Two enzymes having lactase activity are present in the equine small intestine. The first, the digestive enzyme, neutral beta-galactosidase, declines in activity from birth to three years, disappearing completely between 3 and 4 years of age. The other, the soluble lysosomal enzyme, acid beta-galactosidase, having affinity for lactose and a synthetic beta-galactoside, shows a decrease in activity in the first three months of life and thereafter varies little in activity and represents the lactase enzyme in the adult horse. This pattern may parallel the development of lactase activity in many other mammals and in the majority of the world's human population.
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