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Equine Faecal Test For Gut Imbalances (Acidosis)


Acidosis, Lush Grass, and Laminitis


Though the exact mechanism of why spring/autumn grass causes laminitis isn’t known, there are many good explanations, theories, and published literature as to the why and how. Those relating to the onset of grass/laminitis/acidosis are explored below whilst the triggering of laminitis by grass in horses with insulin dysregulation is described in the test for EMS.


Contributing factors.

Altered or increased fermentation of rapidly digestible starch, sugar, and fructans contained in lush grass. The effect of such an increase produces an escalation in lactic acid production, a change in the microbial population, and a chronic or acute reduction in the pH of the hindgut that results in acidosis and laminitis.


Acidosis Starch Overload

Acidosis is a particular state defined by a low pH in the hindgut, it can be also caused by high-starch meals given predominantly to sport/competition horses and is common in thoroughbred racehorse feeding practices. Though racehorses rarely get full-blown laminitis, acidosis causes increased digital pulses, sore feet, lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, hindgut ulceration, and poor performance syndrome.

In chronic cases of acidosis, the gut wall is weakened allowing for the leakage of toxins and pathogenic bacteria to translocate over the gut wall, creating other health problems in organs far away from the gut, and triggering a state of low-grade systemic inflammation and lactic acid buildup in muscles.


Acidosis caused by incomplete digestion of starch (from grains) rather than from lush grass, occurs frequently in racehorses some grains such as maize and corn, digest quicker than others and cause a more rapid increase in lactic acid. Though not common outside of the thoroughbred industry both grains can be found in some sports and showing horse rations and for vulnerable horses these are best avoided.

Equine Faecal Test For Gut Imbalances (Acidosis)

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