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The Horse’s Immune System

The immune system of the horse has an extremely important role in defending the horse’s body against foreign substances or abnormal cells that may enter the body. The immune system is made up of white blood cells, antibodies and other vital substances that work to remove foreign objects and defend against infections.

Gut health is also an important part of the horse’s immune response. This is due to the normal "gut flora" (bacteria) that live in the horse’s digestive system. These ‘good’ bacteria create secretions containing enzymes that help to destroy harmful bacteria in the horse’s digestive system.

Antigens are substances that may create an immune response in the horse’s body. Antigens can be within or on viruses, bacteria or cancer cells. They can also exist on their own such as pollen or food molecules. In a healthy horse, the immune system will recognise these antigens, defend against them and attack them.

There are several factors that can reduce the efficiency of a horse’s immune system. These can include:

  • Undeveloped immune system (such as in foals)

  • Pregnancy and lactation

  • Weaning

  • Surgery

  • Prolonged antibiotic use

  • Illness and injury

  • High workload

  • Excessive travelling

  • Prolonged cold/wet weather

The first step in having an efficient immune system and good gut health in your horse is to provide a diet that has enough fibre, energy, protein and sufficient vitamins and minerals. During times of stress, additional supplementation of probiotics may be beneficial to help maintain the good bacteria in the horse’s digestive system. A good vitamin and mineral supplement may also help the body to recover quicker.

Hyfeed’s Immunity Booster + contains probiotics, prebiotics and multi-strain enzyme Pro(N8)ure, along with other specialised ingredients, Nupro®, Colostrum, Betaine & Lysine. All of these ingredients help to support and boost the efficiency of the digestive and immune systems of your horse, especially before, during or after times of stress. Immunity Booster + has been specifically formulated with young horses in mind as it contributes to healthy growth and enhances gut development.

Immunity Booster + also contains a vitamin and mineral mix to ensure that your horse’s diet is balanced. So, if your horse is needing an immune system boost or if you have a young developing horse, give Immunity Booster + a try.

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