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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal AgroParisTech Université Paris-Saclay


GABI : Génétique Animale et Biologie IntégrativeUnité Mixte de Recherche INRA - AgroParisTech

Resilience of the intestinal microbiota in stressed equine athletes

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. License:
Elite horse athletes that live in individual boxes undergo long-term physical and mental stress that compromises the welfare of these animals altering their intestinal microbiota. In a studied published in Scientific Reports, scientists from INRAE laboratories including Animal Genetics and Integrative Biology - GABI evaluated whether a temporary period at pasture with other animals could improve animal welfare and, in return, favorably affect the intestinal microbiota composition.

A total of 27 athletes were followed before and after a period of 1.5 months at pasture. Their fecal microbiota and their behavior were compared to those of 18 horses in individual boxes. The overall diversity and composition of the microbiota from the individuals at pasture and control individuals were similar over time, suggesting a resilience to environmental challenges. However, exposition to pasture induced an increase in Ruminococcus and Coprococcus that lasted one month after the animals returned to their individual boxes, which may have favorable effects on their health and welfare. Associations between intestinal microbiota composition and behavior indicating a poor welfare have been established.

Although it is not possible to infer a causality, these results suggest that certain practices over a longer period could modify the association between behavior and the intestinal ecosystem beyond its resilience potential.


See also


Mach, N., Lansade, L., Bars-Cortina, D. et al. Gut microbiota resilience in horse athletes following holidays out to pasture. Sci Rep 11, 5007 (2021).