What is gut health? In cattle, it’s a two-parter. Gut health refers to how well nutrients from their food are being absorbed and can be utilized by the body, along with how well pathogens are contained within the digestive tract. Why is gut health important to cattle? If they have to expend extra energy fighting disease or absorbing nutrients efficiently, that energy cannot be used for weight gain or reproduction. Learn how gut health works in today’s blog post. For more on proper cattle nutrition, visit our website.

Gut Health in the Digestive Tract – Tiny microbes in the digestive tract work to break down the food, but these microbes have to stay contained in the digestive tract and cannot be allowed to travel elsewhere in the body of the cow. They’re kept in place by a secure barrier. When this barrier is strong, it’s one component of good gut health. But when this barrier is weak, pathogens and microbes can escape the digestive tract and get into the rest of the body and the bloodstream. This causes infection and disease in the cattle.

Strong Digestive Tract Barrier – We’ve learned it’s important to maintain a strong barrier in the digestive tract, so how does it weaken? A number of factors can cause a weak and escapable digestive track barrier, especially stress. Stress could be caused by extreme heat, insufficient shelter or food supply, weaning, or transportation. This could result in liver abscesses or inflammation from a weakened gut and infection. Digestive tract diseases can also weaken the barrier, paving the way for more pathogens to come in and disrupt the system. These include salmonella and E. coli. 

Maintaining Good Health – Minimize stress and utilize proper feeding techniques and nutrition to strengthen the immune system and reduce strain on the digestive tract barrier. In turn, you’ll see good results, as the energy the cow might have spent on defending its system from an E. coli infection can be used to focus on weight gain. 

Healthy cows produce healthy meat. Visit our website to learn about our grass-fed beef and order your own for your family.