Until Freedom was diagnosed with Lyme I hadn’t given much thought to probiotics as a supplement. But dosing him with Doxycyline for six weeks had the potential of causing ulcers . . . or colic. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in a horse’s gut and it’s important to replace them.
So, off I went to SmartPak to check the clearance section. It’s my favorite place to purchase any kind of supplement since I don’t care about damaged packaging or other small defects.
Sure enough, they had a large container of SmartDigest Ultra at 50% off. This was a supplement that normally costs $212 for 7.5 pounds! I read the description:
SmartDigest Ultra provides support for the entire gastrointestinal tract, from stomach to hindgut! Its unique formula includes probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, targeted herbs, L-Glutamine, soluble fiber, and Oat Beta Glucan. This innovative combination of ingredients was specially designed to support the health and function of the digestive tract. SmartDigest Ultra is an outstanding choice for any horse prone to digestive upset and those under stress from training, travel and competition.
It had to be the best way to protect Freedom’s delicate digestive system, so I bought it.
He came through his course of antibiotics without any problems and I still had a huge amount of the probiotic in the tub. So I’ve kept feeding it. You actually use only one small scoop per day, so 7.5 pounds lasts a long time.
A few weeks ago, I noticed an unexpected — and positive — side effect. Freedom has gained weight. In the late summer/early fall he had been looking ribby. Now, looking past his furry winter coat, he’s a really good weight! I’m feeding him a bit less that I usually do and he’s holding his weight very nicely, something that’s not always a given during the winter.
So, I guess the probiotics are actually helping his digestive system to get more nutrition from his rations. He’s looking really good too — shiny and healthy.
I wasn’t planning to purchase more when I used up the bucket, but I’m reconsidering. After all, if I find it on sale again, it’s not quite so expensive and I after all, I’m saving money on the rest of his feed.