Due to the difficulty to predict the occurrence of mycotoxins in your horse’s diet, it is advised to add a broad-spectrum mycotoxin binder to your horse’s diet, which simply binds the mycotoxins and passes them through the digestive tract, exiting with the manure.
Certain fungi found on fresh pasture grasses, conserved roughage (hay and straw) and in grains can produce secondary compounds called mycotoxins. Several types of mycotoxins exist which may interact, especially under favourable environmental conditions, such as in warm and humid climates (as well as in improperly stored feeds). Mycotoxins may contaminate feeds or grains and are hard to detect due to their odourless, tasteless and invisible presence.
The horse’s digestive system is sensitive to the effects of mycotoxins, as the gastric juices in the stomach cannot effectively deactivate the mycotoxins and these therefore enter the sensitive small intestine and hindgut. Once mycotoxins reach the hindgut they may affect the intestinal wall or enter the horse’s blood stream, which can result in respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological and reproductive issues.
Even though symptoms are usually non-specific, associated clinical signs with the existence of mycotoxins in horse’s diet include:
- Poor condition (weight loss)
- Reduced performance
- Suppressed appetite
- Respiratory diseases
- Gastrointestinal diseases (e.g. colic)
- Reproductive failures
- Neurological disorders (e.g. neurotoxicity, Fatal leucoencephalomalacia, ataxia)
- Atypical myopathy (muscle disease)