imbalance in the microbiota. Probiotics have been shown to increase the numbers of ‘good’ microorganisms, promoting a healthy hind gut, and healthy horse.

Can probiotics be used at the same time as antibiotics?

Yes, evidence shows that taking a probiotic at the same time as an antibiotic can reduce the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. The probiotic will not affect the efficacy of the antibiotic.

Are there any side effects associated with the use of probiotics? Can you give too much?

There are no side effects associated with the use of probiotics. All EU-registered probiotics have to pass stringent safety trials before being approved for use in each species. It is not possible to give too great a quantity of probiotics as any excess will simply pass out in the faeces.

How do probiotics help horses that have been wormed?

Anthelmintic products (wormers) are used regularly to keep a horse worm-free. Wormers can disrupt the microbiota causing a temporary dysbiosis (imbalance). A short course of probiotics before, during and after the worming regime can restore the healthy normal flora. For more information see our factsheet.

What is a prebiotic?

A prebiotic is a non-digestible carbohydrate (complex sugar) which acts as a food source for beneficial bacteria in the microbiota and therefore stimulates their growth. Preplex® prebiotic is exclusive to Protexin and consists of Fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) and Acacia (Gum arabic). This dual source prebiotic is of benefit across a larger area of the gut compared to a single source prebiotic.

What is the microbiota?

The microbiota consists of various bacteria, protozoa and yeasts. These are distributed throughout the length of the gut and coexist in a symbiotic (mutual) relationship in the healthy animal.

What is dysbiosis?

Dysbiosis is when there is a microbial imbalance on or within the body.

What can cause dysbiosis?

The main causes of dysbiosis include:

  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Intestinal pathogens
  • Poor or inappropriate diet
  • Rapid dietary change
  • Worming
  • Stress (e.g. travel and competiting)
  • Life-stage (e.g. weaning and old age)

The most common symptoms associated with dysbiosis are diarrhoea, colic and altered appetite but increasingly there is evidence linking a dysbiosis in the gut with a huge range of clinical conditions including laminitis and EMS.

When should I choose Acid Ease instead of Gut Balancer?

Acid Ease contains the same probiotic and prebiotics found in Gut Balancer, alongside a combination of calcium and magnesium carbonate, fibre, kaolin and amino acids which together act to buffer excess acid and soothe the gut lining. Acid Ease is suitable to calm excess acid in all horses and weaned foals.

Can I give Acid Ease and Omeprazole together?

Yes it is safe to give Acid Ease alongside a pharmaceutical such as omeprazole.  

Can I give Acid Ease long term?

Yes, Acid Ease is safe to use to support optimal gastrointestinal pH for long periods.  The dose can be reduced to the maintenance level for long term use.  

Can I give Acid Ease and Gut Balancer together?

Acid Ease contains a high concentration of probiotic organisms which should be sufficient for most horses. However, for additional probiotic support Gut Balancer can safely be given alongside Acid Ease.

Do Protexin products require any special storage methods?

We would recommend that Protexin products are stored in dry, clean conditions, out of direct sunlight and kept sealed once the original container has been opened in order to exclude moisture and thermal decomposition. The shelf life of Protexin products, if stored at room temperature, is 2 years (24 months).