Hoof Nutrition Intelligence 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 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: Can you cite a research trial that indicates the amount of biotin needed to maintain quality hooves?

By W. Zenker, H. Josseck and H. Geyer

A:  This study involved a macroscopic evaluation of hoof quality in 152 Lipizzaner horses (130 from Austria and 22 from other countries) and a controlled double blind trial of the effects of biotin on hoof horn growth and quality over 19 months with 42 stallions from the Spanish Riding School (SRS) in Vienna, Austria.

Using a grading system that incorporated evaluation of horn wall, white line, sole and frog, the macroscopic study revealed that 90% of the Austrian Lipizzaners had soft white lines and crumbling, fissured horn at the bearing border of the walls. Some 39% of the stallions of the SRS that were over 4 years old had medium to severe hoof horn changes.

Daily administration of 20 mg biotin was administered to a test group of 26 horses and a placebo was given to a control group of 16 horses. After 9 months, the test group had significantly improved hoof quality compared to the beginning of the trial and the placebo group. Further improvement was observed during the following 5 months and, subsequently, the same good level of hoof condition was maintained over 3 further years of observation.

It was concluded that continuous dietary supplementation with biotin at a daily dose of 20 mg can improve and maintain hoof horn quality in horses with less than optimum quality hoof.

W. Zenker, H. Josseck and H. Geyer were on the staff of the Institute of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland when these studies were conducted.

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Click here to read part 1 of the June 1, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: I’m a new horse owner who needs advice on feeding my mare for summer trail riding.

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.