Dakota Farmer

How’s your horse’s microbiome doing?

Purina’s Microbiome Quotient platform offers microbiome testing and probiotic supplements for better nutrition and gut health.

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer

June 3, 2024

2 Min Read
rancher on a horse working cattle
OPTIMIZE NUTRITION: The new Microbiome Quotient platform from Purina Animal Nutrition unlocks the mystery of the equine microbiome to optimize horse nutrition. The platform can be beneficial to a horse — no matter if it works on the ranch or enjoys its days on pasture. Photos by Sarah McNaughton

Nowadays, it’s hard to talk about optimal animal nutrition without mentioning the gut microbiome.

Purina Animal Nutrition has launched its Microbiome Quotient platform. As part of the program, horse owners can get a nutrition recommendation for their animals with the MQ Equine Microbiome Testing Kit. Also available is the Systemiq Probiotic Supplement to support equine gut health daily.

A horse’s gut microbiome houses bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that inhabit the digestive tract. These populations play specific roles to ensure animals survive and thrive by supporting bodily functions, growth and performance.

How does it work?

Owners can use the testing kit to receive personalized information and strategies for supporting and optimizing their horse’s microbiome. The testing kit consists of seven steps, from creating an online account to collecting and returning the sample to Purina for analysis.

The resulting report will share the animal’s MQ status and a summary of its overall gut health, breakdown the microbial community residing in the horse, and compare that community to similar animals. The report also will provide a personalized nutrition plan designed by Purina nutritionists.

“With the launch of the MQ platform, which includes the 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,” says Kiley Heckman, innovation marketing manager for Purina. “This innovation in equine microbiome science is changing the way we think about the connection between equine nutrition, health and performance.”

Purina MQ Equine Microbiome Testing Kit

This platform has been a decade in the making and involved collecting microbiome samples from horses around the country to create a database to help unlock the workings of the equine gut microbiome. The accompanying Systemiq Probiotic Supplement provides active microbes to the animal, which survive into the digestive tract to support hindgut health.

“We’ve learned what constitutes a healthy balance in a horse’s microbiome — something that had previously been a mystery. As a result, we’ve been able to develop revolutionary new ways to support every horse’s unique microbiome,” says Robert Jacobs, equine innovation manager for Purina.

“Whether they’re out at pasture, on the road competing, at home recovering, or whatever else their life and job require, we’ve also learned that every aspect of horse health and physiology is related to the microbiome,” Jacobs says. “Supporting an optimized, balanced microbiome can help promote things like exercise recovery and a more appropriate response to inflammation and gastrointestinal disturbances.”

To learn more, go online to Purina Microbiome Quotient.

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About the Author(s)

Sarah McNaughton

Editor, Dakota Farmer, Farm Progress

Sarah McNaughton of Bismarck, N.D., has been editor of Dakota Farmer since 2021. Before working at Farm Progress, she was an NDSU 4-H Extension agent in Cass County, N.D. Prior to that, she was a farm and ranch reporter at KFGO Radio in Fargo.

McNaughton is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a bachelor’s degree in ag communications and a master’s in Extension education and youth development.

She is involved in agriculture in both her professional and personal life, as a member of North Dakota Agri-Women, Agriculture Communicators Network Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni and Professional Women in Agri-business. As a life-long 4-H’er, she is a regular volunteer for North Dakota 4-H programs and events.

In her free time, she is an avid backpacker and hiker, and can be found most summer weekends at rodeos around the Midwest.

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