Biotin

Brand Names

  • BioFlax 20
  • Biotin Plus
  • Biotin-100

Description

Biotin is one of the water soluble B vitamins. Horses cannot produce this vitamin themselves so they need a source in the diet. Horses also receive some biotin via gut absorption after manufacture by bacteria in the intestinal tract. Biotin acts as a cofactor for many enzyme activities in the horse. It is needed for the production of keratin - the protein in both hair and hooves. Biotin also contributes to the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential components of healthy skin.

Biotin is found in grass, so grazing good quality pasture is an adequate source for most horses. Alfalfa is also a good source.

Usage

Biotin is sometimes added as a supplement for horse feeds to help with hoof health. Limited studies have suggested that additional biotin in the diet may help horses with dry and cracked hooves or poor hoof growth. Theoretically, adding biotin may also help with coat condition. Recommended dose is 15 to 20 mg per day. Horse owners need to be aware that hoof grows slowly and it can be 9 months to a year before much improvement is noted in hoof quality.

Dosage

Biotin
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Oral 15 mg 1 6.25 mg/ounce Daily NA
Oral 0.12 mg/kg 2 6.25 mg/ounce Daily NA

Notes:

  • Clinically proven to improve hoof strength and growth. Noticeable improvement may take 9 to 12 months due to the slow growth rate of the hoof.
  • 1Standard recommended dose. (Buffa et al.1992)
  • Reference: BUFFA, E. A., VAN DEN BERG, S. S., VERSTRAETE, F. J. M. and SWART, N. G. N. (1992), Effect of dietary biotin supplement on equine hoof horn growth rate and hardness. Equine Veterinary Journal, 24: 472–474. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.1992.tb02879.x
  • 2Treatment animals had a 15% higher growth rate of hoof horn and 15% more hoof growth at the midline. (Reilly et all 1998)
  • This medication may be available in forms and concentrations not noted in the above table. Always check the label and literature provided with the medication about the form and concentration and DO NOT USE the calculator if the information differs.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any, medication.
 

Side Effects

There are no known adverse side effects to supplementing with biotin at this time. No toxicity has been shown when supplementing biotin.

Precautions

Since biotin is a water soluble vitamin, any excess should simply be urinated out by a healthy horse. For use as a hoof supplement, it is suggested that supplements containing biotin also contain calcium, zinc, and methionine as a minimum. Lysine, copper, vitamin B6, and omega 3 fatty acids all enhance the activity of biotin.

Supplements are not closely regulated, so it is possible that different batches of biotin supplements may contain different amounts of the actual vitamin.

Interactions

Biotin works best when given in a supplement combined with zinc, calcium, and methionine. The addition of lysine, copper, vitamin B6, and omega 3 fatty acids may increase the benefit of the biotin.

Overdose

There have been no reports of toxicity with biotin supplementation in horses.

 

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