Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

The microbiological quality of concentrates for horses : a retrospective study on influencing factors and associations with clinical symptoms reported by owners or referring vets

Evidence has already been provided that feed-borne mold spores and endotoxins can trigger chronic, non-infectious respiratory disease if inhaled. Furthermore, deficiencies in feed microbiology are suspected to trigger gastrointestinal and liver disorders in horses, but the connection needs further clarification. Most of the previous studies regarding horse feed hygiene focused on forage, whereas research regarding hygienic quality of concentrates is scarce. In the present study, results of reports on hygienic quality of compound feed and cereals for horses were evaluated secondarily. Results included sensory findings, and counts of aerobic bacteria, molds and yeasts determined by cultivation and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contents. It was found that microbial counts of compound feed exceeded VDLUFA orientation values significantly more frequently than cereals (38.4 vs. 22.6%). However, average counts of bacteria, molds and yeasts were higher in cereals than in compound feeds (p < 0.0001, respectively). Mold counts in grains were significantly higher if dry matter contents were below 86% (p = 0.0201). No relation could be established between the anamnestically reported gastrointestinal disorders or elevated liver enzyme activities and microbiological deviations. Mold counts of concentrates which were suspected to cause coughing in horses were significantly higher than mold counts of control samples (3.29 vs. 2.40 log10 cfu g−1, p = 0.0313). These results indicate that hygienic status of concentrates is relevant for horse health in the respiratory tract.


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