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Is there an alternative to Brewers yeast?

Is there?

I know this is very very strange, but brewers yeast exacerbates my connies (severe) sweet itch. I've tried twice - one year he was on Total Eclipse and we ended up discussed pts from the itching. Then a few years ago I tried it again, suspecting but not convinced it was the BY (on its own this time) - again an increase of itching that reduced once the BY was removed. I use BY for my other horses and think its great.


Niki x

Would the yea sac be a suitable alternative?

I am careful with the brewer's yeast - if I inhale any of the dust I sneeze and wheeze, and if I get it on my hands I have a real itchy tiny lumps reaction to it.

I don't react like that to the yea sac - but then it is a coarser powder and less easily inhaled.

Not to rain on the parade of those on here who swear by BY, but...

I don't see much value in BY. It probably won't hurt (except in your case it seemingly does), and other levels of "goodies" in it (such as trace minerals and B vitamins) are actually very low. I wouldn't consider it as a full mineral supplement, personally. Yea sacc is the only yeast that I'm aware of that has been proven to be beneficial for fibre digestion.

So, if you are feeding BY to support gut function, I'd try yea sacc instead. If you are feeding BY as a mineral supplement, it's probably insufficient anyway. I'd recommend forage analysis (broken record here...) with a particular eye towards zinc and copper levels. Zinc in particular is very important for healthy skin/hair/hoof. Also, the omega 3s in linseed are beneficial as they are anti-inflammatory. 100g is a good "maintenance" dose for horses without access to grass, but a sweet itcher could need more omega 3s. If the extra calories aren't an issue, you could try to up the linseed.

Having said all that, a lot of people seem to like BY. But if there is something beneficial about it, it hasn't been proven yet to my satisfaction.

Interesting Maggie - but I do find my big ginger stress head is much calmer and has more "coping" resource after introducing BY.

Bruce - I do believe you! It's just that various people tell similar stories, everybody observing slightly different effects (if any). Yet, if you look at what's actually in BY, I can't see a connection. There haven't been any real studies either. I can't help myself, but without proof in the pudding, I'm leaving it out, in true "less is more" fashion. Maybe it's the day-job (sciency type...). Note absence of all comments on Reiki thread... Wink

That is very interesting - Brewers yeast made a huge difference to my old pony with colitis - I increased it at times of stress and his loose droppings were better. A warmblood (another ginger stresshead as the pony, the Fizz of my avatar) was also very much calmer and guts much better on BY than on yeasacc or other probiotic mix. So I do like it!

Cirrus, the connie, is on a theraputic dose of linseed and it very much helps - he's also rugged, fully clipped (don't ask me, it helps!) and gets dectomax injections every 5-6 weeks in the spring/summer/autumn again not very good for his feet, dectomax is an ivermectin wormer, but it improved the sweet itch by 50%. Last year I removed grass from their (have a shetland as well) diet largely - my field is old railway land and very sparse with a lot of nettles and trees and bushes to graze on , but very little actual grass, its mainly hardcore with a small amount of largely organic matter soil. I'm still not sure if the removal of grass has helped his sweet itch - he was quite bad last year but was on a respiratory supplement with garlic in it. But the removal of grass has done wonders for his weight, he looks fab and my vet congratulated me on having a shetland at a perfect weight! (vet also thinks my field is great, so things are getting through).

Cirrus' feet are not great atm, but are improving - he has some white line separation that is now resolving - we (trimmer and I) think it is to do with the antibiotics and general poor health - he's never been shod btw. Now, as he is an allergic horse, he has RAO (or COPD).

I didn't help the situation by feeding albeit small quantities of Happy Hoof - I always said it was against my religion, so no idea why I did, other than that he would eat it - he suddenly went off speedibeet and fibre nuts after eating them happily for years - changed bags etc - he's like this, a nightmare! Now he's on Pure Easy (since Oct) and seems to be thriving on it, and for this time of year his itching is better. It does have BY in but tiny quantities - the short chop in it is not flash dried, it may not be perfect, and I wait and see, but so far I think its ok.

