Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
Vitamins can be defined as organic substances necessary for proper nutrition of animals and plants. Vitamins, when taken in small amounts, can act as coenzymes or precursors to coenzymes in many metabolic processes. While some vitamins can only be obtained from food, others can be made within the body. All animals can produce different vitamins. This is why feeds made for one type of animal may not be suitable for another.
Vitamins A, B, C and D are essential for horses’ health. Although the amounts required are not large, they have important effects. Too much or too little vitamin A can be fatal for horses. The majority of well-known commercial horse feeds provide vitamins in the right amounts, eliminating the guesswork involved with feeding horses.
Ingestion of material provides Vitamin A and betacarotene. Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. This means that it can be stored easily in the body. Vitamin A is obtained by horses from good-quality hay and fresh grass. The horse’s liver stores any excess vitamin A that isn’t used immediately. This supply is then used during winter months, when the pastures are not in use. Vitamin A is essential for eye function, reproduction, as well as the health of bones and skin. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to reproductive problems, an increased risk of infection and defects in bone and muscular growth. It can also cause a dull coat and eye problems such as tearing and night blindness. Some of these signs can also be caused by too much vitamin A, as well as weight loss or neurologic problems.
Vitamin B, which we call vitamin, is actually a complex combination of many substances, including folacin and riboflavin. Vitamin B is one the water-soluble vitamins. This means that extra supplies don’t build up in horses’ bodies. This means that you must add new supplies regularly. However, toxicity is not a problem since excess B compounds are expelled and not stored. Horses can make B vitamins from organic compounds found in other foods or microbes in their gut. Horses that eat a regular diet have sufficient amounts of all B complex substances. There has never been any reported toxicities.
Another water-soluble nutrient, vitaminC or ascorbic acid is another. Vitamin C is found in citrus juices, which humans consume to get it. However, horses’ livers can synthesize the nutrient from glucose. Vitamin C is essential for the proper formation of collagen, bones, teeth and teeth. It is also an antioxidant that protects cells membranes against the harmful effects of free radicals. Older horses or those who have suffered from stress or illness may be able to benefit from more vitamin C. The vitamin is not well absorbed and excreted in the urine.
Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is produced when horses are exposed in sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in hay but it decreases with storage. Vitamin D is essential for the development of the skeletal system in young horses. It also regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in older animals. Too much vitamin D can lead to bone deformities. Oversupplementation can cause stiffness in joints and muscles, calcium deposition in the horse’s internal organs and even death.
Vitamin E, like vitamins A and D is found in fresh hay and grass, but the levels decrease as hay age. Alfalfa hay is better than grass hay. This fat-soluble vitamin is important antioxidantqualities. It also supports the healthy function of the horse’s nervous, immune and reproductive systems. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, muscle trembling, and even atrophy in horses. Equine Motor Neuron Disease (or EMND) is caused by a vitamin E deficit. It is characterised by increased recumbency, loss of muscle tone, and increased recumbency. Horses seem to be tolerant to high levels of this vitamin.
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. It is produced in the horse’s hindgut, and also ingested in hay. It’s very rare for horses to become deficient in vitamin K. However, if there are intestinal problems that affect the bacteria population, vitamin K can be affected. This can lead to internal bleeding, mucous membranes and irregular heartbeats.
Horses get their vitamins from grass and hay as they graze. Horse owners should ensure that horses have access to good quality pasture and that hay is not stored more than a few weeks. The majority of fortified commercial grain products contain the right levels of vitamins that horses require. Balancer pellets are a good option for horses who don’t require the high-calorie grain-rich feeds. They provide vitamins and minerals in a low calorie form. Owners should consult an equine nutritionist before adding vitamins to their horses’ diets. A nutritionist can determine if extra vitamins are necessary for certain classes of horses such as those who exercise hard.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!