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Equine Nutrition: Biotin

This is the third instalment of my series on Equine Nutrition. If you’ve missed the previous posts, here they are Vitamin E and Selenium.

As equestrians, we all want the best for our horses and part of that is understanding nutrition. As a horse and barn owner, I’ve always had an interest in digging deeper into recommendations from equine experts.

I examined these three articles to write this abridged article on biotin for horses. When you have a moment, I recommend you read through them, especially the one from Kentucky Equine Research (KER). 

Biotin Basics published by Kentucky Equine Research

Biotin: Does it work? By Stacey Oke, DMV, MSc

Should You Feed a Biotin Supplement? By Dr. Nerida Richards

Key notes on biotin in equines

  • Biotin, associated with vitamin B, is a nutrient that is only ingestible.
  • It is generally recognized as a great hoof supplement, especially in conjunction with copper and zinc.
  • To improve hoof health, add between 15 mg to 25 mg of biotin per day is needed.
  • Biotin can only improve new growth, not previous growth so you’ll see results in 8 to 15 months.
  • Biotin supplements have a shelf life of only 6 months and are expensive—buy only as much as you can use.
  • There have been no dangers found in overfeeding biotin.

What to do to improve hoof quality

  1. Reduce sugars—Look at your horse’s nutrition as a whole and reduce sugars.
  2. Evaluate current biotin and zinc levels—Look at your hay analysis and grain content.
  3. Add biotin (in combination with zinc and copper as needed)—Up to 25 mg.
  4. Review after at least 8 months—Check the hoof growth after 8 months for improvements but remember it can take up to 15 months. If no improvement, check with your vet. There are likely underlying factors that are inhibiting biotin absorption.

In closing, adding biotin to your horse’s diet can be beneficial for your horse’s hooves; however, evaluating your horse’s nutrition also needs to be done to ensure proper overall nutrition.

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