Many times a horse, especially an older horse, will not digest its feed efficiently because it is not producing adequate quantities of digestive enzymes.
Protease is an enzyme that breaks down protein. If protein is digested and absorbed in the small intestine, then it is less likely to make its way to the large intestine where it will be converted to ammonia. The end-products of protein digestion (amino acids) are also needed by the horse to produce new muscle and blood.
Amylase is the enzyme that breaks down starch. Horses normally produce very little amylase since they did not evolve to eat diets that were high in grain starch. Supplemental amylase will aid the horse in breaking down cereal starch so that it can be absorbed as glucose in the small intestine. If starch escapes digestion in the small intestine and makes its way to the hind gut, it will be digested by lactic fermenting bacteria. The end-product of this fermentation is lactic acid which may lead to colic or laminitis.
Cellulase is the enzyme that breaks down cellulose, the main component of plant fiber. The horse produces no cellulase since this is the job of the bacteria living in the hind gut. Supplemental cellulase will improve fiber digestibility.
FOCUS WT and FOCUS SR contain digestive enzymes, including protease, amylase and cellulase to improve the horse’s ability to digest its feed. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.