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Maria Lagounova

Position/Title: M.Sc. by thesis

I am an Animal Nutrition M.Sc. student, with a focus on equine under Dr. Wendy Pearson at the University of Guelph. I recently graduated from University of Guelph in Spring 2019 from the B.Sc. in Agriculture, majoring in Animal Science. I have always had a passion working with animals, working at various farms and horseback riding for over 10 years. Being a part of the graduate program at the University of Guelph was an easy decision for me as I have gained numerous skills and abilities during my studies here, leading me to find my passion in animal nutrition.

My thesis focuses on the use of antibiotics and its association with equine disorders such as colitis and acute diarrhea, viewing whether probiotics minimize the negative impacts of antibiotics. This is an important study as colitis is still an unexplainable disease that occurs in horses and can lead to death. The current survival rate is less than 40%. In this study, 8 horses will be used in a 4-way cross-over study viewing the different effects of feeding probiotics, antibiotics, probiotics with antibiotics and no additives in their standard diet. At the end, fecal samples will be collected to view microbial populations. Currently, the research trial is ongoing and no results have been found as of yet. However, I hope the results of this study can be used to view the effects of probiotics and if they offer benefits to improving the equine gut health and its intestinal microbiota. This can also be used to aid in creating a higher survival rate for colitis in horses.

My plan after completing my Masters is to become an Animal Nutritionist in the industry. I have found a large passion for formulating diets and have always enjoyed the amount of formulas and calculations needed to accurately complete a balanced diet.