So I'm not sure I need brewers yeast or a yeasacc at the moment, but was wondering in case I can figure some way out to get him to eat something more close to the Feet First diet.

Niki x

Maybe I'm sounding a bit too anti-BY. For a normal horse with healthy gut, I think it has little to offer.
But BY does have some benefits, like being high in protein (around 40%). It also does have some B vitamins (though not the huge amounts of biotin that some people would like). Normally, a horse with a healthy gut that's not in very heavy work gets all the B vitamins it needs from the bacteria that live in its gut. If the gut is compromised, the additional B vitamins might help.
BY is not a probiotic, because the yeast is spent/dead. It is a prebiotic, i.e. contains nutrients for the gut bacteria to munch on. Yea sacc is a probiotic (live culture) which actually introduces beneficial microorganisms to the gut. If the horse has a healthy gut, there should be plenty of nutrients for the bacteria to process, but I guess I can see how BY might be beneficial for a horse with colitis. Just wondering why there hasn't been a proper study then?

Are you suspecting/treating for Onchocerca with the dectomax? I have heard of such a treatment with ivermectin every 4-6 weeks to control the itching that comes with migration of the microfilaria. Did you have a real diagnosis, or did the vet recommend treatment at a guess? We have four sweet itchers at our yard. I wonder if they'd benefit from ivermectin treatment.

Sounds to me like you have things mostly figured out. I do envy you the setup!

I used to be sciency type maggie - I have undergrad and postgrad degrees to prove it - but it seems I'm getting more "wafty" as I get older.

P.S. "wafty" is a word invented in this forum to describe anything more than a few standard deviations from the accepted norm, to the right or left....someone will come up with a better definition soon. Laughing

But if it works to waft...                 ...keeping wafting !! Very Happy  Shocked

It seems that the dectomax acts as  deterrent to midges - like a long lasting repellent - its action decreases after 5-6 weeks for most horses. Our vets use it as a standard for SI- in the main it works well, in mild cases it's a complete treatment. Its still off licence, and I don't think anyone really understands the mechanisms, its still a bit of try it and see. Cirrus has also tried the vaccine for 3 seasons, which worked well the first two, but when it went to capsules only it was useless - at which point I went back to dectomax. He wouldn't cope unrugged or unclipped - his legs are a nightmare, I made him trousers last year but have yet to find a satisfactory connection at the top. The linseed is a very positive thing, but its always a knife edge with all these treatments, and fighting the tendency to do everything at once!

I inject it myself - initially the vet did, but I'm not paying £40 every 5 weeks for something I can do myself! Vet assured himself I was capable - I inject it subcutaneously, Pfizer did say that it should be injected IM but I find it a large quantity of an oily substance to be whacked into a muscle - the only real difference is a day or so in it working.

I am lucky with my set up - having spent my childhood hating my field as it wasn't smooth and green with beautiful wood fences - like my neighbours over the fence - but I get the last laugh!

It's very interesting about the brewers yeast though - Fizz's colitis was a constant issue - it was from old worm damage before I had him - he just had to see a green bit of grass and he was very loose - the feed balancers helped, but eventually I had him on Total Eclipse which worked well, but when I moved back to Wales sourcing it was an issue so I just put him on fibre nuts, speedibeet and brewers yeast and he improved again. He didn't die of the colitis, rather just old age, which the vet had assured me years ago that the colitis would kill him - he was well into his 30's when he was pts.

Niki x

I use Neem leaf as an insect repellant, and my friend in the lakes who has sweet itchy exmoors swears by it. Tablespoon a day in the feed.

I looked for an alternative wiht Bramble who just reacted with angry pink rashes to every insect repellant we used.

