Using Biotin Supplements for Horse Hoof Health
Biotin is a B vitamin which plays in important role in maintaining horse's hooves and hair as well as in releasing energy from food and maintaining stable levels of blood sugar. It performs similar functions in humans (good for fingernails instead of hooves).
Should I use Biotin supplements?
Biotin is usually produced by bacteria in the intestines so unless your horse has an unhealthy coat or his hooves are dished, slow-growing, low-heeled or otherwise unhealthy, he probably doesn't need a biotin supplement. However, if your horse's feet and coat are in need of help, biotin may kick start his metabolism and lead him to produce shinier, healthier hair and stronger hooves.
What type of Biotin supplement should I buy
If you think your horse could benefit from biotin, try giving him biotin in his feed, as opposed to topical biotin such as that found in shampoos and hoof dressings. Biotin that is applied directly to the horses skin or hooves has been found to be less effective than biotin that is given to him in his feed.
When deciding which supplement to buy, choose one that has relatively high levels of active ingredient and not too much filler. Biotin is often fed in conjunction with DL-Methionine, an amino acid that will help the biotin do its job better.
The supplement that my vet recommends is called Bio-Meth and it has 0.22% (by weight) biotin and 72.3% (by weight) DL-Methionine. I feed my horses about 1 teaspoon of this supplement per day because both of them have had trouble with low heels and cracked hooves. Since biotin is water soluble, there is not any danger of giving your horse too much because any extra that you feed will be eliminated in his urine. That being said, remember that more is not always better.
Within a few weeks of starting his biotin supplementation, you will probably notice some improvement in your horse's hooves and coat. Once your horse is shiny and hard-hoofed, you can stop feeding the biotin if you'd like--he may have started producing more of his own and/or begun utilizing it better.
More Horse Health Information for Horse Owners
Horse Vital Signs
Checking a horse's legs for hot spots
Checking a Horse's Digital Pulse
Using a Hoof Tester