Discovering the Equine Microbiome

Sign up today and we’ll send you a kit.

Discovering the Equine Microbiome

Sign up today and we’ll send you a kit.

Sign up to Receive an Equine Microbiome Kit

If you would like to order more than 10 kits please email:

What is a Normal Equine Microbiome? We Hope to Find Out.

The Purina Equine Research team has recently launched the MQ Equine project aimed at answering the question of what a normal, healthy equine microbiome looks like. We have been collecting samples from horses all around the country and we need your help to build our dataset. The goal of this project is to collect samples from horses across the nation and determine how different factors such as feed, age, breed, living conditions, diet, and other factors influence the microbiome of the horse.

You Can Help in Three Simple Steps:
  1. Sign up and receive a Purina® microbiome kit to quickly and easily collect a microbiome sample from your horse utilizing a fecal swab.
  2. Complete a short online survey to provide the critical metadata necessary to develop our database.
  3. Mail the swab back to us in the return envelope (don’t worry, we’ll cover the postage).

How does the sample collection process work?

Meet the microbiome of the horse’s hindgut:

The microbiome of the horse’s hindgut is comprised of a complex group of microorganisms. Bacteria make up the majority of these microorganisms. Take a look at some of the most predominant phyla of bacteria and learn what they are responsible for:

Firmicutes: Responsible for breaking down the structural components of plant cells. These bacteria produce enzymes that digest sugars that are indigestible by the horse such as fructans. Notable members of this phylum include Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Clostridium, and Streptococcus.

Bacteroidetes: Responsible for breaking down the plant cell carbohydrates including cellulose, starch, and pectins. These bacteria are a key part of the microbial community and are critical to maintaining hindgut function. Notable members of this phylum include Bacteroides and Prevotella.

Actinobacteria: Responsible for promoting immune function by inhibiting the growth of pathogens. Many common probiotics are members of this phylum including B. infantis and B. longum.

Proteobacteria: Play a role in regulation of the immune function in the horse. While this phylum includes some notable pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia, Salmonella, and Helicobacter, this group of bacteria play an essential role in maintaining gastrointestinal stability.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I submit samples from young horses?
Yes, samples can be submitted from horses of all ages. In the survey you will be asked to provide the age of the horse.

Can I submit samples from sick horses?
Yes, samples can be submitted from sick or healthy horses. The survey asks for information regarding the health history of the horse so that you can provide that information.

Can I provide samples from donkeys or mules?

Do my horses need to be eating Purina feeds?
No. Samples can be submitted from horses eating any feedstuffs.

Will I receive a report back with my sample results?
No, at this time we are in the data collection stage of this project. We will utilize the data from these samples to develop our microbiome database so that in the future we can develop feeding protocols and new products aimed at improving the gastrointestinal health of horses.