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.

This edition is sponsored by the W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine) of East Longmeadow, Mass.

Below you will find Part 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: How do I know when I need to be adding biotin to my horse's diet for improved hoof quality and growth?

By Don Kapper

A: Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that affects the outer horn of the hoof wall. Symptoms of biotin deficiency are sand cracks in the outside of the wall that do not go through to the lamina.

B-complex vitamins are produced in the horse’s “fermentation vat” (hind gut) and if it is functioning optimally, it will produce all of the B-complex vitamins a horse needs.

However, different stresses will impact how each horse’s hind gut functions, which will affect the amount of B-complex vitamins produced each day by the horse. Stresses can include antibiotic therapy, feeding more pounds of cereal grain per day than hay, an intense workload or training level, nervousness from being trailered, moved into a strange facility, isolated from other horses, etc.

Don Kapper was an equine nutritionist on the Cargill equine enterprise team and has worked closely with the University of Guelph equine team in Ontario.

Click here to read Part 2 of the September 15, 2016 installment: How important are adding various supplements to my horse’s daily ration?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.