Biotin is a B vitamin often associated with hoof health. Many equestrians consider biotin as the only supplement needed to maintain hoof quality. How accurate is this? Will feeding an “only biotin” supplement fix your horse’s hoof problems? Before examining these questions, let’s discuss biotin and its role within your horse.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is Vitamin B7, and horses require it for their overall well-being. Horses utilize biotin to maintain health and for a multitude of metabolic functions, including:
- Converting Food to Energy
- Maintaining a Healthy Nervous System
- Hoof Growth and Strength
- Skin and Coat Quality
Natural pasture grass and many of the feedstuffs we provide our horses contain adequate biotin. Horses also manufacture biotin through microbial action within the horse’s hindgut. Through these sources, most of the horse population will receive the required daily amount of biotin needed to function and thrive.
Biotin Deficiencies in Horses
One fact that many horse owners are unaware of is that a biotin deficiency is relatively rare. Most horses do not benefit from biotin supplementation alone.* A true biotin deficiency will result in a hoof with thick layers of hardened tissue that “peel off” like an onion. Also, in most cases of biotin deficiencies, other nutrient deficiencies will also be present.
Biotin Excess in Horses
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin; therefore, the kidneys excrete excess biotin into the urine. This is good, as biotin will not build up within the horse’s system and is thus generally regarded as safe by most nutritionists.
Supplementing for Hoof Health with Biotin Alone
Unless your horse is a member of a small population of horses with a biotin deficiency, the investment you are making with biotin supplementation will not likely have any impact on your horse’s hooves. Biotin is important, especially in biotin-deficient horses, to strengthen the crosslinks joining the connective tissue of the hooves. However, biotin is not the only nutrient your horse requires. To produce the best hooves possible, the horse needs a combination of several nutrients that are balanced in the correct amounts and ratios.
Proper Hoof Supplementation for Horses
If you are looking at providing hoof health supplementation through biotin, consider a complete hoof supplement. A good hoof supplement for horses will not only contain biotin but will also have the additional nutrients required for your horse to produce strong-quality hoof growth.
The extra biotin within a hoof supplement may benefit horses:
- Performing Heavy Work
- Experiencing Severe Stress
- Affected with Hindgut Issues Preventing the Manufacture of Biotin
- Afflicted with Acute Laminitis and/or Founder
Our recommendation is to utilize a complete hoof supplement that:
- Contains Biotin
- Is Balanced in Other Nutrients Important for Healthy Hooves
- Is Established in the Equestrian Community as Effective
- Is Proven to be Effective Through Scientific Research
Farrier’s Formula® ushered in the concept of “feeding the hoof” in the 1980s through innovative research, including whole blood macro mineral, trace mineral, vitamin, fatty acid, and amino acid analysis. Farrier’s Formula® contains biotin in addition to many more hoof-building nutrients. It is the number one recommended hoof supplement by farriers, was independently tested and researched with the results published in the Veterinary Record, and is one of the best-known hoof supplements in the world.
*Kempson, S.A. 1987. Scanning electron microscope observations of hoof horn from horses with brittle feet. Vet. Rec. 120:568-570. TO HOOF HEALTH?