While testing and experiments in horse flatulence may be somewhat of an odd topic to go on about, it’s something that’s very important when you look at the healthy, happy life of a horse. Erol Baytok and Kanber Kara are with Turkey’s Department of Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Diseases through the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine located at Erciyes University, who have recently studied the topic of horse flatulence and the laxative feed supplement psyllium.
Why is Psyllium Important for a Horse?
To begin, psyllium is from the husks and the seeds of the species of Plantago. It has multiple beneficial uses for a number of reasons, such as forming a bulk laxative in humans and horses alike, for example. Overall, it promotes regular bowel movements without the increase of flatulence.
When it comes to testing and experiments in horse flatulence, psyllium is called upon more often than not because it supports healthy bowel movements in horses and helps to prevent constipation. This is especially beneficial to horses who have poor health as a result of advanced constipation and need a solution that will not cause major flatulence. Therefore, Baytok and Kara decided to run tests and see how psyllium incorporated into a horse’s diet fares when it comes to methane emissions.
The Findings of Baytok and Kara
First of all, Baytok and Kara noted a research study that took place in 1986 that found that horses produced up to 3% of global animal-derived methane emissions, which they then built their study on. Secondly, they found that 50% to 60% of all animal-derived methane emissions came from livestock and agriculture, mostly consisting of emissions from beef cattle, dairy cattle, and beef cattle.
Because horses are producing approximately 18 kilograms of methane each year, which is further compared to the average of 45 kilograms produced by dairy cattle at the same annual rate, they, therefore, determined that methane emissions produced by horses can be further assessed by incorporating psyllium.
This was done through adding 5 grams per 1 kilogram of dry food, then repeating this experiment with higher doses, including 10 and 20 grams into kilograms of dry food, as time went by. From there the total methane production could then be fully determined and analyzed, which also included the digestion of organic matter, the presence of short-chain fatty acids, pH values, ammonia nitrogen, and metabolisable energy.
They then found that the added psyllium decreased horse’s methane production by at least 35%, but it had an impact on their organic matter digestion, short-chain fatty acids, and metabolisable energy levels. However, it did not influence the pH balance or nitrogen levels.
However, Baytok and Kara concluded that the long-term use of psyllium in a horse’s diet will bring on more negative than positive effects through short-chain fatty acid, metabolisable energy, and gas production values.
The Health of Horses
Testing and experiments in horse flatulence are important to the health of horses overall, with this study in particular shedding light on the argument of whether or not psyllium is actually beneficial. Their study has been published further in the Journal of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Istanbul University.
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