Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: Will feeding biotin improve the hoof quality of my 3-year-old mare?
By J. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS, and Scott Gravlee, DVM, CNS, Life Data Labs
A: Biotin is only one of many nutrients needed by the adult horse for healthy feet. In fact, the adult horse is said to have no dietary requirements for biotin unless it’s involved in stress conditions such as intense work, traveling, stabled for long periods of time or being fed a low-quality diet.
Even under these conditions, a biotin deficiency is relatively rare and is usually accompanied by many dietary deficiencies.
It’s a relatively inexpensive procedure for your veterinarian to test a horse’s blood for a suspected biotin deficiency. Horses that respond to biotin supplementation (approximately 5% of those with poor quality hoof horn) show large holes in the outermost layer of the hoof wall when evaluated with a microscope. The inner layers of the wall are not usually affected.
Frank Gravlee and Scott Gravlee are veterinarians and equine nutrition consultants at Life Data Labs, Inc. in Cherokee, Ala.
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Click here to read part 2 of the March 1, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Can horses with cold-induced hoof pain show obvious lameness and often a typical laminitis stance, but without bounding pulses or heat in their feet?