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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327602

Research Project: Sustainable Forage-Based Production for the Mid-South Transition Zone

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Title: Age-related changes in select fecal bacteria in foals

item PYLES, MORGAN - University Of Kentucky
item FOWLER, ASHLEY - University Of Kentucky
item BILL, VERONICA - University Of Kentucky
item HARLOW, BRITTANY - University Of Kentucky
item CRUM, ANDREA - University Of Kentucky
item HAYES, SUSAN - University Of Kentucky
item Flythe, Michael
item LAWRENCE, LAURIE - University Of Kentucky

Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/24/2016
Publication Date: 7/21/2016
Citation: Pyles, M.B., Fowler, A.L., Bill, V., Harlow, B., Crum, A., Hayes, S.H., Flythe, M.D., Lawrence, L.M. 2016. Development of select fecal bacterial communities in foals and evaluation of the effects of maternal diet. J. Anim. Sci Vol. 94, E-Suppl. 5/J. Dairy Sci. Vol. 99, E-Suppl. 1. Pgs. 383-384.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Adult horses depend on the microbial community in the hindgut to produce VFAs that are utilized for energy. Microbial colonization in the gastrointestinal tract of foals is essential to develop a healthy symbiotic relationship and prevent proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. However, colonization is not well understood. The objectives were to evaluate the age-related changes and effects of maternal diet on select fecal bacterial groups in foals from 1 d to 28 d. Thoroughbred mares (n = 19) were paired by last breeding date then randomly assigned to one of two treatments: an oat (OB) or corn and wheat middlings (CWB) based pelleted concentrate. The mares began the experimental diet at 310 d of gestation and remained on the assigned diets until 28 d postpartum. The foals had access to assigned concentrates and a mixed grass and alfalfa hay and cool season grass pasture were available ad libitum. Fecal samples were collected from foals at 1 d (14-36 h), 4 d, 14 d, and 28 d. Foals were continuously monitored on sample days to collect fecal samples immediately after defecation by catch into sterile specimen cups or from the center of the pile using sterile gloves. Fecal samples were transported to the laboratory in an insulated cooler (37°C) under CO2. Samples were serially diluted 10-fold before inoculation of selective media. Enumerations were performed for Lactobacillus spp., total starch utilizing bacteria (TSU), and cellulolytic bacteria (CB). Enumeration data were log transformed then analyzed with PROC MIXED (SAS 9.3) to test the main effects of maternal diet (OB or CWB), time of sample, and interaction between treatment and time. Results were considered when P < 0.05. There was no effect of treatment on bacterial enumerations (P > 0.05). There was a treatment by time interaction in Lactobacillus spp. with CWB foals having more lactobacilli than OB at 1 d and 4 d (P < 0.05), however there were no differences observed at 14 d (P > 0.05). These results indicate that maternal diet may influence some bacteria in foals. Lactobacilli, TSU, and CB increased over time (P < 0.05) with CB first appearing between 4 d and 14 d. It is evident that colonization of the hindgut is a sequential process beginning early in the foal’s life.