Also known as vitamin B7, coenzyme R, W Factor, and vitamin H

Biotin for Healthy Horses

Biotin deficiency can cause health problems in horses.

Like humans, horses need biotin in their diet for metabolism of essential molecules in the body (e.g., protein and fatty acids). Along with vitamin B6, biotin produces keratin - a necessary protein for strong hooves and good hair (as in nails and hair in humans). Biotin is also involved in the production of collagen and elastin, proteins for healthy skin.78-79

Naturally-occurring biotin in wheat, barley, rice bran, and oats is bound to protein that may be difficult for horses to digest, but is readily available in grass, clover, maize, and alfalfa. Bacterial microbes in the horse's digestive tract also synthesize biotin.78-79

Biotin deficiency can cause the horse's hoof horn to deteriorate. Weakened, malformed, and cracked hooves occur in over 25% of horses according to some surveys. A sand crack in the horn is the most common malady, and if left untreated may lead to infection and acute lameness.79-80

Biotin can help improve the health of hooves by increasing the growth and strength of the hoof wall components. Although there is no absolute recommended daily amount of biotin, some experts suggest that 200 μg/day is adequate to meet a horse's physical needs, regardless of age, gender, or pregnancy/lactation.79

Hoof supplements should contain at least 20 mg per serving in order to address hoof problems, according to one equine nutritional expert. A supplement containing biotin, methionine, and zinc can help speed up healing in cases of sand crack. Some studies have demonstrated improvement with as little as 7.5 mg/day of biotin, but higher dosages typically yield better results. Increases in hoof growth rates were noted with feed containing biotin levels of 0.12 mg/kg of body weight given along with a fiber cube containing 100 g biotin/kg.78-80

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The outermost wall of horse hooves.79-80
Microgram; 1 µg equals 1/1000th of a milligram.6
A vertical crack in the hoof wall.79-80