Maggie345 I share your desire for scientific proof absolutely. I have no belief in homeopathy, for instance. I undertand that the latest claim is that it works at a quantum level and therefore they cannot do double blind trials becuase observation will mean that it will not work. Yeah, and my fairy godmother's coming to stay tomorrow  Laughing

But, big but, my friends horse had a brittle tail that was breaking and sand crack in both front hooves, at three years old. At my advice she took it off Top Spec and put  him on Brewer's Yeast. That was the only change she made. The line where the tail has grown thick and strong is as clear as the nose on my face, as is the minimal shadow-mark of the sandcrack since he was on it. I too would love to understand why, but it does seem to work. Of course I might havce to change my story once the spring grass comes through if his tail starts to break again!

Jazz has also had cracks in the surface of his feet which I have previously talked to Nic about privately, and those are only surface-shadows since introducing BY.

I can't explain it but I'm not going to stop feeding it, obviously  Smile


I've started feeding neem leaf, at brucea's suggestion, to both my horses - one to see if it can help Storm combat the dreaded horse flies which bring him out in lumps, and to Bracken to see if it can help his sensitivity to midges around his muzzle.  I've only just started in the last fortnight, thinking I had a few weeks to build it up before the flies started, but for a while now I've seen clouds of midges hovering, v. worrying as swamp fever is in the next county.  Bracken has already had one extreme head shaking incident - can't remember the last time he had one - this year, although that was mainly due to the very kind dog walker trying to "creep" along behind us for a mile or so which completely blew the RB neddy's brain to the extent I had to get off and restore his concentration from the ground.  Must remember he was a child's pony....
Will be interesting to see if it helps.

Works for our guys - doesn't stop the flies landing, and they are still a nuisance, but it seems to stop them getting bitten

It is intensely biter so I wonder if it works in the same way as quinine works...?

In the end, I go with the horse's vote. So if BY (or any other supplement) is working, I'm all for sticking with it!

I use BY but for nutritional value and prebiotic value. I add Protexin in times on dietary distress evidenced by loose poo when I know such DD is on the way e.g. travelling days.

However, I have read that Protexin acidifies the gut and long term usage can increase the risk on Colic.  YS is the only probiotic with PROVEN probiotic action I understand.

At the same time I have started Dr Kellons NRC course and its opening up a whole new world of queries etc. I'm going to wait until I've finished before reviewing Jake's diet in any major way.

However one bit of info was that the hindgut holds several hundred species of organisms and these change according to diet. So it adapts. Also horses browsing e.g. tree bark, encourages a wide variety of these micro-organisms. So I thought when I see Jake chewing at wood - is his body telling him "I need some micro-organisms" ??

So I thought when I see Jake chewing at wood - is his body telling him "I need some micro-organisms" ??

The way I understood it is that unless the horse's gut is in severe distress, it has a "full" population of all the microorganisms in its gut that it may need. Depending on what it eats, certain parts of this population multiply faster, because "their" food is abundant, whereas other microorganisms exist in much lower numbers, waiting in the wing, so to speak.
As long as the horse is trickle-fed, and changes to the diet are introduced slowly, the "right" microorganisms multiply just enough to digest the available food. Unless the gut is compromised (lack of microorganisms) or encounters food it's never seen before ("right" microorganism missing), I don't think there is a need to introduce new microorganisms through food, they are already there, waiting to multiply. In that sense, probiotics like Yea Sacc are like a jump start for the gut that has lost the right microorganisms (though yea sacc is only one type of organism), or can be supportive when feed is changed faster than the natural population can adjust.

So, long-winded answer. I can't read Jake's mind. Maybe he's just following his natural instinct to browse, or that something in the wood tastes good? Apart from salt, it has never been shown that horses self-select "supplements" based on what their body is deficient in.

interesting thread.. I was feeding BY until Neets went off it about the same time as the local farmers best hayledge was provided in field...  from better soil (permanent natural pasture) than they graze...  So at a guess she doesn't need it at the mo.. will try her with it again once in summer sparse grazing in the spring.. which as far as we're concerned is still some time off..  It did seem to help Neets so I think there is something in it..  

However have a very "wafty" take on feed and nutrition in that I do trust Neets to tell me what she needs...  I watch closely what she goes for when I take her out in hand to graze verges which round us are rich in lots of herbs and shrubs etc..  I tend to read up on them once she's picked them out...  I do refer back to Clare McLeod's book as well.  

