Abrupt changes in the diet of horses can lead to laminits and other diseases.
This is stated on the website of Kentucky Equine Research Centre (KER). Based on the finding in the study: Influence of short-term dietary starch inclusion on the equine caecal microbiome, published in the Journal of Animal Science,
Kathleen Crandell, PhD., a nutritionist with KER explains: “Aside from the potential for laminitis, the sudden addition of feeds rich in dietary starch may cause an alteration in the intestinal microbiome. The population of microbes forms early in a horse’s life and fluctuates based on diet, transport, stress, exercise, weight loss, and disease state, among other factors”.
The research team found that pH of cercal contents decreased in horses fed a high-starch diet, and volatile fatty acid production increased. Further, the diversity of the intestinal microbiome decreased, meaning that fewer species of microorganisms were identified following an abrupt, short-term inclusion of dietary starch.