A retrospective study of in situ and in vitro considerations in horse nutrition management.
Wiid, Catherine Lorna.
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The current changes occurring in equine feeding management to meet performance demands, do not take into consideration the repercussions on the digestive tract. The aim of this investigation was to determine the linkage between nutrient intake, gastro-intestinal pH and gut mucosa, the impact on digestibility with changes in nutrient intake, age and mucosal damage and whether the current IVGPT protocol is an accurate reflection of in vivo digestibility. Post mortem work was carried out on samples of 27 sport and leisure horses shot for mechanical failure and financial reasons for an in silico analysis of nutrient intake and digestibility. A relationship was found between stomach ulceration and gut pH. There is no correlation between ulceration and digestibility but rather between nutrient density and digestibility. This shows that by increasing the concentrate portion of the feed may improve performance but has health impacts on the horse. IVGPT experiments were also conducted with faecal inoculum of race and idle horses over 3 buffer pH levels using maize and Lucerne as substrates. The results showed the significance (P<0.001) of buffer pH levels across treatments which indicates that fermentation protocols in equine IVGPT need to adjust buffer pH from 7.2 to 6.5.