Helen and Otto
Otto, a 14-year-old Arab gelding, has had various physical issues over the years and his owner McTimoney Animal Chiropractor Helen Jacks-Hewett has always taken a holistic approach to improve his health.
In 2009 Otto had laminitis and was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). This marked the start of a series of challenges for Otto including muscle myopathy, unexplained high temperatures and colic. He struggled with poor hoof quality and would often look bloated, his weight was also difficult to keep under control. Over the years Helen found that Otto would show the most improvements when his gut health was targeted though various supplements and feeding practices.
In September 2018, Helen heard about EquiBiome through its sister company Phytorigins; she was already using one of their supplement products for one of her other horses. Helen already knew there was a link between Otto’s problems and gut health so was keen to find out more about what was going on inside his hind gut – the test would be another piece of the jigsaw.
The sample was returned and the test report which followed showed that Otto had a low level of diversity in his hind gut with only around 500 species of bacteria (the average healthy horse has around 1000-1500 different species). His gut was unbalanced and the test also identified high levels of the bad bacteria known as spirochetes. The test report recommended that to boost diversity and reduce the spirochetes Otto needed a variety of herbs in his diet to help boost species diversity and he subsequently started on the appropriate Biome Food to help reduce spirochetes.
Helen said: “Following Otto’s EquiBiome Test and the changes I have made to his diet he hasn’t had any further bouts of colic and I have been able to give him restricted access to grass again. The biggest change though is his weight has stabilised, he is leaner, not bloated and his droppings are more consistent with less liquid, plus his feet are also more settled. His core strength has improved and he is now back in light work following recovery from a knee injury.
“In January 2019 I did a re-test and his hind gut biodiversity had improved to 750 species, which is amazing and indicates things are moving in the right direction. Best of all the spirochete levels have dropped and I have a more settled and healthier horse.
“As a McTimoney Animal Chiropractor I am strongly aware of the relationship between gut health and musculoskeletal comfort, therefore I have also recommended the test to some of my clients to help build a broader picture of their horses’ overall health. It is important for people to understand that the EquiBiome Test Kit is a part of the puzzle and helps to remove the guess work. It isn’t a cure but can be a highly valuable tool alongside veterinary and dietary advice. So many issues are linked to the gut and I am learning more about gut health all the time, it is absolutely fascinating.”
Helen can be contacted via her Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/hjhmctimoneyanimalchiropractic/