Biotin is well known in the equine industry as an excellent supplement for hoof growth and health (Briggs, 1998). Biotin is part of the enzyme used in the production of the cement-like material that binds the horn tubules together to give the hoof its integrity. It also functions as a crucial co-enzyme in many chemical reactions related to metabolism and cell proliferation (Briggs, 1998; Frape, 2010; National Research Council, 2007). Deficiencies of biotin can result in hoof defects such as cracking, poor structure, and hoof horn weakness (Cunha, 1991).
No symptoms of biotin toxicity have been reported in horses, but the optimal dietary level for biotin has not yet been established. Commonly used supplements contain between 10 and 30 milligrams of biotin, but many nutritionists believe that 15 milligrams/day is the therapeutic level of this vitamin to address hoof integrity concerns. Horses apparently have a high tolerance for the vitamin, which makes feeding of biotin supplements relatively low risk (Briggs, 1998).« Back to Glossary Index