One of several mycotoxin binders available is Hallway Feeds' Mare Guard.

One of several mycotoxin binders available is Hallway Feeds' Mare Guard.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Where to Find the Mycotoxin Binder

Lexington, Ky., feed companies are busy filling orders for bags and buckets of mycotoxin binder from horse owners in 15 states throughout the East Coast.

Feeding the binder, which is an additive derived from yeast, has been recommended by veterinarians, nutritionists, and researchers who are working diligently to discover the cause for a mysterious syndrome that has caused widespread equine health problems in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Mounting evidence indicates that toxins produced by molds could be responsible for early fetal loss, late-term gestation loss, red bag deliveries of foals, pericarditis (fluid in the sac around the heart), eye problems, and possibly decreased immune system functions and growth rates in horses.

The mycotoxin binder traps the toxins in a horse's gut and allows them to pass through the digestive system rather than be absorbed into the body. Feed companies sell the binder under different brand names, but the products all contain the yeast derivative MTB100. Alltech Inc., just south of Lexington, has been making MTB100 for five years. The binder has become a standard ingredient in feed for food animals, particularly chickens and swine.

For horses, the binder is either packaged separately or mixed in with a farm's standard feed order. Some companies will soon begin selling a product that combines the binder with microbial extract that intends to restore the natural bacteria in a horse's gut.
The following is a list of Lexington feed companies selling the binder:

Brumfield Hay and Grain Co., Lexington, Ky.
Sells Capture Plus, a granular additive containing MTB100 and a second binder called Bio-Moss in addition to a microbial extract. Capture Plus is sold in 10-pound pails and costs $32. Mares are fed two ounces a day to a mare, and slightly less is fed to younger horses. Next week Brumfield will begin selling 50-pound bags of Capture Plus for $32.00. Brumfield ships orders out of state, but is limiting orders to a week's supply for the immediate future. The feed company can be reached at 1-800-447-2580.

Farmers Feed Mill, Lexington, Ky.
Sells Mare Guard with the MTB100 binder and Mare Guard Plus, which contains the yeast binder plus a pro-biotic. Both products are in pellet form containing alfalfa meal and are fed at a rate of one pound per head per day. Mare Guard costs $15 for a 50-pound bag. Mare Guard Plus, which was introduced May 18, costs $23 for a 50-pound bag. Dr. Kyle Newman, a nutritional microbiologist with Venture Laboratories in Lexington, formulated the three bacteria cultures added to Mare Guard Plus. The bacteria were selected to help break down toxins not captured by the yeast binder. Farmer's Feed Mill has shipped its products to 15 states and Canada. The company can be reached at 1-800-753-4255.

McCauley Brothers, Versailles, Ky.
Sells Foal Safe, an oat-based pellet with a variety of mycotoxin binders in the formula. Foal Safe is sold in 50-pound bags for $16, and is fed at a rate of one pound per head per day. McCauley, which makes only feeds and supplements for horses, will ship its product. For more information, call 1-800-222-8635.

Southern States Lexington Cooperative, Lexington, Ky.
Has included MTB100 in its line of Triple Crown horse feeds for the past year. The original formula provided horses with the previous recommended dose of 10 grams per day. Since the outbreak of the foal and fetal loss syndrome, the company has increased the amount of MTB100 in its Triple Crown 12% and Triple Crown 30% feeds. The new formulas will give horses 30 grams of MTB100 per day. Triple Crown feeds are available throughout the East Coast at Southern States and Agway stores. For more information, call 1-800-267-7198.

Quality Feeds, Versailles, Ky.
Sells a binder called MareMTB in 50-pound bags for $12. MareMTB is an alfalfa-based pellet with MTB100. Horses are fed one pound per day. The pellet can be added to the feed or Quality Feed will mix it with sweet feed. The company will sell the pellet for 25 cents per pound for the owners of few horses who may only want to buy a month's supply. Quality Feed primarily serves the Central Kentucky market and can be reached at (859) 873-2250.

Woodford Feed Co., Versailles, Ky.
Sells MareMTB in pellet form and sells MTB100 powder. The MareMTB alfalfa-based pellet has anise in it to give the additive a licorice smell. It is sold in 50-pound bags for $12. The company also sells 50-pound bags of MTB100 powder. Horse owners can mix the powder into their feed themselves, but the powder apparently does not taste good or smell appealing. Most people have it mixed in with a custom blend for $2 per pound. On average, a ton of feed will contain six pounds of MTB100.
Woodford Feed also sells Fastrack, yeast culture binder combined with a lactobacillus culture. A five-pound pail costs $16.50 and is fed at a rate of one to two ounces per head daily. The feed company can be reached at (859) 873-4811.

Note: Any company selling the binder that is not listed here should call (859) 276-6770 and this list will be updated.