Characterized by exercise intolerance, unwillingness to go forward, and inability to achieve or maintain collection, MFM has been studied most extensively in Warmbloods and Arabians, though unrelated breeds have also been affected. While researchers remain unsure why MFM occurs, muscle biopsies taken from diagnosed horses have revealed consistent abnormalities.
Because MFM involves muscle breakdown and atrophy, rations should focus on providing high-quality protein and specific amino acids, which support muscle repair and regeneration.
MFM Pellet is a combination of essential amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine as well as lysine, threonine, and methionine. Because leucine stimulates protein synthesis in the muscle after exercise, it is especially important. Cysteine, another amino acid, is a key component of many antioxidants, and horses with MFM might have an increased cysteine requirement.
MFM Pellet was created in conjunction with a pioneer in the identification and treatment of muscle diseases in horses, Stephanie Valberg, D.V.M., Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, ACVSMR, Director of the Equine Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory and Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.
The collaboration between Valberg and Kentucky Equine Research included feeding MFM Pellet to horses affected by MFM, with remarkable results. See one example case study.
“I am really excited to have this new product available for MFM horses. Our understanding of the nutritional needs of MFM horses has changed dramatically with continued research, and I am optimistic that this specific formulation will improve the performance of MFM-affected horses when fed with a balanced diet,” Valberg says.
When fed as recommended, many horses return to a performance career. Early diagnosis of MFM, which is established through muscle biopsy, is important, according to Valberg. “The earlier we can intervene I think the better chance we have of achieving optimal performance.”
KERx Special Needs Nutrition is a division of KER Targeted Nutrition that features products developed by Kentucky Equine Research and recommended by veterinarians to support specific nutrition-related challenges.
ABOUT KENTUCKY EQUINE RESEARCH®
Kentucky Equine Research is an international equine nutrition research, consultation, and product development company serving both the horse producer and the feed industry. Its goal is to advance the industry’s knowledge of equine nutrition and exercise physiology and apply this knowledge to produce healthier, more athletic horses. For more information, see ker.com or call 888-873-1988.
Erin Ryder Hsu