The Modern Equine Vet
June 2024
Vol 14 Issue 6 2024
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Purina Launches Probiotic Supplement and Microbiome Testing Kit

By Tom Rosenthal

Purina Animal Nutrition launched a live and active probiotic supplement to support gut health in horses, as well as an easy-to-use testing kit for horse owners to obtain personalized nutrition recommendations to support their horse’s individual microbiome, the Arden Hills, Minnesota-based company announced.

The Purina Systemiq Probiotic Supplement and the Purina MQ Equine Microbiome Testing Kit are part of the new Purina Microbiome Quotient (MQ) Platform, which enables owners to receive research-backed insights and solutions to proactively optimize their horse’s gut health, Purina announced.

The microbiome is home to millions of microorganisms that work together to support a horse’s critical functions. Nearly every aspect of a horse’s health and well-being, from digestion to immune function and even performance, can be traced back to its microbiome, according to Purina.

The Systemiq Probiotic Supplement is formulated specifically to remain live and active through the pelleting process to a horse’s hindgut where it is needed most, making this a key differentiator in supporting recovery after exercise and occasional gastrointestinal stress, Purina announced. Research shows its patented probiotic technology supports optimal digestive and immune function in horses, when fed daily.

“With the launch of the MQ Platform, which includes our MQ Equine Microbiome Testing Kit and Systemiq Probiotic Supplement, we’re helping empower horse owners to make health decisions tailored to their horse’s individual needs,” said Kiley Heckman, the innovation marketing manager, Purina Animal Nutrition. “This innovation in equine microbiome science is changing the way we think about the connection between equine nutrition, health and performance.”

Previously, horse owners relied on informed guesses when assessing their horse’s gut health. With the testing kit, owners can take a simple swab from their horse and fill out a health history questionnaire, and Purina’s team of equine nutritionists will use next-generation sequencing and analysis to provide results and nutrition recommendations through an online portal, the company explained.

Mary Beth Gordon, PhD, senior director equine technical innovation at Purina Animal Nutrition the senior director research and new product development at Purina, said both the probiotic supplement and the testing kit are the result of 10 years of research and testing, which involved building an incredibly robust equine microbiome database containing more than 5,000 microbiome samples from horses sent to Purina by owners in all 50 states.

“From all the data that’s been sent into us from all these horse owners, we were able to map the core microbiome for horses, which no one had ever done before,” Dr. Gordon said.

This database gave Purina researchers the keys needed to unlock the mystery of the equine microbiome.

“Through the samples we’ve had the privilege of analyzing, we’ve learned what constitutes a healthy balance in a horse’s microbiome—something that had previously been a mystery,” said Robert Jacobs, PhD, the equine innovation manager, Purina Animal Nutrition.

“As a result, we’re able to develop revolutionary new ways to support every horse’s unique microbiome, whether they’re out at pasture, on the road competing, at home recovering or whatever else their life and job requires,” Dr. Jacobs said.

“We’ve also learned that every aspect of horse health and physiology is related to the microbiome,” he added. “Supporting an optimized, balanced microbiome can help to promote things like exercise recovery, and a more appropriate response to inflammation and gastrointestinal disturbances.”

Doug Payne, Purina Ambassador and member of the U.S. Eventing Team, was given an advance opportunity to test his horse, Quantum Leap, using the MQ Equine Microbiome Testing Kit.

“With the microbiome playing such a critical role in a horse’s performance, it’s great to have the ability to look a lot further in-depth,” Mr. Payne said. “The amount of detail that is provided in the report is pretty incredible.”

Mr. Payne also began feeding Systemiq Probiotic Supplement to Quantum Leap, a step he sees as part of a broader responsibility to give horses the best care possible.

“Whether it’s a 5-star event horse or a backyard pet, I think it’s our obligation as horse owners to help them feel their best,” Payne said. “Regardless of what their job is, their lives can be stressful. Especially for horses that are on the road a lot, I think Systemiq Probiotic Supplement will offer a big advantage to help them better adapt to their environment.” MeV