Equine Amylase Supplementation

I wrote before about the issues with horses and starch digestion, and posted a link to the study on how amylase addition helped. Here is another very good article by The Horse summarizing that same study:


Doggie Digestion

happy dog

Did you know that you can tell a lot about what is going on with your dog’s digestion by their stool? It may be obvious that they are experiencing digestive upset if they have an issue with diarrhea, but other observations may be helpful. The article below talks about some things to watch for. Often, when dogs are not digesting their food optimally, their stool will be much larger. Dog owners who supplement their dogs with enzymes often report a significant difference in the dog’s stool, indicating an improved utilization of the food. Changing to a higher-quality food with less fillers will also give your dog more readily available nutrients!


P.S. The same applies for cats!

Poultry Enzymes

Poultry Enzymes

Great article on the use of enzymes in poultry feed!  It explains how “Better feed efficiency also means fewer environmental concerns from chicken litter“.

Intro to Phytase


There are certain enzymes that we are more familiar with, such as the amylase I have discussed in an earlier blog.  Amylases break down starches.  Lipases break down fats, and proteases break down proteins.  However, one of the most widely used enzymes in the animal feed industry is an enzyme called phytase.  The substrate of phytase (the molecule that it acts upon) is phytic acid, an organic form of phosphorus found in grains and seeds.  Why does this matter?  Monogastric animals (non-ruminants) cannot produce (a significant amount) of their own phytase.  Therefore, they can’t break down phytic acid in their diet, so they can’t utilize phosphorus from this source.  This form of phosphorus ends up passing out of the animal in its undigested form.  This is not only wasteful, but also is a significant contributor to phosphate pollution in the environment.

One industry that uses phytase supplementation extensively is the poultry farming industry.  Birds are raised in the most cost-effective manner, which requires maximum utilization of their feed.  If they are passing a phosphorus source through their systems without using it, they are throwing away the farmers’ money.  In this case, the owner of the operation will have to supplement with additional phosphorus to meet the birds’ dietary needs.  The most cost-effective solution is to add phytase to the feed.  This way, less supplemental phosphorus is needed, and there is less phosphate pollution in the birds’ waste.  Other enzymes, such as xylanases and mannanases are also extremely beneficial in poultry farming to maximize feed utilization.  They similarly break down parts of the diet that are otherwise indigestible to the animals.  These are increasing in use, especially as consumers demand foods grown without the use of as many medications and antibiotics.

Swine growers often use phytase for the same reasons as poultry growers.  It helps to increase available phosphorus in the diet while reducing environmental pollution.  Phytase can also be included in equine supplements in combination with several other beneficial enzymes.  The way to optimize effectiveness is to choose the particular enzymes and dosages based on the feed components and the nutritional needs of the animal.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding enzymes in animal feed, or with any suggestions for a blog topic! animal@specialtyenzymes.com

Dried Aspergillus what?

Do you ever read the label of your horse or pet’s food or supplements and have no idea what half of the ingredients are?  On more than one occasion, I have heard people express their confusion over labels, and this also happens in the area of enzymes.  Some products that you are using may contain enzymes, but you don’t even know it.  Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that labeling laws vary, and that there is no true regulation of pet “supplements”, although organizations such as the National Animal Supplement Council are trying to change this.  In general, animal supplements fall under the category of “feed/pet food” when it comes to regulations.  Many manufacturers choose to follow the guidelines made by AAFCO- the American Association of Feed Control Officials.  Others do not, and this is why it can sometimes be difficult to compare enzyme products.


Some products may list that they contain “Amylase, Cellulase, Protease, Phytase, and Xylanase.”  Most people will recognize that these are enzymes, however, this would not be sufficient for the ingredient list according to AAFCO guidelines.  AAFCO requires that the label list enzymes in the format of “Dried _____ Fermentation Extract”- where the blank would include the source organism for the enzyme.  You may recognize this format from a bag of grain or dog food.  What you are actually feeding includes enzymes!  When the ingredient is listed in this format, it resulted from extracting and precipitating the water-soluble materials from a fermentation process conducted for maximum production of enzymes.  For example, your ingredient list may say “Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract”, but the active enzyme may be Phytase.

I have included a link to a presentation on the AAFCO site about labeling as it relates to enzymes in feed.  If you are interested in more information about how enzymes are labeled in animal products, how to identify what is in what you are using, or anything else regarding enzymes, please feel free to e-mail me! feed@specialtyenzymes.com

More information on AAFCO Enzyme Labeling: http://www.petfood.aafco.org/Portals/1/pdf/enzyme_labeling_for_feeds.pdf