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Variations in the bacterial makeup of the gastrointestinal tract (the gut microbiota) is widely thought to play a significant role in the health and well-being of horses. However, few studies have looked at the causes and consequences of naturally occurring gut bacterial variation in horses. Researchers will retrospectively look at years of collected samples and data on a well-studied, isolated group of feral horses from Sable Island, Canada. The data on more than 700 horses provides a unique opportunity to study the horse in a natural environment without the influence of management practices, veterinary intervention or preventive treatments. This new information will greatly increase our understanding of microbiota-health associations in horses. Data generated will provide a large baseline platform to spur further research and discoveries about associations between gut bacteria and health in horses.

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University of Calgary
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Jocelyn Poissant, PhD
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