Scientific proof imho is limited as no science is complete .. there is always something more to be discovered.. not that I disregard it but it's no guarantee of total knowledge.

One of the sticking points I had with the vets trying to diagnose Storm's lameness was that they had no scientific evidence to refer to in support of what I was trying to tell them about barefoot health, because no one has done that sort of scientific trial in this country...which is why Project Dexter is sooo important.  Now I always ask is there no scientific evidence because no scientific trials have been done, or because whatever it is actually doesn't work?

Just to rejuvenate this thread again ...

My mini pony started to have softer poos 10 days ago.  The other pone was fine and they graze the same field etc.  I have some Yea Sacc on the shelf (in date !!) so decided to put this in his evening feed for a bit.  Poos have now returned to normal and he also doesnt seem as difficult to handle as he normally is (imagine argumentative toddler  Shocked )

My question is, it is obviously doing him some good but he also suffers with sweet itch and I will be starting him on his Skratch supplement in the next couple of weeks.  So, yes, the question,  would changing the yea sacc to BY still help his tum (can be runny anyway in summer although on track system and he IS a grumpy so and so) and also help his SItch instead of me buying Skratch ?

What do you guys think ?

Homeophy is a medicine and you need a good homeoph !You can do a lot of damage by giveing it willy nilly ! I am certainely NO wafty and have used it for years but it is by no means the bee all and end all you need an open mind  Laughing Most medicines are made up of natrual stuff just have chemicals added which is what I try to avoid maybe thats why I have brain ach so often Ha Laughing I was jolly glad of any painkiller I could get hold of when I was in hosiptal but made me ill because I am not used to them Wink  Wink


In my experience my chap is the only SItchy horse to get worse on BY. My old pony had chronic collitis and thus runny poo's and BY worked the oracle for him.

I guess the only way you will know is to try it - and that's a hard one with an itchy horse!

Niki x

Sorry, I am like Bruce and believe the horses over the experts every time  Laughing

Over the years I've tried biotin (no effect), yea-sacc (no effect) and all sorts of other supplements, particularly on Andy's mare, Bailey, who is one of the original sensitive flowers.

When I first started down the route of obsessing about her diet, a good few years ago now, she had full depth cracks on 3 hooves, and each hoof was so badly split that each piece moved independently, like a cloven hoof.  She was on the verge of being put down at age 5.

She was (of course!) on all sorts of supplements, but nothing made ANY difference to her, until, by trial and many errors, I put her onto what is now tried and tested - brewers yeast, linseed, seaweed, magnesium  - and restricted her grazing.

Of course, if I had only had Felix, I would have believed that ad lib grazing was fine, and that horses didn't need supplements - because thats what worked for him.  

Turns out they are both anomalys,  but at different ends of the spectrum!

Fizz - well done you for listening to YOUR horse - they are all different, and at the end of the day finding the right solution for him is the most important thing  Smile

So, long-winded answer. I can't read Jake's mind. Maybe he's just following his natural instinct to browse, or that something in the wood tastes good?

Maggie - believe me you dont what to read the little bugger's mind  - just lots of devilish plans Rolling Eyes  to upset any human plans !!
I think you are right on natural instinct to browse PLUS he's generally happier and more playful these days so chewing everything and exploring is, I think, part of that.  

BY - update - out of diet completely currently. Reason = they are refusing it totally. New batch looks fine to me but they think NOT.   Wasted 2 feeds with it in so took it out.  I tried feeding separately leaving it in stable in bit of soaked beet. It was gone at the end of the day - Clay more likely as he was investigating it and is generally less fussy. However its a lot of faffing doing extra BY feed and so currently not doing. Not sure if I'm taking out something important. However, they are both on Farriers Formula as stop-gap to up Cu and Zn levels without I levels being inreased (see other thread on Feet First minerals). Forum Index -> UKNHCP Barefoot Community
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